Reviewed by Helen Lambkin, Assistant Operations Manager at RIFT Tax Refunds

When you’re travelling for work, UK tax laws mean you’re entitled to claim back some tax for your mileage. You might already be getting a mileage allowance from your employer or you might not. Either way, you can claim back mileage from HMRC. Winner!

Let’s take a look at how it works.

Understanding mileage allowance

Mileage allowance’ refers to the amount you can claim back from HMRC for the miles you’re doing. HMRC has set out some Approved Mileage Allowance Payment (AMAP) rates – these are in place to help cover your travel expenses and the costs of running your vehicle.

Right now, they are:

  • 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles by car/van, 25p per mile after that.
  • 24p per mile by motorcycle.
  • 20p per mile by bicycle.

If you’re already getting a mileage allowance from work, what you can claim back from HMRC will vary. Say you’re getting the full AMAP rates back from your employer, you then can’t claim again from HMRC, as this means you’ll basically be getting paid twice. If you’re getting less than the AMAP rates from your work, you can claim the difference back from HMRC.

Now, you might be rubbing your hands together thinking that you drive to work everyday on your commute. But here’s the kicker. You need to be driving for work, not simply to get to work. Journeys classed as business-related and for work include:

  • Travelling from one office to another.  
  • Travelling to meet a client at their premises.  
  • Travelling to an external meeting.  

You can’t claim for journeys that:

  • Are part of your daily commute between an office and a private residence.  
  • Are very short and to a very close location.  
  • Are classed as private and not business-related, even if they include a couple of work-related stops.

Claim back mileage with HMRC

It’s a pretty straightforward process to claim back your mileage from HMRC. The first thing you need to do is keep records of all your trips. You’ll need to track:

  • The date of the trips.
  • The start and end address of each trip, including postcodes.
  • The distance travelled.
  • The full amount of mileage allowance you have received from your employer.

You can then total up your mileage for the tax year, which runs from April 6 to April 5, and calculate what you can claim back from HMRC. Remember to deduct any allowance you get from your employer. We’ve got a super simple mileage tax relief calculator to do the hard work for you.

If your claim is under £2500 for a year, HMRC has a specific form (P87) you can use to make your claim. If you’re claiming more, you’ll need to complete a Self Assessment tax return to get your refund. You also need to do the latter if you’re self-employed.

You can go as far back as four tax years too. But after this time is up, you’ll lose out. If you’re regularly driving for work, it makes sense to do it every year.

How to claim back mileage from HMRC

Here are a few pointers to claim mileage back from HMRC

  • Keep records of all your journeys throughout the tax year.
  • Total everything up in line with HMRC’s AMAP rates, accounting for any mileage allowance from your employer.
  • Download your P87 form and complete all required details.
  • Submit the completed form at the end of the tax year.
  • If your claim is over £2500 you’ll need to submit a Self Assessment tax return.  
  • HMRC will usually process the claim in around 8-10 weeks and pay it directly into your bank account.

You can do it yourself, but that means it’s up to you to do all the calculations correctly. At RIFT Refunds, we can take care of the whole process for you. We’ll do all the heavy lifting with the numbers and can track down any difficult-to-find information for you. It makes everything super simple.

Making the most of mileage reimbursement

If you’re driving for work regularly, it’s your right to claim a mileage refund. For a lot of people, the term “tax rebate” brings up ideas of cheating the system and doing something dodgy. Or they run scared at any mention of HMRC. But the reality of the matter is, if you can claim it, you should.

When you do claim it, you’ll want to make sure you can claim back as much as possible. This is what you need to do:

  • Document everything: HMRC wants you to be accurate. There’s no estimating your mileage for mileage claim purposes. Accurate records are essential. You’ll need to log every single journey you make including the date, purpose of the journey, start point, destination and total miles travelled.
  • Keep your records: HMRC audits do happen, and you don’t want to be caught out. Always keep hold of your records for at least 5 years in case HMRC audits your tax return.
  • Do it on time: Don’t wait until the end of the tax year to submit your claim. April to early May is ideal. This means you’ll get paid quicker – sometimes it really does pay to be organised.
  • Don’t let your claims back up: Yes, you can go back as far as four years but just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Do it every year on time. Not only does this mean you’ll get regular rebates, but it also means you don’t have to go back four years into your records. Remember that work journey you did four years ago on that cold January evening? No? We don’t blame you.
  • Claim for public transport too: Train fares, bus tickets, and taxi rides can all count toward your work mileage tax rebate claim. If you’re paying for these out of your own pocket, make sure you always keep receipts.

Top tax relief tip from Helen Lambkin, Assistant Operations Manager

The devil really is in the detail. Rough estimates won’t work with HMRC. They want dates, journeys, mileage and records. Recording these digitally every time you make a journey helps it become a habit. If you’re using RIFT to make your claims, make sure you've got the RIFT Refunds app. That way, when it comes to make your next claim, everything is in one place making it quicker and easier to get back your cash.

 When you spend hours a week travelling to meetings or to other offices, don’t forget the tax you can claim back. With RIFT's expertise guiding your claims, you can maximise your rebate and get the money you’re owed. We handle everything for you and provide personalised advice tailored to your situation. Ready to get claim back on your mileage? Get in touch with RIFT and start your claim for free!