Accounting and Tax

How your business can benefit from working with an FBT specialist

Christopher Heyes
17 March 2021
4 min read

17 March 2021

The Findex Tax Advisory team have more than 30 years’ experience helping business owners manage their Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) risks and identify FBT opportunities.

To help you prepare your 2021 FBT return, our team have developed a handy checklist that can be used as a general guide to identify the most common forms of fringe benefits.

We’ve also prepared some examples that illustrate how the FBT team has worked with our clients to assist them fulfil their FBT obligations and advise them on tax effective FBT solutions.

Car Parking Refunds

The client had previously sourced their own rates to apply the lowest car parking rates in their business’ FBT return to calculate car parking fringe benefits.

At no charge to the client, our team reviewed the rates applied using our external car parking consultant. It was determined the client could apply lower daily rates than the rates applied in the original FBT returns.

We were able to lodge amended FBT returns for prior FBT years using the lowest daily rates identified to enable the client to claim a substantial FBT refund.

Client learning

Instead of sourcing your own car parking rates, using the services of a specialist FBT adviser can help identify the lowest daily rates to ensure you are paying the minimal amount of FBT.

If you have sourced your own car parking rates in previous FBT years, we can review the rates used in your FBT returns to ascertain whether you have applied the lowest car parking rates. If we can identify a lower rate, our team can assist you in claiming an FBT refund.

Car Fringe Benefits – Average Rate Method

Using the Average Rate Method to calculate FBT for our client, we were able to identify an optimal method that resulted in a reduction of approximately $300,000 in their FBT payable using the previous FBT return as a benchmark.

The Average Rate Method is a simplified record keeping approach that provides employers with the option to use an average rate business use percentage to calculate FBT relating to fleet cars in certain circumstances.

The Average Rate Method can only be used in certain circumstances such as:

  • The employer has a fleet of 20 or more cars.

  • Employees are required to maintain log books.

  • The employer maintains valid log books for at least 75% of the cars in a log book year.

  • The cars are not provided as part of an employee’s salary packaging arrangement.

The average business use percentage may be applied for up to three subsequent FBT years unless there have been substantial changes in the use of these cars during this period.

Client learning

If you meet the requirements, the Average Rate Method using an average rate business use percentage could provide significant cost savings for both FBT payable and the time and resources required to be invested in log sheet compilation and analysis.

Living Away from Home (LAFH) vs Business Travel

The client had previously determined that several of its employees should be treated as LAFH for FBT purposes. The client paid FBT on the LAFH fringe benefits provided.

Following a review by the FBT team, it was determined these employees should have been classified as traveling for business purposes rather than LAFH. As such, there was no requirement to pay FBT as FBT is not payable on travel allowances.

Further, as the allowance was paid within the ATO prescribed rates, the allowance was not subject to income tax in the hands of the employee (i.e. no additional on-costs for the client).

Client learning

If you have employees working away from home for a period of time, it is important to get the distinction between LAFH and business travel correct as the tax position is different depending upon the correct classification.

Our FBT team can review your position to ascertain whether the employee is travelling for business purposes or LAFH.

Employees working under an Award or Enterprise bargaining agreement may be provided with an allowance which is called a LAFH allowance. However, for FBT purposes, the allowance does not satisfy the conditions of a LAFH allowance but should be treated as a travel allowance.

Watch our Fringe Benefits Tax 2021 webinar recording

Are you prepared for your 2021 Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) return? Do you want to learn more about the current COVID 19 landscape and how it directly affects your business?

Watch our webinar recording with Tax Advisory Partner Anthony Patrk and Associate Partner Chris Heyes, who will help ensure you are up to date with the latest developments (including any COVID 19 considerations) to assist you in preparing your 2021 return.


Author: Christopher Heyes | Associate Partner

Chris has over 20 years’ experience providing practical advice and compliance services in the various areas of employment tax such as payroll tax, Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT), superannuation guarantee, workers compensation and pay-as-you-go (PAYG) Withholding. Chris has extensive experience working with clients across many areas of tax consulting to manage employment taxes risks and exposure. He has proven this experience across a broad range of industries and client categories including private companies, large corporations, government agencies and family owned businesses. Chris specialises in providing tax effective solutions which also take into account other tax and commercial considerations. My Specialty • Employment Taxes • Global Mobility