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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

Supporting Guidance: employer compliance: guidance by subject: particular occupations: lorry drivers - tachographs

Tachographs may need to be viewed to substantiate night out allowances. See COG908660.

Manual tachograph discs are daily records which show, amongst other items, the distance covered by a vehicle. Usually the centre of a disc shows

  • the driver’s name
  • the place and mileage at the start of a journey or day, and
  • the place and mileage at the end of a journey or day.

All vehicles first registered in the UK on or after 1 May 2006 must be fitted with a digital tachograph. All drivers operating a digital tachograph are required to hold a driver smart card which records data, including

  • driving and rest times
  • identification of vehicles used
  • location at start and end of day.

Data stored on the driver smart card is downloaded periodically and can be printed.

There is more guidance at TIP148: Tachographs.

Tachograph records are not specifically mentioned in the PAYE Regulations. However the Board’s Solicitor has advised that they are records relating to the calculation or payment of earnings, and under Regulation 97(8) of the Income Tax (Pay As You Earn) Regulations 2003 the employer should retain them for at least three years.

But as European Commission (EC) Regulations state that employers should retain such records for one year, you should not insist that the three year rule is applied.

Where records have only been retained for one year, you should use them as the basis for conducting a compliance check, and where appropriate seeking recovery on an estimated basis for earlier years.

What to check when tachographs are provided is covered at COG908680.

Where an employer questions the right to inspect tachograph records, the caseworker should point out that it is our view that such records relate to the calculation or payment of earnings under Regulation 97.

Where, despite this explanation, the employer refuses to provide the tachograph records for review, you should ask the employer to provide the other records listed at COG908660.

In the event that the employer is

  • unwilling or unable to provide other records, and
  • reiterates refusal to provide the tachograph records

you should advise that in the absence of evidence that employees qualify for tax free allowances

  • all such payments should be taxed in full in future, and
  • recovery will be sought on all such previous payments made.

The main aim in giving such advice is for the employer to provide the required records. If the employer still refuses to provide the records, and disputes the liability on the full amounts paid you should