Business mileage rate frozen at 45p since 2011
People who drive their own cars for work purposes are being short-changed because the tax-free amount they are paid has not changed for more than a decade, says RAC
Sara White, Editor, Accountancy Daily
HMRC defines Approved Mileage Allowance Payments (AMAPs) as the amounts paid to employees to reimburse them for using a personal vehicle for business travel. The current rate is 45p per mile on the first 10,000 miles per year driven in their own car or van.
However, the rate has not changed since 2011 despite big increases in the cost of motoring since then.
Calculations by the RAC Foundation suggest that people who drive their own cars for work should now be entitled to about 63p per mile tax free.
This would mean that someone covering 5,000 miles per annum for work in their own car could receive up to £3,150 before facing a tax liability.
However, if a company uses the current tax-free maximum of 45p as the rate of reimbursement, an employee will only get a total of £2,250, meaning they are losing out by £900 annually.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the cost of motoring in April 2023 was 41% higher than in April 2011.
Companies can pay their employees anything they like when reimbursing them for driving for work in their own cars however, any amount over 45p per mile, for the first 10,000 miles is currently taxed.
For each mile driven over 10,000 miles the tax-free amount that is allowed to be paid falls to 25p per mile.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: ‘We know that some of our most important workers – those employed in health and social services, and in supporting roles, often working outside ‘normal’ office hours -– need to drive their cars for work but are being left out of pocket by the failure of ministers to sanction an uplift in the amount per mile they can receive tax-free for getting around to do their job.
‘These aren’t board members and well-paid executives in new saloons but key workers in five to 10 year-old cars who can ill afford to be subsidising the rest of us for the cost of carrying out their critical roles.
‘Tax cuts might be off the Prime Minister’s agenda for the time being, but surely fair tax treatment for these key workers should be a significant concern for the Chancellor in the face of a recognised cost of living squeeze.
‘We think the Treasury should commit to an urgent review of the mileage rate and not leave it another decade before revisiting it again.’
Over the period tax and insurance has risen 183% while maintenance costs are up 48% and fuel has risen by 12%.
The research by the RAC Foundation was carried out to help inform a report by the union Unison into the impact of the rate freeze on front line public service workers.
The ONS’s cost of motoring number is derived by taking the price of the different elements of motoring expenditure from within the overall basket of goods it monitors, and combining them together in the proportions spent on each on average.