Buying an electric vehicle through your Limited Company

The road to zero emissions has begun, with the UK to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030. Hybrid cars will have a further five years, with the sale of plug-ins and full hybrids ending in 2035.

New company car tax rates came into effect from April 2020 and resulted in the rate of company car tax available on fully Electric Vehicles (EVs) reducing from 16% to 0%. This increased to 1% in the 2020-2021 tax year, and is currently 2%. This means that businesses can offer EVs to employees at a lower cost than petrol or diesel equivalents, resulting in major financial benefits to the employee and the company whilst also helping businesses to reduce their impact on the environment.

As a result of these tax incentives, and a greater choice of models available, it is expected that EVs will be an increasingly common sight on UK roads with the largest leasing companies already reporting double, and in some cases triple-digit growth in orders for EVs.

The demand for EVs has been tempered by a number of factors including price, range anxiety, and consumer fears over a lack of charging infrastructure. However, the positive environmental impact of EVs makes their widespread adoption a necessary step towards achieving the UK’s climate change goals.

In addition to pledging to reduce emissions as part of the Paris Agreement, the UK has committed to a “net zero” target for greenhouse gasses by 2050. To achieve this, the Government needs to tackle emissions from across the transport industry, which is now the highest emitting sector in the UK. Targeting corporate fleets has the potential to displace the amount of fossil-driven miles, making “net-zero” targets more achievable.

1. Capital Allowances

If you purchase a brand new fully electric car through your limited company, you can claim a First Year Allowance of 100% against your corporation tax bill.

This capital allowance can be claimed if the vehicle is purchased outright by the company, or via a hire purchase agreement but not if the vehicle is leased under an agreement whereby the company doesn’t actually own the vehicle.

Something to consider is that when the vehicle is sold, the company will pay corporation tax on any sale proceeds.

Traditionally, cars do not qualify for 100% allowances, and instead qualify for a writing down allowance each year. This is therefore a tax advantage.

Commercial vehicles already qualify for 100% allowances under the Annual Investment Allowance.

In March 2021, the Government announced a new 130% super-deduction for qualifying plant and machinery. Electric cars do not qualify for this super deduction, however, electric vehicle charging points do qualify. The super-deduction is available until 31 March 2023.

2. Corporation Tax and Lease payments

If the vehicle is leased by the Company, the monthly rentals will be included in the profit and loss account as an expense, which reduces the company’s profit and corporation tax for the year.

3. Corporation Tax and Hire Purchase 

If the vehicle is obtained under a Hire Purchase (HP) agreement, not only will the company benefit from the 100% first year allowance, but will also make corporation tax savings on the interest on the monthly payments.

4. VAT

When a company obtains an electric vehicle via outright purchase or HP, in order to reclaim any VAT on the purchase price of the car, it has to be driven for business use only. Commuting from home to a workplace is not business use.

If the car is leased, the company can reclaim 50% of the VAT from the lease payments.

5. Benefit-in-kind

As with any company car, if there is personal usage then a benefit-in-kind will arise. The BIK rate for a fully electric car is 2% of the vehicles list price. This is a significant saving on the BIK for petrol and diesel cars which can be up to 37% depending on their emissions.

Tax and national insurance on benefits-in-kind are payable by the company and/or the employee.

  • The company will pay: List price of the car x 2% (current BIK rate for electric cars) x 13.8% (Employers national insurance rate).
  • The employee will pay: List price of the car x 2% (current BIK rate for electric cars) x employee’s income tax rate.

The installation of a charging point at an employee’s home address associated with the provision of a company car is not considered a benefit-in-kind.

6. Electricity expense

Electricity provided for company car drivers does not count as a benefit in kind if the journey is business use. Drivers can either pay up front for home and public charging and reclaim the costs, or the employer can pay for everything and the driver can log private mileage (including commuting) and the costs can be deducted from their salary.

The electricity expense is fully tax deductible for the company.

7. Grants available

As well as the above tax benefits of purchasing an electric car through your limited company, there are also grants available.

Plug-In Car Grant – this is available on cars costing no more than £32,000 (including VAT and any delivery fees) and the maximum grant available from the Government is £1,500. You do not need to apply for the grant, it should be applied automatically as a discount from the car dealership on the purchase price of the vehicle.

Workplace charging scheme grant – there is also a grant available for installing charging points at a business address and can be applied for online here.

This article was written by John Warren, a Partner in the Business team. If your company is considering acquiring an electric vehicle and would like further advice on the tax benefits available to you, please contact John using the form below.  

We always recommend that you seek advice from a suitably qualified adviser before taking any action. The information in this article only serves as a guide and no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of this material can be accepted by the authors or the firm.

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