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LETTERS to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

No evidence of HMRC hit squads

SIR – We do not believe that Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has appointed hit squads to specifically target Employee Car Ownership schemes and business mileage capture as reported in your front page story ‘Taxman to target poorly-run fleets’ (Fleet NewsNet, March, 2).

Nor do we believe that the Revenue is specifically worried about business mileage, although poor business mileage capture has always been an issue.

Their current concern seems to be more related to the payment of net sums in ECO schemes through employees’ salaries, which would ordinarily have been taxed at source, thereby depriving them of substantial amounts on Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions.

Formerly, and indeed currently, the Revenue used a PAYE Settlement Agreement to settle the tax and National Insurance on the payment made to the driver.

They appear to have now decided to withdraw the Settlement Agreement for this purpose and to expect both tax and National Insurance due to be settled within the payroll, which is a significant departure. The accurate capture of business mileage is at the heart of any well-run fleet and can be achieved quite simply.

Systems such as our own Cash Allowance Scheme currently achieve a 95.2% capture of all business mileages on a monthly basis, and accurate capture in this way is of paramount importance.

PAUL JACKSON
Managing director, The Miles Consultancy

Portable sat-nav units: cheaper but not safer

SIR – I read with interest Mark Williams’ letter regarding in-car satellite navigation (Fleet NewsNet, March 9) and how it is not sensible.

While I agree that these options are expensive and that the portable units seem like better value, I would urge him to consider where these units are placed when his colleagues are using them.

I currently manage a car and van rental operation and have a number of vehicles fitted with integrated navigation systems.

We could offer the portable units that Mr Williams mentioned. However, I feel much happier that my customers are driving with a full field of vision.

The in-built units have large screens and also come with telephone capability but do not restrict the driver’s view because they are not obtrusively stuck in the middle of the windscreen.

I feel it will only be a matter of time before these portable units are seen in the same light as mobile phones and I sincerely hope that action is taken by the police before someone is seriously injured by being in a ‘sat-nav blind spot’.

While fleet managers are constantly being urged to protect their at-work drivers I simply fail to see how the portable units can be seen as a safe option, even if a cheaper one.

MARTIN HUGHES
Via email

Let’s get our priorities right

SIR – With reference to the article on smoking in vehicles ‘BT leads the way with smoke ban in its cars’ (Fleet NewsNet, March 2), I would have thought that the Scottish police might have had better things to do with their time than ‘running spot checks to ensure that drivers have been educated about the no-smoking ban’.

This, incidentally, reads as if there is a ban on ‘no smoking’, but all that aside, I would have thought that someone having a sly drag in their vehicle was somewhat less important than catching terrorists, bank robbers and all the other real criminals that infest the world in which we have to live.

It must be really ginger-peachy for the Scottish police, safe and sound in their own little cloud-cuckoo land!

ALISTAIR WHITE
Eastleigh Borough Council

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