Travel expenses for doctors

Claiming travel expenses can be very confusing as it may be unclear, particularly in England, which policy you should be following. We lay down the rates and your rights.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Monday 25 October 2021
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Many people don't even make claims for expenses but this is part of your contractual rights, so make sure you know what you are eligible for and claim for it.

To be on the safe side, check what your employer's policy is before incurring any additional expenditure.

There are two classifications of car user - either regular or standard car users.

Any doctor who uses their car on NHS business at any time may apply for reimbursement of costs at the standard rate, unless classified as a regular user.

 

Regular car user rates

Engine capacity (cars with 3 or 4 wheels) 501cc to 1,000cc 1,001cc to 1,500cc 1,501cc to 2,000cc Over 2,000cc
Lump sum £508 £626 £760 £760
Up to 9,000 miles 29.7p 36.9p 44p 44p
9,001 to 15,000 17.8p (18.2p in Scotland) 20.1p (21.7p in Scotland) 22.6p (22.7p in Scotland) 22.6p (25.5p in Scotland)
Thereafter 17.8p 20.1p 22.6p 22.6p

If you fulfil any of the following criteria you would usually be classified as a regular user and paid at regular user rates:

  • you travel an average of more than 3,500 miles a year.

Or,

  • you travel an average of at least 1,250 miles a year, and:
  • are required to use your car on an average of three days a week
  • spend an average of at least 50% of your time on work travel, including the duties performed during the visits.

For regular users a lump sum is paid in addition to a rate per mile.

 

Standard car user rates

Engine capacity 501cc to 1,000cc 1,001cc to 1,500cc 1,501cc to 2,000cc Over 2,000cc
Up to 3,500 miles 37.4p 47.3p 58.3p 58.3p
3,501 to 9,000 miles 23p 28.2p 33.5p 41p
9,001 to 15,000 17.8p 20.1p 22.7p 25.5p
Thereafter 17.8p 20.1p 22.6p 22.6p

Other motor vehicles

Engine capacity Up to 125 Over 125
Up to 5,000 miles 17.8p 27.8p
Over 5,000 miles 6.7p 9.9p
Current rates
Road fund licence £155
Insurance for private use (national call-off contract) £88
Including cover for private use £128
Handling charge £95

Public transport rate

The public transport rate is 24p per mile.

If you opt to use your own car instead of public transport when it would be reasonable to use public transport, then the public transport rate will apply.

When considering whether this is applicable, employers will look at:

  • the nature of your duties
  • the length and complexity of journey
  • the availability of public transport
  • personal safety
  • the time of day
  • other factors, such as whether you have equipment or luggage that needs to be carried.

You can use your car instead of public transport and receive regular/standard expenses rates when:

  • public transport does not provide a reliable service
  • it would be an unreasonable way to get to or from work (NHS Employers state that is when a journey on public transport takes over 1 hour or requires 3 changes or more)
  • you are travelling on an official journey.

GP trainees

GP trainees who use their personal vehicle for home visits during their placements can claim mileage expenses for all mileage incurred.

GP trainees can also claim mileage expenses for their normal home to base journey on days that they perform home visits or are expected to perform home visits. However, this varies according to which contract a GP trainee is employed under.

2016 contract

GP trainees in England employed under the 2016 TCS (terms and conditions of service) have the below entitlement to home to base mileage:

  • able to claim home to base mileage for any day on which the practice expected them to have their vehicle available to to do a home visit
  • able to claim mileage expenses for one full return journey from their home to their place of work - minus any excess mileage expenses that the trainee is receiving for the same journey
  • mileage will be reimbursed at the reserve rate, 28p per mile, as stated within the NHS staff handbook.

Read more about this in the 2016 TCS.

2002 contract

GP trainees in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales employed under the 2002 TCS have the below entitlement to home to base mileage:

  • able to claim home to base mileage for any day on which they did a home visit
  • able to claim for up to 10 miles in each direction for their journey from home to their place of work can also be claimed
  • mileage will be reimbursed according to the agreed rate in each devolved nation.

Tax arrangements

Unless you are employed under a lead employer contract and therefore covered by a HMRC exemption, you will be required to pay tax on all home to base mileage expenses you receive, as this is considered to be ‘ordinary commuting’ costs.

Your employer should:

  • complete a P11D form for the Inland Revenue detailing this, and that any tax owing will be taken out of the trainee’s national insurance contributions the following year, or
  • have payroll software that can do the tax calculations for them as they go along
  • keep a record of any mileage claims for up to six years for tax purposes.