The 16% increase in the tax charge for company car drivers who receive free fuel for private mileage, was revealed in Fleet News last month, and followed up in the Daily Mail almost one week later on March 26.
However, the Inland Revenue has rebutted the Mail's version of the story, saying it contained several inaccuracies, including the suggestion that the tax was new, and had 'worried taxpayers who have felt the need to contact their tax offices to find out the true picture.'
In a letter to the Daily Mail, Inland Revenue deputy chairman Tim Flesher said: 'The uprating for 2002/03 is simply the final stage of a five year programme that was very publicly announced for the first time by press release in the 1998 Budget. Since then the figures for each year have also been announced and publicised - the charges for 2001/02 were issued on Budget Day last year.'
He also corrected a claim that the tax was payable immediately, saying: 'It will be collected, as usual, through the PAYE system with the changes taking effect from the employee's first pay day after June 17, 2002. 'Many taxpayers have been in touch with us on this last point. We have informed them of the correct position.'