What journeys do not count as business mileage?

If you use your own personal vehicle in the course of your work, then you may be entitled to a mileage allowance. The vehicle in question can be a car, van, motorbike or bicycle. This allowance may be eligible for tax relief, provide it meets certain criteria stipulated by HMRC. However, when making a claim it is essential to be aware that not all travel counts as business mileage.

What journeys do not qualify?

Business mileage refers to journeys you undertake in the course of your work, with the exception of your regular commute. HMRC guidelines define travel between your home and your regular, permanent place of employment as a non-work journey, making it ineligible to be included as part of your business mileage claim. For example, if you drive from your home to your office, visit a client, return to your main place of employment, then drive back home, the first and last journeys cannot be counted as business mileage. However, if you leave home and drive straight to a client, travel from that location to your office, then drive back home, you may be able to claim for the first two journeys, provided you can demonstrate that they represent a significantly different journey to your usual commute. Travel between your home and permanent place of work outside your usual hours does not qualify. Any other private trips that you make cannot be counted within your business mileage allowance.

Exceptions and unusual circumstances

If your employer asks you to temporarily transfer to a different location with a significantly different journey to your usual regular commute, this may be regarded as business mileage. However, if you travel to this location for more than two years, it no longer retains its temporary status and your trips there will not be eligible for inclusion in the mileage allowance. If you spend 40% of your working week at a second location, this too will be regarded as a permanent place of work and no longer qualify.

There are some forms of employment where you may be expected to undertake a certain amount of travel in the usual course of your work. For example, if you work as a sales representative for a fashion line, you might need to travel to a number of different retailers to attend sales appointments. Travel from your home to these locations may be regarded as business mileage. However, in most cases, travelling salespeople are responsible for covering a particular geographical area. If your home is located within this area, appointments attended within this patch may not qualify but anything in a different region would be eligible. If you have to travel to your area of work before visiting clients, this part of the journey would be regarded as your regular commute.

The key factor to remember is that any regular journey you make to and from your main, permanent place of employment is regarded as a commute or non-work journey, and cannot be treated as business mileage.

For further information as regards eligibility, please refer to HMRC guidance or click here.

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