Tax and the company car
- CO2 emission information
- Fuel scale charges
- Employee contributions
- Current mileage rates
- Basic rate liability example
- Higher rate liability example
- Additional rate example
- Tax free benefits
- Business use of an employee's own car
- Passenger payments
- 2013/14 taxable benefits table
- Case study
- Two rules of thumb
- Pool cars
- Company vans
- Tax saving check list
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The system for taxing those who use company cars has seen annual incremental increases in the cost of benefits, while maintaining the basic approach to taxing those who use a company owned vehicle. The basis of the charge is to tax a figure calculated by multiplying the car's list price by an emission-based percentage, with a 3% surcharge on diesel powered cars until 2016.
Cars emitting CO2 at a specified level are taxed on rates varying from 5% to 35% of the list price. Emissions for petrol driven cars from 1 to 75 g/km are taxed at 5% and from 76-94g/km, at 10% of list price.
Cars running solely on diesel fuel are currently subject to a 3% supplement. Special rules apply to cars running on electricity. Employees and directors who are provided with a company car that is propelled solely by electricity will not have to pay tax on the benefit until 2015.
Cars with higher levels of CO2 emission are taxed on a graduated scale rising to a maximum (for both petrol and diesel) of 35% of the car's price. The detailed figures are shown in our taxable benefits table. These figures apply to all company cars, including second cars.
For all cars first registered from at least November 2000, the definitive CO2 emissions figure for tax purposes will be recorded on the Vehicle Registration Document (V5). Under an agreement with HM Revenue & Customs, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is providing a CO2 emissions enquiry service on their website at www.smmt.co.uk for cars first registered from January 1998.
Cars first registered before January 1998, for which there are no reliable CO2 emissions data, are taxed according to their engine size, as follows:
|Engine size (cc)||Percentage of car's price charged to tax|
|0 - 1400||15%|
|1401 - 2000||22%|
|2001 and more||32%|
Where the employer pays for any fuel used privately by the employee, there is an additional scale charge based on the CO2 - based car benefit percentage applied to a standard value of £21,100.
Where the employee is required, as a condition of the car being made available, to pay for the private use of a car, the value of the benefit is reduced accordingly (on a pound for pound basis). Capital contributions of up to £5,000 made by employees towards the cost of the car and/or accessories, when the car is first made available, will reduce its list price for tax purposes.
By contrast it is ‘all or nothing' for the fuel scale charge, which remains at the full value unless the employee pays for all private fuel!
HM Revenue & Customs has published advisory fuel only rates which will be accepted either for employers reimbursing employees for the cost of fuel for business mileage, or for employees reimbursing employers for the cost of fuel for private mileage in a company car. Alternative rates may be negotiated, for example when it is necessary for the performance of his or her duties that an employee uses a four-wheel drive vehicle. In this instance a higher rate per mile might be agreed due to the typically higher fuel consumption
1 March 2013
These mileage rates came into force officially on 1 March 2013.
|Advisory fuel only mileage rates|
|Rates per mile|
|Up to 1400cc||15p||10p|
|1401cc - 2000cc||18p||12p|
|1600cc or less||13p|
These standard charges are subject to income tax at the basic, higher or additional rate (depending on the employee's rate of pay). The tax is usually collected under the PAYE system by appropriate adjustment of the employee's tax code.
For the benefit to be attractive, the employee must pay less in extra tax than it would cost them to run their own car out of their taxed income. These are examples of the 2012/14 tax costs to an employee of a company car:
|List Price||CO2 emission g/km||Tax Rate 20%|
|List Price||CO2 emission g/km||Tax Rate 40%|
|List Price||CO2 emission g/km||Tax Rate 45%|
Use our calculator to check your car benefit
Tax free benefits
- Car Parking
The provision of a car parking space at or near the employee's place of work is not an assessable benefit.
- Pool Cars
There is no tax for using a pool car. This is one where private use is merely incidental to the business use, and it is not normally used by one employee to the exclusion of all others.
Please note: A pool car must not normally be kept overnight at or near an employee's home.
- "Lower Paid" Employees
The provision of a car for an employee (NOT a director) who is paid at a rate below £8,500 per year (including the value of benefits) does NOT attract any charge to income tax. Nor is there any charge on fuel for private use provided to such employees.
- Special Consideration for Sole Traders
If your spouse is employed in your business (but not as a partner), it can be very tax efficient to provide them with a car, as long as they earn well below £8,500. The use of the car can be tax-free in their hands, and the business will get full tax relief on all the expenses connected with the car, provided you can demonstrate the car is necessary for business purposes.
Note that all benefits and salaries to a spouse must be justifiable. In other words, the remuneration must be at the same level that would have been paid to a non-spouse who did the same work.
Business use of an employee's own car
It is quite normal practice for employees to be reimbursed at a reasonable mileage rate for business use of their own cars.
A statutory system of tax and national insurance free mileage rates applies for business journeys in employees' own vehicles, as follows:
|Cars and vans|
|On the first 10,000 miles in the tax year||45p per mile|
|On each additional mile above this||25p per mile|
|Motor cycles||24p per mile|
|Bicycles||20p per mile|
It is no longer possible to make a claim for tax relief based on actual receipted bills, nor claim capital allowances or interest on loans related to car purchases.
Note that the lower rate for more than 10,000 business miles only applies to income tax. The national insurance rate remains at 45p for any number of miles.
Unless the employee is reimbursed at a rate higher than the statutory mileage rate, the payments do not need to be reported on a P11D.
When an employee travelling on business carries fellow employees as passengers he may be reimbursed a further 5p per passenger tax free provided the journey is a business journey in respect of the passengers. No claim can be made if the employer does not make passenger payments.
The taxable benefit for the unrestricted use of company vans is £3,000 (with no reduction for older vans) plus a further £550 of taxable benefit if fuel is provided by the employer for private travel.
The tax payable on the use of a company van ranges from £600 up to £1,775 p.a., and the employer's Class1A NIC payable ranges from £414 to £489.90 p.a.
Use our calculator to check your van benefit
Tax saving check list
- Keep adequate records of business mileage.
- Always check your tax code to see that the correct benefit is being applied.
- Sole traders and partners should consider the potential tax advantages of providing their spouse with a company car.
- If you have low private mileage, you may be better off if you pay for all your own private fuel.
- If you have high business mileage, it may be better to use your own car and claim "mileage" from your employer.
- Encourage your employer to apply for a P11D dispensation.
- If you are on the borderline of "lower paid", think about setting up a contribution for the use of the car, to keep on the right side of £8,500.
- Tax - free parking is a must!
Company cars - beyond 2013
- From 2014/15, the taxable benefits tables are revised. These have now been published for tax years 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17.
- These reduce the thresholds for each percentage band of emissions.
- From 2015/16, the 0% and 5% rates for low emission cars are abolished. Such cars will have a percentage of 13% (16% for diesel). Also from 2015/16, the scale is extended from 35% to 37%.
- From 2016/17, the 3% premium for diesel engines is removed.
2012/13 company car taxable benefits table
|CO2 emissions (g/km)*||Petrol||Diesel|
|1 to 75||5%||8%|
|76 to 99||10%||13%|
|100 to 104||11%||14%|
|105 to 109||12%||15%|
|110 to 114||13%||16%|
|115 to 119||14%||17%|
|120 to 124||15%||18%|
|125 to 129||16%||19%|
|130 to 134||17%||20%|
|135 to 139||18%||21%|
|140 to 144||19%||22%|
|145 to 149||20%||23%|
|150 to 154||21%||24%|
|155 to 159||22%||25%|
|160 to 164||23%||26%|
|165 to 169||24%||27%|
|170 to 174||25%||28%|
|175 to 179||26%||29%|
|180 to 184||27%||30%|
|185 to 189||28%||31%|
|190 to 194||29%||32%|
|195 to 199||30%||33%|
|200 to 204||31%||34%|
|205 to 209||32%||35%|
|210 to 214||33%||35%|
|215 to 219||34%||35%|
|220 and over||35%||35%|
*The exact CO2 figure is rounded down to the nearest 5g/km.
Cars that cannot emit CO2 by being driven have a benefit of 0%.
2011/12 taxable benefits table
|CO2 in g/km*||Taxable %||CO2 in g/km*||Taxable %|
|1 to 75||5%||8%||175 to 179||25%||28%|
|76 to 120||10%||13%||180 to 184||26%||29%|
|121 to 129||15%||18%||185 to 189||27%||30%|
|130 to 134||16%||19%||190 to 194||28%||31%|
|135 to 139||17%||20%||195 to 199||29%||32%|
|140 to 144||18%||21%||200 to 204||30%||33%|
|145 to 149||19%||22%||205 to 209||31%||34%|
|150 to 154||20%||23%||210 to 214||32%||35%|
|155 to 159||21%||24%||215 to 219||33%||35%|
|160 to 164||22%||25%||220 to 224||34%||35%|
|165 to 169||23%||26%||225 and over||35%||35%|
|170 to 174||24%||27%|
* The exact CO2 figure is rounded down to the nearest 5g/km