Random expense checks criticised

 

HMRC is damaging the haulage industry by forcing businesses to undertake random checks of drivers’ overnight expenses, according to the RHA.

The trade association said the requirement for drivers to retain receipts for everything they buy on the road was “completely unnecessary” and burdensome and had become its number one campaign.

From the beginning of April, HMRC imposed the random checks requirement on operators paying up to the overnight allowance rate of £26.20, without consulting with the industry.

In February, HMRC hit back at criticism, describing opposition as “a storm in a teacup” and claiming it would be simple for hauliers to operate.

But the RHA said employers of all sizes were opposed to the “pointless red tape”, adding that HMRC had refused to respond to its arguments.

“The RHA’s engagement with HMRC on this issue has been the most frustrating I have experienced with any arm of central government in my 10 years as director of policy,” said the RHA’s Jack Semple.

“Hauliers are desperately trying to get to grips with it, and it is hugely unpopular and completely unnecessary. It is burdensome and will damage the industry.

The RHA’s comments came as the Treasury launched a public consultation on employee expenses.

It said the cost of providing tax relief on eligible expenses was significant: relief on expenses that employers do not reimburse and employees then claim from HMRC costs the Exchequer £800m each year.

It said there had been a 25% increase in claims between 2009/10 and 2014/15.

The consultation runs until 12 June.
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