Fleet News

Boots calls on Brown to make green travel BIK-free

BOOTS is calling on Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown to use the Budget to exclude 'green transport plans' from benefit-in-kind tax after the high street giant was left facing a £500,000 tax bill for supporting a bus service for staff. The Inland Revenue says the service counts as a benefit-in-kind and following a recent audit has demanded the huge payment of back taxes.

Boots pays for bus services to come on to its massive production site near Nottingham - a scheme which cut car use by 10% and currently sees about 1,300 of the 6,500-strong workforce travelling by bus. The high street pharmacist has asked the Treasury to justify the tax demand when the company is attempting to follow Government orders. Earlier this month Transport Minister Dr John Reid told fellow MPs that one of the Government's main aims was to encourage large firms to get staff to use alternative transport.

A spokesman for Boots said: 'With the Budget almost upon us the Chancellor should take the opportunity to address this anomaly and get rid of a tax loop-hole which means we can face a half-million pound tax bill. This flies in the face of what the Department for the Environment, Transport and Regions is calling on companies to do. Perhaps it is time the Inland Revenue and DETR started pulling in the same direction. So far the figure is only an estimate and we have yet to receive an actual bill, so perhaps the Budget will come in the meantime and save everyone a lot of embarrassment.'

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