The Future Of Company Cars In 2014

With New Cars Getting Ever More Fuel Efficient and Eco Friendly, Car Tax Has Changed Over The Last Few Years. But What Does That Mean For Company Cars?

According to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the number of fleet car registrations has risen in recent years. In 2012, fleet registrations totalled 958,517, up from 951,965 in 2011. Company cars remain an invaluable perk for many employees. But, company car schemes are liable to benefit-in-kind tax, which reflects the staff benefit of having access to a car for private use. And, traditional company cars such as larger saloons or diesel models are being increasingly targeted for higher tax. Our guide looks at whether company cars still remain a benefit and how you can choose a car to minimise your tax bill.

How Company Car Tax Works

Mark Morton, a director of human capital at Ernst and Young, says: “Company car tax works on the basic principle that if an employer provides [staff] with a company car, they are given a company car charge. It doesn’t matter if it is used or not, it is taxed because it is available to the employee. Even if that car is sitting on an employee’s drive, the benefit charge continues.” The tax you pay is based on several factors. First, it is calculated based on the value of a car which is calculated as the new price published by the manufacturer, plus VAT, delivery, number plates and any optional extras. Second, you are liable to pay tax on a percentage of the P11D value decided by the car’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Cars with higher emissions incur higher tax. Third, there is a 3 per cent surcharge with regard to diesel cars because diesels emit relatively high levels of small particulates, which are damaging at a local level. However, this surcharge is set to be abolished in 2016 in recognition of the fact that diesel engines are now cleaner and more efficient.

Company Car Drivers Encouraged To Buy A Green Vehicle

The way that company car tax is structured is designed to encourage drivers to buy low emission cars in order to help the UK to meet its environmental targets. So, if you want to reduce your tax bill – or you’re a business owner looking to reduce the cost of your company cars - there are strategies that you can employ. Dan Rees, a senior manager in Deloitte’s car consulting section, says: “From an employee’s perspective, it makes sense to choose a lower-emitting car if they can, because the tax bill is lower for them personally. “From an employer’s perspective, it makes sense to provide lower-emitting cars for numerous reasons. For instance, greener cars use less fuel. So fuel costs, which are a big part of fleet costs, are lower when employers provide more fuel-efficient cars. Also, the higher the emissions of a car, the more national insurance will be payable.”

Tax Exemption Aimed At Encouraging Electric Car Use

Changes announced in the 2013 budget mean that two new company car tax bands will be introduced in April 2015. These will provide incentives for drivers to buy low and ultra-low CO2 emissions vehicles. The new bands will cover the 0-50g/km CO2 emissions range which includes hybrid and electric vehicles. While this is aimed at encouraging company car drivers to consider an electric vehicle, some experts believe this won’t help a large majority of employers. Alistair Kendrick, a director at MHA MacInyre Hudson, said: “You wouldn’t see those [electric cars] in a corporate car park. If an employer has a sales representative travelling often, an electric car would not be fit for purpose. So there are concessions, but they don’t affect many organisations.”

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