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Andy Allen's blog: Mileage capture

Date: 30 May 2017

A fleet's largest regular expense is fuel, so recording accurate mileage is a vital part of a fleet manager's toolkit for keeping control of costs.

It's also something that can prevent unwanted visits from the taxman, as poor mileage record-keeping can land firms in deep water. It's not unknown for HMRC to issue hefty penalties if they uncover holes in mileage records.

What the law says

Employers must hold accurate records of private and business mileage to demonstrate how their vehicles are being used. This allows HMRC to determine whether the right amount of tax is being paid for non-business journeys.

Records must be kept of all employee work journeys, including start and end locations, the number of miles covered, and the reason for the journey. So all employers must have a robust mileage capture system in place for fleets. But more traditional approaches to mileage capture - like handwritten driver logbooks and manual-entry spreadsheets - are prone to inaccuracies. Plus, the admin can be time-consuming, something that no doubt feeds the mistakes.

The best solution is to use an automated, online system that records drivers' business and private mileage using GPS. A good online tool - and there are plenty out there - will allow drivers to record, manage and submit business and private mileage quickly and easily.

Our customers get a GPS dongle to insert into their vehicle's USB port or power port. The dongle then tracks their journeys, including start and finish locations, to within a few metres. Once back at base, the driver simply plugs the dongle into a computer.  The journey details are uploaded to a mileage capture portal, to be marked as business or private. Finally, the fleet manager checks the business mileage claims and approves or queries the records accordingly.

Modern fleet management is often about streamlining processes for managers and staff. A good mileage capture tool helps both, and helps tick a major box for the HMRC too.