How to claim business mileage from your own company

Kirsty Young Advice and Tips, Expenses

As a limited company owner, you probably know you can claim the business miles you do in your own personal vehicle.

What you may not understand is how to physically ‘claim’ the money from your company.

So, in this blog we cover a few ways you can do this. As usual, we are presuming you are a director of your own UK limited company, as the rules and process would vary in other situations.

 

A quick reminder on business travel

Business travel may seem simple, but what journeys are actually claimable can be a complex topic. So before following some of the steps below, remember to work out if the journey is claimable in the first place!

For example:

  • You cannot claim for regular commuting to your office every day

BUT

  • You can usually claim for travel to a ‘temporary workplace’

 

Business travel – the basics

We covered some of the basics in our previous blogs on the subject:

Claiming limited company fuel expenses

Travel costs for the self employed (Technically it’s slightly different for limited companies, but the broad concepts are similar.)

 

Steps to claiming your mileage

There are a few crucial steps to making a mileage claim from your limited company.

1. Log your miles

This may sound completely obvious, but you will need to record the qualifying business miles. Various apps can do this for you (including Xero and QuickBooks). Otherwise, a simple spreadsheet, or even a pad and pen will do!

Record as much detail on the reason for the trip as you can, along with the mileage.

2. Calculate your claim

Be careful on tracking your mileage amounts as they are per tax year (6th April – 5th of the following April), not per company year.

The mileage rates used to be pretty nice as they were intended to cover some wear and tear, running costs of the vehicle etc. However, with current fuel prices as they are and the fact the values haven’t moved for some years, the current rates do not feel that generous!

At the time of writing, you can claim 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles in a tax year, and 25p thereafter.

3. Enter into your records

You now need to enter your claim into your accounting system. This will either be:

    • An auto entry created by a mileage accounting app
    • A tab on your spreadsheet
    • An entry on your accounting records book
    • An ‘expense claim’ or ‘bill’ in your accounting software
    • Entering a ‘journal’ with the claim into your accounting software (see below)

Many accounting apps now include a mileage tracking feature using GPS and other technology. Some will charge for the feature, some don’t, but you don’t have to use that feature.

You could just enter the claim directly into your software another way. Even with some of the automatic calculations in the software apps, you still have a manual process later to approve and/or categorise the claim.

If you’d like to enter a single entry either annually or whenever you remember throughout the year, one option is to create a ‘journal’.

You can usually find a button somewhere to ‘add a journal’. You then need to enter details into the journal, which may look something like this:

4. Decide if (or how!) you will repay yourself

In the journal entry example above, we categorised it as ‘Directors Loan Account’. This means that the company owes you the money at a later date, or will offset some of any money that you’ve potentially already drawn.

If the company has funds and you’d like to repay yourself the exact amount, you can simply do so on your online banking app straight to your personal account.

5. A key point to remember about repaying yourself

Unless you are getting physically paid mileage by your client / customer, there is no ‘extra’ free money to pay yourself this mileage amount.

So, you are paying yourself out of the available company money.

Many business owners struggle with this concept. It is not an extra invisible pot of cash. You are ‘creating’ some money by reducing the tax you might have to pay over, but it’s not 100% of the claim (see our Tax deductible expenses blog).

 

A few words on VAT

If you are VAT registered, it’s likely you could claim some VAT back on that mileage figure. We’ve not covered that here as its detailed and somewhat complex, but you we’d like you to know it’s a possibility.

 

Muddled about mileage?

First ask your accountant about any mileage allowances that might apply to you, and where to enter them in your software. If you don’t have an accountant, or feel you aren’t making the most of your mileage allowances with your current accountant, we’d love a chat about how we can help.