Using your own car as an employee or director

News: May 2011

Using your own car as an employee or director

A modest but nonetheless welcome increase in the mileage allowance on which you can claim tax relief applies from 6 April 2011. Instead of a maximum claim of 40p per business mile, you can now get 45p. However, as before, this applies only for the first 10,000 business miles in the tax year, with the excess mileage only qualifying for a mileage allowance of 25p per mile. If your employer will not pay as much as 45p, you can claim tax relief on the shortfall. If you receive more than the statutory rate, the excess is taxed.

If you drive your own car on a business trip and take colleagues with you, your employer (which of course includes your own company) can also pay you a tax-free 5p per mile per passenger. But if they won’t do this you cannot claim tax relief on 5p per mile – confusing but typical when it comes to the tax system for employees!

Despite the increase, the system still penalises high business mileage employees driving a car of over 2 litres. This again raises the old question of whether it is better to have a company car, or whether to get a car allowance for your own car. If you have the choice, we will be pleased to advise you of what is the better option.

A self-employed person can also use these new rates as if your annual turnover does not exceed the VAT registration threshold (currently £73,000). You still of course have the option to claim actual business use expenses. The same situation applies to volunteer drivers to calculate the taxable profit on mileage allowances received from hospitals, social service agencies and other voluntary organisations.