The Original Bio-fuel Is Now FREE!
I cycle quite a lot when I’m at work - as I only cover an area that’s 5 x 4 miles, it’s an ideal way to get around between clients. You could view this as being a little indulgent, but it gives me time to think about things, and it’s perfectly aligned with my employer’s environmental policies.
The only snag is in trying the claim the cost of all those bike miles - HMRC will let me claim 20p / mile, but all our expenses forms seem to be designed around the rate for cars. This didn’t present a problem when that was 40p / mile, as all I did was enter half the miles for the journey I was claiming. But now HMRC have said that car journeys are 45p a mile, and entering 4/9 of my miles didn’t seem to make much sense.
So I queried it, and got this reply back:
Sent: 04 July 2011 12:13
To: Karl; XXXX; XXXX
Subject: RE: Mileage Rate
XXXXXXX have no expenses set up for bicycle so you will not be able to claim for this type of travel as there is no fuels or charges to yourself when using a bike.
The only expenses currently set up for XXXXXXX are listed below.
I would suggest you speak to XXXX directly in regards to how to submit your expenses to them.
Riding a bike I burn 700-1,200 calories per hour - depending on whether I’m ambling along (12mph), or going like the clappers (22mph). If I’m to avoid wasting away, I really do have to eat extra to replace those calories. But that’s OK, because there are no fuel costs for a bike - food, it turns out is free. That’s right - the original eco-friendly bio-fuel is officially free.
Also, there are no charges to myself in running a bike (their phrasing, not mine). Servicing, tools, spares, additional bikes, etc are all free. Well at least that should please Wife, even if it is a bit of a shock to the Local Bike Shop’s cashflow.
So. My options:
- Keep schtum, and just claim everything as car mileage? Wouldn’t that be dishonest?
- Conform to our car-centric culture, give up the bike and drive, because that seems to be what they want me to do? You’ve got to be kidding me!
- Exploit a loophole in the system? I can claim for lunch, tea, and evening meals, and they’re what I’m using to fuel the bike.
- Take a stand & make an issue out of this? Highly unattractive, as I’m dealing with a bureaucracy that’d make the Vogon civil service look sympathetic.
- Any other ideas?