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Get Ready for FBT Time

The end of the FBT year is upon us once again. Employers that have provided their employees with fringe benefits any time during the 2024 FBT year – 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024 – will need to lodge an FBT return and pay any liability by 28 May 2024. With the landscape of FBT evolving every year due to legislative amendments and administrative updates, employers need to be mindful of the changes applying for the current FBT year.

While the electric vehicle exemption came into effect on 1 July 2022, many employers have only recently started ramping up the purchase or leasing of electric vehicles due to a combination of waiting for previous leases to expire and a temporary shortage of electric vehicles. As a refresher, employers are now exempt from paying FBT on benefits related to eligible electric vehicles under the condition that the vehicles are zero or low emissions, first held and used after 1 July 2022, never subjected to luxury car tax, and utilised by current employees or their associates.

It should be noted that car expenses associated with providing eligible electric vehicles are also exempt, which includes registration, insurance, repairs and maintenance and fuel (including the cost of electricity to charge electric cars). Other expenses that are not exempt may be reduced by the otherwise deductible rule if the expenditure would have been deductible to the employee had they incurred it themselves.

To provide certainty for employers, the ATO recently issued Practical Compliance Guideline PCG 2024/2, offering guidance on calculating electricity costs for charging electric vehicles at an employee’s home. This guideline provides a methodology for employers and individuals to calculate electricity costs, either by using the outlined approach or by determining the actual cost, facilitating the inclusion of these costs in FBT and income tax calculations.

In addition, employers that provide cars to their employees should also be aware of the recent updates to the car parking fringe benefits to reflect the latest Taxation Ruling, TR 2021/2, offering clarity on modern car parking arrangements and compliance requirements.

In another change for the 2024 FBT year, the ATO has simplified employee declarations in relation to some fringe benefits to ease the administrative burden for both employees and employers. The new declarations remove the requirement for employees to declare the make and model of cars for specific transport-related benefits, including remote area holiday transport and overseas employment holiday transport, among others.

Similar to previous FBT years, employers that lodge FBT returns electronically through tax practitioners will have access to a deferred due and payment date of 25 June. This only applies to electronic lodgements and any paper returns lodged through tax practitioners will still have 25 May as the due and payment date. For employers that have registered for FBT but do not need to lodge a return for the 2024 FBT year, a notice of non-lodgement should be submitted to the ATO by the time the FBT return would normally be due (ie by either 25 May or 25 June) to prevent the ATO from seeking a return at a later date.

The regulatory environment surrounding FBT continues to evolve; for example, recently the ATO registered instruments to allow employers the option to utilise existing records instead of statutory evidentiary documents for certain benefits from 1 April 2024 (ie the 2025 FBT year). Therefore it is crucial to stay up-to-date and well-informed to navigate the complexities of FBT compliance.

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