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Carers & Nurses, Claim Your Full Mileage Allowance!

Many domiciliary carers, district nurses, midwives and NHS health workers enquire if they are due a tax rebate in relation to their business mileage. Although the answer may vary depending on your personal circumstances, here’s a quick guide to help you understand why you may be able to claim from HMRC some of your hard-earned cash – and sometimes the amount in question could be quite significant (the average mileage tax rebate claim is typically worth well over £1,000!).

What is “business” mileage?

The first thing to establish is if you used your own vehicle to visit patients in the community - This is what would constitute "business" mileage (by opposition to the private usage of your vehicle). If you did, you would definitely be eligible to claim mileage allowance rates (technically termed “Mileage Allowance Relief”). There are also cases when a community nurse or a midwife could be using a company vehicle but not getting paid the full mileage allowance rate. In that scenario, they could be entitled to claim back the difference (see an example a little further).

What is the Government’s current mileage allowance rate?

The current rate for Mileage Allowance Relief set by HMRC is 45p for the first 10,000 miles, and then at 25p for any miles over 10,000. This rate has remained unchanged since 2011.

When can you claim Mileage Allowance Relief?

Business miles need to be computed per tax year (a “tax year” runs from April 6 to the following April 5). Bear in mind that you can claim mileage going back 4 tax years, including for former employers if you were doing the same job for them. As it stands, this means you can backdate a mileage claim to April 6, 2010.

The other thing to understand is that you can only claim tax relief for mileage in lapsed tax years. This means that you cannot claim for this current tax year (you would have to wait until April 6, 2015 to claim mileage for this current tax year); the earliest tax year for which you can claim mileage allowance is the 2013-14 tax year (which ended April 5, 2015).

Were you already reimbursed by your employer for your mileage?

You also need to understand if your employer already reimbursed you or not for your business mileage – and if he did, did he use the maximum allowance rates or not?

If your employer(s) already used the full mileage allowance rates, then obviously you can’t claim mileage allowance again (because you would have already been reimbursed to the maximum rate possible). However, if you only got paid, say, at 20p per mile, you would be entitled to claim the difference (45p maximum rate minus 20p you already received from your employer = an extra 25p per mile you can legitimately claim for the first 10,000 miles, plus and extra 5p per mile for any business mile travelled over 10,000 miles).

Using the same example, say that you travelled 20,000 business miles in the 2013-14 tax year. The tax relief you can claim back would be: (25p x 10,000) + (5p x 10,000 ) = £3,000 in tax relief! Now imagine your employer used the same 20p per mile rate for years, and you decide to backdate your claim for up to 4 years (the maximum period permissible under HMRC rules), then the total amount for tax relief could be HUGE!

What should I do to claim Mileage Allowance Relief?

Obviously, this article only offers a simplified overview of mileage allowance relief. You can go to HMRC's official website and submit a claim yourself (which would entail you computing all figures by yourself, completing all paperwork correctly and chasing up your claim directly with HMRC).

However, it’s worth pointing out that it is a specialist area and that accountants and tax advisers have a detailed knowledge of HMRC rules and processes that would need to take into consideration so that your mileage tax rebate claim is successful. This is why many carers, nurses and NHS staff opt to use the services of a tax adviser to submit their mileage rebate claim on their behalf - which ultimately would save you enormous amounts of time and (potentially) stress!

In addition to Mileage Allowance Relief, you can also claim the yearly £140 flat expense rate for washing and laundering your uniform (if you do). Any tax adviser worth his salt would of course automatically ensure that you take advantage of all the tax breaks and allowances available to you.

On July 6, 2015