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Do You Make These 3 Mileage Record Mistakes?

Are you recording your mileage correctly?

Claiming mileage is a very efficient way to make a claim for travel expenses. It is the only way for those who are on PAYE and for self-employed individuals it is often the best way.

But, there are some common mistakes to avoid losing money on your mileage.  Want to know what they are?  Keep reading, I’ve listed my main three.


Mistake #1: Not Keeping a Mileage Record

“I am so busy I cannot be bothered!”

I have heard this statement several times. Then all of a sudden the idea of receiving a tax rebate in excess of £1,000 from HMRC (Up to £4,000 in extreme cases) becomes appealing. Especially when your friends are getting nice tax rebates. However, if you have not kept a mileage record you cannot guess your mileage.

So what is a mileage record?

Basically it is a note of the dates, the sites visited and the mileage covered on a daily basis (If you have been at the same site you can complete your record once a week).

The best way of completing your record is by keeping a diary in your car. At the beginning of the day before you set out just make a note of your starting mileage on the dialler. At the end of the day when you get back see how many miles you have done and write the figure down in your diary next to the site visited. That’s it. Not much to ask and it could be worth a couple of thousand pounds.


Mistake #2: Completing Records Retrospectively

If you recreate your mileage record retrospectively HMRC is likely to disallow your claim (should they open an enquiry). However, if you have been at the same site for a while (but not more than twenty four months) it may be possible to review your invoices to your contractor, or your contractor might have given you statements that make it easy to work out the mileage. In this cases please call us, we may be able to help you.


Mistake #3: Making the Wrong Claim or Claiming Wrong Expenses

Although keeping a mileage record is straight forward, the rules that cover these provisions can be complex, and they differ depending on whether you are employed or self-employed.

For PAYE the main rule is that you must not be based at the same site for more than twenty four months. In addition you must have been to several sites during your time with your employer (one employer, one site does not qualify you for a claim for travel expenses). If not HMRC will argue that you travel to a permanent place of employment. To qualify you must travel to a temporary place of employment. There are of course additional rules, some of which can be complex, please call us if you need assistance.

For Self-Employed individuals the rules are slightly different. You must change your work site during the year otherwise HMRC will consider the one site you travel to as your permanent place of employment and you will not be able to claim mileage or motor expenses. Also when you get back home, if this is your base, your work must continue there. In other words you should be able to demonstrate that you run your business from home. If in doubt please call the office.

If you are a Company Director, and you are driving your own car, charging mileage to your company is the only way allowed by HMRC to claim for motor expenses.  It would be wrong to claim for the actual motor expenses incurred such as fuel and car repairs. You would not normally make a claim for mileage on your Tax return.



Everyone travelling to and from site is entitled to claim mileage, employed individuals as well as self-employed and Company directors, as long as the travel is to a temporary workplace. For guidance on what can be classified as a temporary workplace please call the office, rules vary.

People on PAYE can make a claim going back 4 years. However, they must have kept a mileage record during this time. In some case HMRC will still allow a construction worker to recreate the mileage record retrospectively, if it can be shown that you did not know this provision existed. As this provision has been around for many years now, HMRC will argue that you should have known by now that the mileage record is a bookkeeping requirement.

My advice is, “don’t miss out on the opportunity to claim for your tax rebate”. Why should you? All you need to do is to keep yourself organised and a diary in your car.

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