Thursday, September 7, 2017

Road Haulage Group Wins Significant Victory on Freight Drivers Night Rates

Partial Climb Down from HMRC as Rules Relaxed
Shipping News Feature
UK – In June we wrote of the ridiculous situation when HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) effectively changed the rules governing the overnight allowances claimed by truck drivers when they spent nights away from their operational base. Rarely has the Road Haulage Association (RHA) resorted to such cutting language on behalf of its members as on that occasion, calling the new regulations demanding receipts for all overnight expenses as ' elaborate and ill-defined'.

Now, thanks to the pressure from the RHA, a semblance of common sense has entered the equation meaning that drivers won’t have to produce receipts totalling the exact amount payable under the overnight allowance and that other means of recording expenses, such as digital photographs on a smartphone will be acceptable to the tax authorities.

In a couple of key areas relating to the retaining and checking of receipts HMRC have now accepted that a simpler, more streamlined approach is acceptable. The guidance is much clearer about how operators can comply with tax inspector checking requirements so the potential for error is less likely. Commenting RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnett said:

“This is a significant victory for the RHA’s campaign against this unnecessary piece of bureaucracy. HMRC have listened to our arguments, and although we still believe this is still too complex, we do now have a working factsheet that our members and HMRC advice staff will be able to understand so the new taxation regime can be more easily managed. Cutting red tape for busy hauliers battling to keep the wheels of the UK economy going at a tough time is to be welcomed.”

With a shortage of truck drivers in the UK, coupled with the fact the tax free allowance to drivers night rates stood at a mere £26.20 the HMRC tactics from April of this year were described as ‘shambolic’ and were seen as putting further pressure on an essential industry already swamped with red tape.

The factsheet to assist hauliers to understand the new rules is viewable HERE.

Photo: Courtesy of Cabsnoozer, the in cab hammock for those who need a decent rest but do not have the luxury of a sleeper cab.