Penalties for tax evasion

Whilst it is important to make sure you are claiming back all the tax owed to you, it is vitally important to get your facts right when making a claim.

Policy

Every employer should have a clearly worded expenses policy that sets out the procedure for reimbursing employees (and in some cases contracted workers) when they are required to travel on business. Increasingly, companies are implementing sophisticated checking procedures that can, for example, check that the mileage claimed for travel between two destinations is accurate. If you believe that you are out of pocket, you can apply directly to the government for a tax refund for business travel miles dating back to 2013. However, before doing so you should be aware of the process should your claim be found to be fraudulent.

Consequences

If your employer has reason to believe that you have submitted a spurious claim, they will start an investigation process. Most companies have a stringent checking system for expenses and a clear disciplinary code for violations. Penalties can range from having your pay suspended while the claim is investigated (right up until dismissal) to prosecution through the criminal courts. Employees who have left the company may be sued for breach of contract.

Methodical

Although many deliberately fraudulent claims are submitted each year, it is also all too easy to find yourself in hot water for an honest miscalculation. There is a simple solution to this problem: meticulous record keeping. If you are methodical about recording your business miles, you are not likely to submit an inaccurate claim. These days, with modern technology such as satellite navigation systems and Internet route-planners, it is easy to keep an accurate record of your travel. If you make a habit of inputting this information into an Excel spreadsheet every time you travel, you will always be on top of things. And you should find that claiming back what you are owed is straightforward and hassle-free.

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

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