HMRC operates a simplification measure that allows businesses to claim back VAT from mileage claims using a standardised scale charge to value fuel costs for private use. The scale charge is a fixed amount based on a vehicles CO2 rating.

Most businesses, particularly small and medium sized businesses, which do not keep detailed mileage records covering all journeys, use the road fuel scale charges scheme. This measure saves business car users the chore of keeping detailed records of actual private mileage.

Where the scale charge is used, a business can reclaim all the VAT incurred and then pay the appropriate fuel scale charge for each vehicle. The charge is calculated on a flat rate basis according to the carbon dioxide emissions of the car.

The VAT road fuel scale charges are updated annually. The latest valuation table sets the VAT scale charges for taxing private use of road fuel from 1 May 2018 to 30 April 2019. The new fuel scale charges must be used by companies from the start of their next prescribed accounting period beginning on or after 1 May 2018. The fuel scale rates encourage the use of cars with low CO2 emissions.

Planning note:

If a vehicle is used only for business use, all the VAT on fuel costs can be recovered. HMRC will expect to see proof that there is no private use of the vehicle in question.

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