Self Employed Mileage Allowance Explained

If you are registered as self-employed and use your own vehicle for business travel, then you can claim the self-employed mileage allowance on eligible journies. The mileage allowance is rates set by HMRC per mile that you can use to calculate an amount you can include as an allowable expense for self assessment.

Find out how much you can claim per mile using the self-employed mileage allowance set by HMRC, the records you need to keep and how to enter it when you fill in your tax return.

Updated 9 September 2021

1. What is the Self Employed Mileage Allowance?

The self-employed mileage allowance is the amount set by HMRC that you can claim for using your personal vehicle for business reasons as an allowable business expense on your tax return.

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2. The Standard HMRC Sole Trader Mileage Allowance for 2021/2022

The self-employed mileage allowance is a flat rate per mile, according to the type of vehicle used, under what is known as simplified expenses, to make it easy to claim for business costs, with minimal information. The current self-employed mileage allowance rates 2021/2022 tax year:

  • 45 pence per mile for cars and goods vehicles on the first 10,000 miles travelled (25 pence over 10,000 miles)
  • 24 pence per mile for motorcycles
  • 4p per mile for fully electric cars

The mileage rates set by HMRC is set at a rate per mile that contributes to the cost of wear and tear on a vehicle as well as fuel, MOT and servicing. Other car expenses are not tax deductibles such as MOT, repairs and fuel.

3. How to Calculate the Self-Employed Mileage Allowance for Self Assessment

To work out the amount of mileage you can deduct against your taxes you’ll need to:

  1. Add up the number of business miles you have travelled;
  2. Multiply the number of miles in Step 1 by the HMRC mileage allowance rate per mile.

Here’s an example of calculating mileage for self-assessment:

You drive 11,000 business miles in the tax year 2021 using your own car. The total amount of mileage you can claim against your taxes is calculated as follows:

  • £4,500 on the first 10,000 miles (10,000 x 45p)
  • £250 on the remaining 1,000 miles (1,000 x 25p)
  • Total £4,750

When you fill in your 2021/2022 tax return, you can claim for mileage of £4,750 as an allowable expense. You can also claim £4,750 from your business bank account as a tax-free refund for what you have spent personally fuelling and maintaining your vehicle.

4. What Counts as Business Mileage for Self Assessment?

You can claim business mileage against your taxes for journeys that are necessary for work reasons. That’s times like when you see a client or supplier and if you work from a “temporary workplace”

4.1 What is a Temporary Workplace?

A temporary workplace is defined by HMRC as one which you attend that:

  • Is for a limited time only, like a one-off meeting;
  • Meets the “40% rule” – that means a workplace that you spend less than 40% of your working time at;
  • Is for less than 24 months.

So watch out, if you are a freelancer and have a fixed arrangement with a client at their premises you may not be able to claim the mileage.

4.2 Can I Claim Mileage to and From Work if I am Self-Employed?

When you are self-employed you cannot claim mileage for commuting to work, unfortunately. This is what HMRC classifies as “Ordinary Commuting”. HMRC defines ordinary commuting as being journeys between an employee’s home and their permanent workplace. Your permanent workplace is the place you attend regularly. That may even be your own house if you work from home. A regular journey is one that you have to do in order to get to work. That means if you choose to rent an office, you would not be able to claim any type of travel cost getting to it or home again.

4.3 Examples of Trips Eligible for the Mileage Allowance

Example 1

You work from home as a self-employed bookkeeper and go to visit a potential new client. You can claim the mileage from your home to the client as a travel expense against your taxes.

Example 2

You are a self-employed hairdresser and decide to rent a chair at a salon. You cannot claim the mileage allowance for travel between your home and the salon because this would be an ordinary commute to your permanent workplace. But you’ll be able to claim the self-employed mileage allowance for any one-off journeys outside of your regular commute for example to buy supplies.

Example 3

You are a self-employed gardener and store your tools at a local garage. You cannot claim mileage for travelling between your home and garage because this is considered part of your ordinary commute.

5. What Other Car Expenses are Tax Deductible?

The self-employed mileage allowance covers the cost of wear and tear on your vehicle as well as fuel, MOT and servicing. That means other car expenses are not tax deductibles like MOT, repairs and fuel. The HMRC Mileage Allowance rate per mile is set to include a contribution to these costs.

6. What Records Do You Need to Keep

Any business mileage claims must be supported by a record of each trip and the mileage rate claimed including:

  • Date
  • Location
  • Miles travelled
  • Reason for the trip

The easiest way to claim business mileage is to use a mileage claim form (you can download a copy here).

claiming business mileage
How to Claim the Self Employed Mileage Allowance

Always remember to keep as detailed a record as possible for each of your journeys just in case HMRC ask to look at your records. 

7. How to Claim Mileage Expenses On Your Tax Return

You’ll need to claim the cost of tax-deductible business mileage in the self-employment section of your tax return. If your business turnover is less than £85,000 for 2021/2022 you’ll have the option to fill in the simplified version of this part of the tax return so only need to enter your total expenses. You’ll need to include your business mileage claim in the figure you enter alongside your other allowable business expenses.

If your business turnover is more than £85,000 you’ll need to enter a breakdown of your expenses in the boxes set out by HMRC and you’ll need to include your business mileage in car, van and travel expenses.

How to Claim Mileage on Your Tax Return

Whatever your business turnover you should keep a note of what you are claiming for and how you worked it out as part of your business records, in case of an HMRC investigation and they ask for evidence of what you are claiming for to check you’ve paid the right amount of self-employed tax.

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About Anita Forrest

Anita Forrest is a Chartered Accountant, spreadsheet geek, money nerd and creator of www.goselfemployed.co - the UK small business finance blog for the self-employed community. Here she shares simple, straight-forward guides to make self-employment topics like taxes, bookkeeping and banking easy to understand.