Over the course of the festive season we’ll be bringing you an advent calendar’s worth of tax and financial tips. Some of them might even be a little Christmassy! Day 24 of advent can mean one thing, and one thing only… it’s Christmas Eve and Santa is feeding the reindeer ahead of a tough night’s work…
Festive business mileage
You’re the new owner and chief executive of Christmas Limited, a premium quality delivery service. Amongst your staff of elves and reindeer is one human employee, Santa Claus. Apart from having a ridiculous name, Mr Claus does a lot of travelling on business at this time of year and uses his own sleigh when doing so. Mr Claus’ sleigh is more akin to a car than an actual sleigh, with reindeer being purely ornamental.
It’s Christmas Eve and you’re sitting at your desk in the log cabin that masquerades as the company’s office, shuffling paperwork from one place to another. You espy Mr Claus loitering outside. The weather is filthy so you put on your thick outercoat before venturing outside. At first, Mr Claus looks reasonably happy to see you but then you charge Mr Claus with making deliveries to 10 million households across the world before sunrise. Mr Claus takes a step back and, with a sharp intake of breath through pursed lips, indicates that it’ll be a struggle, especially at this time of year. You attempt to win him round with the promise of sherry and mince pies.
Begrudgingly, Mr Claus accosts two elves and trundles off in the snow to his sleigh, braving the freezing blizzard and muttering something about mileage logs. You think nothing of it and assume he can’t wait to get back to the office and tuck into the yule log you spotted at the back of the staff fridge earlier today.
It’s going to be a long, cold night but the log cabin office has all the mod cons: log fire, desk, chair and telly. The wind howls through the trees that surround the cabin but there are several Yankee candles giving a nice homely vibe. Brandy, you think. Lots of brandy. You flick through TV channels until you happen upon a Christmas film with Arnie in it, settle into your chair with a tartan blanket and sling your feet onto your now clear desk.
Your eyelids get heavier and heavier…
The next thing you know, your feet are being knocked off the desk. It’s Mr Claus back from his deliveries. He’s made good time, too, as it’s not yet dawn. Mr Claus places a piece of paper down on your desk and through a cognac-induced haze you can just about make out a scribbled note:
“10,000 miles @ 45p per mile = £4,500”
Fair enough, you think. That’s not too bad; you can stretch to that. As you reach for your pen to sign off the claim, another piece of paper is tentatively slid on top of the first:
“424,833,105 miles @ 25p per mile = £106,208,277”
Holy sh… Mr Claus clears his throat in an “ahem” fashion and slams a third and final piece of paper down on top of the first and second sheets:
424,843,108 miles @ 5p per mile x 2 = £42,484,310
And 80 pence.
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