Published on Saturday, 30 April 2011 12:36
For the majority of businessmen the use of a motor vehicle is an important business tool and whilst the actual running costs are a major consideration in the decision over the vehicle to use, the associated taxation of those costs can vary dependent on the vehicle being used.
The Chancellor's surprise fuel duty reduction in the March Budget looks good news when viewed alongside the cancellation of the fuel duty escalator. However, high oil prices and increase in VAT in January, there is plenty to consider when it comes to the cost of business transportation.
The majority of commercial vehicles benefit from the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) which provides 100% first-year relief on up to £100,000 spent on plant and machinery (although this limit is being reduced to £25,000 with effect from April 2012. Cars however, do not qualify but, along with other purchases over the AIA threshold benefit from the Write Down Allowance (WDA), currently at 20% (but capped at 10% for cars which emit over 160 grams of CO2 per kilometre).
Vehicles used exclusively for business do not impose a personal tax on the user. If the vehicle is used privately, the employer must pay VAT on the purchase price and the employee pays tax for the ability to use the vehicle privately. VAT on repairs and maintenance can be reclaimed but employers must pay Class 1A National Insurance on motor vehicle and fuel benefits provided to employees.
There are tax concessions on maintenance and running costs, interest on bank loans used to buy a vehicle and rental payments for leased vehicles, while 15% is taxed for cars which emit over 160g/km of CO2. Purchasing low-emission cars (under 110g/km) offers a 100% write-off against tax.
Vehicle excise duty is also a consideration – there is a different rate for the first year after purchase (higher for cars over 130g/km, zero under this), aligning with standard rates from the second year on.
As you can see there are a considerable number of factors to consider but we are able to guide you through this maze to make the most efficient decision on the use of motor vehicles and can also highlight a number of less heavily taxed vehicles and whilst these vehicles may not be to everyone's taste there is a surprising range of vehicles which do benefit from lower personal and corporate taxation.