Tax Guru 12-2012

Hello again!

My name is Andrew Richardson and I have been running TaxAssist Accountants in Elgin for five years. I am hoping that this tax advice section will become an interactive feature. Submit your tax and accountancy questions to Moray Life and I’ll answer a sample of them each month, along with a brief summary of the tax issues we should be looking out for.


Q: This year, I have been charging my own company 45p per mile for my own car's business mileage, but I've just bought a new car. I know that there is a 10,000 mile limit, but is this linked to how many miles I travel or how many miles the car goes?

A: Just to confirm for those who don't know the mileage rules, business mileage in a car or van is payable at 45p per mile for up to 10,000 miles (and thereafter at 25p per mile). The 10,000 mile limit is applicable per employment per tax year.

Before I answer the question, I need to complicate things further. For mileage purposes, vehicles are split in three types:

  • Cars and vans
  • Motor cycles
  • Cycles

Business mileage for the same 'kind' of vehicle is merged as if it were related to a single vehicle. So, to answer your question, mileage follows the individual based on how many miles they travel by any type of vehicle, and thus you would merge the previous miles completed with any additional ones you have in your new car.

Q: I am thinking of having some Christmas presents sent over from Asia, and I just wondered if there were any tax issues I should be aware of?

A: There are a few limits you ought to be aware of with regards to bringing goods into the UK from outside the EU:

You can bring goods (excluding tobacco and alcohol) worth up to £390 in from non-EU countries via commercial sea or air transport without paying VAT or duty.

You can bring goods (excluding tobacco and alcohol) worth up to £270 in from non-EU countries via any other transport without paying VAT or duty.

Please note the allowances above are per person and cannot be combined if you are travelling as a couple or group. Furthermore, if the package exceeds the allowance, the duty is charged on the full value of the item; not just on the amount in excess of the limit.

Should you buy goods over the internet or by mail order worth over £15 from outside the EU, you will have to pay VAT. If the package is worth over £135, duty may also be due.

Q: If an employee cannot get to work because of bad weather, do I still have to pay them?

A: Generally, there is no legal obligation to pay your staff if they are late in or do not arrive to work at all because of bad weather. They will have to take unpaid or annual leave. Having said that, you should check what is written in your employees' contracts of employment, as you may have made some concessions.

If your employee is unable to get to work because they need to look after their children because their school is shut, this may qualify as Time Off for Dependents. An employee is entitled to as much of this unpaid time off as a tribunal would see fit.

Ultimately, you should ensure that your policies are clear and applied as fairly as possible.

I hope you all have a good Christmas and New Year. If you have a tax query then please submit your questions to Moray Life and I'll try to give a response next month. And always remember...

'The way taxes are, you might as well marry for love.'

By Andrew Richardson

TaxAssist Accountants Moray

Andrew’s contact details:

Please see my TaxAssist page for more details.