Company Cars & Bikes

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There is a lot of talks these days about going green, carbon footprints etc. As a small business, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the tax breaks to encourage “greener” living are just for the likes of ICI and other large industrial companies, but HMRC has introduced a generous scheme to encourage small business owners to do more for the environment.

The scheme concerns Company cars. Historically providing a company car to an employee has been very expensive from a tax point of view but no longer – at least for certain cars. Those cars which have CO2 emissions of not more than 75g per kilometre driven qualify for 100% allowances within the Company – this means that if the car costs £20,000 you can offset the whole amount against your Company profits in year 1.

The benefit in kind charge (the tax payable by the employee) is also reduced to 11% of the list price of the car for cars with a CO2 emission rate of 51 – 75g/km (as of 6 April 2016) and 7% with a CO2 emission rate of 0-50g/km. These rates are increased by 3% for diesel cars due to a 3% diesel supplement. The benefit in kind charge for electric-only cars is calculated at 7% of the list price.

How then does this relate to actual tax savings? Take the example of a Toyota Prius with a list price of £20,000 and a CO2 emission rate of 75g/km. In year one the Company can write off the whole cost of the car against its profits, meaning a tax saving of £20,000 x 20% i.e. £4000.

The benefit in kind on the employee would be £20,000 x 11% = £2,200. This would cost a Higher Rate taxpayer £880 in tax with the Company paying an extra £303.60 a year in Class 1a National Insurance.

This then is a tax saving in year 1 of £2,816.40 Remember as well that the Company will pay for all the repairs, tax, business fuel and insurance on the car, reclaiming VAT where applicable and obtaining corporation tax savings on all costs.

So, the tax breaks are good, but are the cars that qualify worth the extra savings? Personal choice of course, but you may want to check on the following link for further details and to check those currently available

  Small Business Guide to Company Cars

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