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ACFO success for AFR changes from June

Date: 24 May 2011

Fleet operators will see significant revisions to advisory fuel rates from 1 June, after HMRC agreed to change them following pressure from the fleet industry.

ACFO has been pressing for changes since 2006 through regular meetings with HMRC and now, from 1 June, it has agreed to change both the frequency of its review of rates and the mechanism it uses for calculating them.

Historically, AFRs for company car drivers have been reviewed twice a year with the next review scheduled for June 1.

However, starting from June 1, HMRC has agreed to change both the frequency of its review of rates and the mechanism it uses for calculating them.

According to ACFO, which also conducted a survey of members, HMRC will:

. Review AFRs on a quarterly basis. However, in agreeing to a more frequent review it has withdrawn its commitment to make interim changes if fuel prices vary by 5% or more.

. Reduce vehicle manufacturers' published average MPG figures for petrol and diesel cars by 15% rather than the current 10%, better to reflect real world driving condition.

. Introduce an additional rate band for diesel cars as a result of the number of smaller engined models now reaching the market. Currently there are two diesel bands - up to 2000cc and over 2000cc. From next month the first band will be up to and including 1600cc models, the second band will be 1601-2000cc and the third band will be 2001cc and above.

HMRC has also told ACFO that it will continue to review diesel engine bands. In the future it could be that they come into line with those for both petrol and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) models - up to 1400cc, 1400cc-2000cc and over 2000cc - if the range of smaller engines continues to increase, said ACFO.

HMRC, which will publish the new Advisory Fuel Rates in the next few days, has also confirmed that it will continue to give employers a month's grace to implement the changes meaning that until July 1 either the new or the current rates can be used.

ACFO director Stewart Whyte said: "We are delighted that HM Revenue & Customs has accepted our arguments over Advisory Fuel Rates.

"Our major concern recently has focused on the volatility of fuel prices, which we have witnessed not only in recent months but several times since we started discussing the Advisory Fuel Rates mechanism with officials. However the changes in process highlighted above all meet the suggestions originally made by ACFO and will make the whole process much more robust.

"We are sure that the more frequent review of Advisory Fuel Rates will be welcomed by ACFO members. Overall, while we have yet to learn exactly what the new rates will be, we believe the new mechanism for making the calculation is robust, fair to all sides and easy to implement."

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