If you reclaim VAT on your expenditure, please note that HMRC have published new company car advisory fuel rates to take effect from 1 December 2011.
These rates apply to all journeys on or after 1 December 2011 until further notice, allowing them to reflect fuel prices more quickly. For one month from the date of change, employers may use either the previous or new current rates, as they choose. Employers may therefore make or require supplementary payments if they so wish, but are under no obligation to do either.
The advisory fuel rates for journeys undertaken on or after 1 December 2011 are:
1400cc or less
1401cc – 2000cc
1600cc or less
1601cc – 2000cc
Please note that most rates have not changed. However the rate for LPG cars has reduced for those with an engine size of 1400cc or less.
Other points to be aware of about the advisory fuel rates:
Employers do not need a dispensation to use these rates.
Employees driving employer provided cars are not entitled to use these rates to claim tax relief if employers reimburse them at lower rates. Such claims should be based on the actual costs incurred.
The advisory rates are not binding where an employer can demonstrate that the cost of business travel in employer provided cars is higher than the guideline mileage rates. The higher cost would need to be agreed with HMRC under a dispensation.
If you would like more information, please contact me.
Ahead of the budget, here is a prediction: in the next 6 months, either inflation will go up, or interest rates will go up, or they both will go up.
The challenge therefore is not to second guess what is going to happen, but what you are going to do about the inevitable increases.
At the start of the recession, interest rates tumbled to their lowest level in living memory. To remind yourself what it was like, work out what the additional cost of an increase of 1% on your borrowings would be. Now multiply that by 4 or 5. That is how much better off you are at the moment, and how much you will need to find again when interest rates go up.
In the mean time, inflation is creeping up. No change there. However, pay awards are being held flat or low. Certainly lower than inflation.
My real prediction is that life could be a lot worse.
Time is money. We all know that. But do you know how much your time is worth? I recently helped a self-employed client work out this cost, and thought I’d share the process.
The starting point is to work out how much it costs to “keep you alive” each month. This should include your rent or mortgage, your utility costs, average food bill, travel costs, a contribution to a small annual holiday, and a little contingency “just in case”. Let’s say, for example, that this amounts to £1,200.
You now multiply this cost by 12 to get your annual cost: £14,400.
Assuming an average working year of 220 days, you need to earn just over £65 every day to stand still. However, that’s after paying tax. So your gross earnings would need to be in the region of £80 per day.
So assuming an 8 hour day, it costs you £10 an hour to sit still.
It might not sound much, but every hour you don’t earn means you have to earn more in the other hours. Let’s say you only earn in 60% of the time. You need to charge about £135 a day, or £17 per hour.
So when you sit down to read or do something that you are not being paid for, ask yourself, is it worth £17 per hour?
One of the oldest concepts in international economics is the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP). PPP argues that, in the long run, exchange rates should move towards levels that would equalise the prices of an identical basket of goods and services in any two countries.
The Economist uses just one item: the Big Mac.
If a Big Mac costs £2.50 in the UK, at today’s exchange rate (£1 = $1.46677), a Big Mac in the US should cost $3.67.
If it costs more than $3.67 then the PPP concept suggests that the pound is overvalued (or the dollar is undervalued). The consequence of this is that, all things being equal, either the pound will go up, or the dollar will fall.
Too simple? Possibly, but as a measurement of exchange rates, Big Maconomics has endured.
Sometimes I think we make life too complicated and not enough fun.