Claiming business mileage if you use different vehicles

Whether you work for a large organisation or an SME, if you drive as part of your duties, perhaps to visit clients or another site, then you are entitled to claim business mileage expenses for the distance you travel. There can be considerable confusion about claiming if your travel involves different or multiple vehicles. Here is a look at the guidelines in order to clarify the situation.

What Is Business Travel?

Business travel is classed as any journeys you make to and from the office or your base as part of your job. This might include visits from your home or office to visit customers off-site or perhaps to exhibitions or trade fairs. Other legitimate business journeys include those which start and finish at your home to visit a client and which are further away than your usual base. To qualify, the journey must not include commuting to or from the office and must be made using your own car, van motorbike or cycle.

Since 2011, the standard rate paid for business travel expenses has been 45p per mile up to 10,000 miles. You can claim this tax-free as a legitimate expense as it calls for you to use your vehicle for travel which is necessary to fulfil the requirements of your job.

Driving More Than One Vehicle

Vehicles which can be driven to claim mileage back are as follows: cars, vans, motor cycles and bikes. However, a differentiation is drawn between vehicles of the same kind and different types of vehicle.

Let’s look at vehicles of the same kind first. HMRC’s rules clearly state that different vehicles of the same kind (for example, several different cars or vans being driven by the same person) count as one single mileage claim. The 10k limit, therefore, applies to the employee driving the vehicles. It is their responsibility to collect and collate their mileage claims for driving these vehicles in a timely and organised manner, as required by their employer.

For employees who drive more than one sort of vehicle, such as someone who rides his or her bike to work but drives a van or a car during their working day for business purposes, only the business travel will count towards a mileage claim. This is because cars and vans are classified differently to bikes and motorcycles, which attract a smaller monetary claim value. Motorcycle riders can claim 24p per mile and for cyclists the amount is 20p per mile. Additionally, there are no limits to the amount of mileage for motorcycles or bikes as there are for cars or vans.

It should also be noted that the mileage allowance is a personal one which, if the employee is not receiving the full allowance, may enable them to claim tax relief back. Therefore if a member of staff changes their car during the course of a tax year, their mileage allowance remains the same until the end of the tax year and does not start again at zero.

It’s a complex area but a little methodical planning and organisation should make the situation easier to deal with for both employer and employee.

Use our free calculator to find out how much income tax you could be entitled to reclaim.

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