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Business mileage log for a van - sole trader

HMRC have asked for a business mileage log for a van for a sole trader - is this necessary?

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HMRC have asked for a business mileage log for 2015/16 for a client who has used vans throughout the year (and his 2 employees have too). 

He hasnt kept a log as all of the mileage, he assures me, was for business hence all fuel claimed was for the business.

He does have another vehicle for private use (as do his employees who left the vans on site when not working).

Was a log still therefore necessary? Do we need to go back and list all trips to prove that all mileage done was for business?

Or is it just sufficient to say that all fuel was for business use in the van?

Thanks in advance

Chicka

Replies (5)

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By Ruddles
10th Dec 2016 21:20

The client maintains that all travel in the van is for business. Other than his word, what do you think would be the best evidence to support that claim?

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By Manchester_man
10th Dec 2016 21:35

You need to be able to demonstrate that there is no more than insignificant private use of the van.

HMRC are requesting mileage logs, however, whilst it may be good practice to keep a log, it is not (unless ive missed a change in legislation) required by statute.

Does the company have a policy in place, restricting employees from using the van for personal use?

Where is the van parked over night? If not on the business premises, is there a reason why not? If not, find one!

I would explain that no mikeage log is available and demonstrate as best you can as to why there is no private use. If the inspector raises an assessment, appeal it.

I wouldn't start compiling a retrospective mileage log at this stage. Stand your ground.

I'm sure others will add more advice

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By feelingthestrain
10th Dec 2016 21:58

Perhaps acknowledge that there is no log (as the previous poster said, there's no rule that says you have to) but perhaps offer to ask that the client keeps one for the next month but, at the same time, explain that the client has another vehicle which is used as a family vehicle and just take it step by step.

In your shoes I'd probably try to make issue that a verbal dialogue to start with rather than via correspondence - you'll get a far better clue as to how tough they're going to be hearing the actual voice.

Also you should make sure you come across as the messenger between HMRC and client keen to get things dealt with.

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By Ruddles
11th Dec 2016 11:35

There may be no rule specifically requiring a mileage log. But there is a legal requirement for a trader to maintain records that support entries in the tax return. In absence of a mileage record I wonder what others would suggest?

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By Mr_awol
12th Dec 2016 08:52

As this is a sole trader:

Tell him that due to the fact that private use (above allowed incidental) is so rare that, rather than keep a log of BUSINESS mileage which would create an unnecessary burden, your client keeps a log of all PRIVATE mileage over and above incidental use. Since there is none, the client wont have had anything to put in the log which will therefore be blank of course.

Or, get your clients to keep a complete log of all mileage - for a two week or month long period - once a year. One of the firms I worked for used to do this for use as evidence of a 'typical' month where there was in fact private use of a S/T vehicle.

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