The Tax Disc: Proof that Even Governments Can Change

 

Adapt or die - the Greeks said it best

“The only thing that is constant is change.” – Heraclitus. Heraclitus died in 745AD but there’s no denying that these words are as true now as they were then. The only thing that changes is how we adapt to change. We live in such a fast-paced world that it’s no surprise that even those historically risk-(and change) averse organisations, like those affiliated with governing the country are automating too!

The government continues their digital drive

For example, even the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is getting with the programme. They announced that the tax disc, introduced in 1921, will no longer be needed as of October 2014. Why? They’re going electronic. According to BBC news, “the Treasury said it showed government was moving "into the modern age" and that it will “make dealing with government more hassle-free”.

 

But there’s still confusion

We should applaud the fact that the government is getting with the programme by going electronic. Things like auto-enrollment and real-time information mean that historical processes are being updated, bit by bit with automated processes. But, despite government attempts to make life simpler (there’s even an Office of Tax Simplification!), the laws are still lagging behind. And, this can cause confusion.

When it comes to expenses, for example, it’s easy to get confused:

  • Do you need to submit paper or digital receipts for claims?
  • How much mileage can you claim without paying extra tax?
  • Can you claim mileage from your home to your office if you’re going via the office to a business meeting?

And when confusion abounds, sometimes misconceptions become commonly misunderstood myths…

 

Like the myth that putting a few calculations or even macros in a spreadsheet is the same a using an automated expense management system. (It’s not.)

 

There are still myths: but they can be busted

Some of these questions have simple answers, but some have built up into real myths – like the fact that it just isn’t worth reclaiming VAT on mileage because it’s just too much hassle, or that mileage isn’t a big business expense. (It is worth claiming, it’s not too much hassle, and it is a big business expense).

Want to know more about some of the common expenses, mileage and VAT-reclaim myths? Here’s something that can clear things up: A Helpful Guide to Busting Myths about Business Expenses, VAT Reclaim and Mileage. It’s worth a read. And the chances are that you’ll learn something you didn’t know…

 

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