What mileage can I claim back?

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Many of us have our own idea of what constitutes business mileage. We acquire this concept from current and previous employers, colleagues or our own interpretation of the rules. But do you know when private mileage can actually become business mileage?
Client Meeting

This weeks blog is a question of the week. It is a question that was raised inside the ABAX office. More importantly, it was a question that had me reaching for my well-thumbed HMRC handbook.

Whilst working with our client base, I had noticed that some adopted a policy whereby drivers were being asked to reduce the mileage being claimed on some trips recorded in their Triplog. The most common example being when a driver passed by their office on the way to a meeting at a client's premises. If the driver had stopped at the office of their employer, HMRC would deem that journey to be classified as commuting and therefore not mileage that could be claimed back by the employee.

In situations where the driver passes the office, several employers have asked their staff to deduct their normal commuting mileage from the trip to visit the client. This bugged me as someone who regularly claims back travel expenses. It bugged me more as their had been talk of ABAX adopting this policy.

Naturally I consulted the trusty HMRC manual, namely EIM32230, section 337 and 338. Where else!

"An employee may pass a permanent workplace on the way to or from a temporary workplace. If the employee stops and performs substantive duties at the permanent workplace then there are two journeys; ordinary commuting between home and the permanent workplace and a business journey between the permanent workplace and the temporary workplace. A deduction will be due under Section 337 ITEPA 2003 for the cost of the second of these journeys, but there is no deduction for the first. If the employee does not stop at the permanent workplace, or any stop is incidental to the journey to the temporary workplace, the whole of the journey is a single journey. A deduction will be due under Section 338 ITEPA 2003."

So, not only had I discovered that normal commuting mileage cannot be deducted from a journey, it would appear that a short stop at work before visiting a client can actually be treated as part of a journey to visit a client. Following this discovery, it is needless to say that I will be working my way though the rest of HMRC's handy examples!

Read more about what can and cannot be counted as a business trip.