The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has won a significant concession from tax officials on Overnight Allowances for lorry drivers.
The climbdown is a result of many months of negotiations with officials from HMRC after RHA members angrily complained that newly imposed rules were confusing, unfair and were costing them money. At the heart of the row was an insistence from the tax officials that drivers must produce receipts to cover the exact cost of the Overnight Allowance they are paid to cover subsistence when they are sleeping in their cabs on long haul trips. Hauliers complained this was unfair and impractical given the nature of the lorry trade and historical agreements over the allowance stretching back 26 years.
The government has now accepted that a simpler, more streamlined approach is acceptable in several key areas relating to the retaining and checking of receipts. HMRC has issued new guidance which means drivers will not have to produce receipts totalling the exact amount payable under the overnight allowance, and that other means of recording expenses, such as digital photographs on a smartphone, will be acceptable to the tax authorities.
Commenting on the concession, the RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett, said: “This is a significant victory for the RHA’s campaign against this unnecessary piece of bureaucracy. HMRC has listened to our arguments, and although we still believe this is still too complex, we do now have a working factsheet that our members and HMRC advice staff will be able to understand so the new taxation regime can be more easily managed.
“Cutting red tape for busy hauliers battling to keep the wheels of the UK economy going at a tough time is to be welcomed.”