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Government needs to reconsider company car tax

I KNOW I’ve banged on about this before. But benefit in kind company car tax is in a mess. It’s becoming too punitive and forcing company car drivers to reconsider their business motoring habits.

Why wouldn’t you?

The number of company car drivers is declining according to HMRC benefit-in-kind figures. In 2008-09 there were over 1.10m company car drivers; in 2016-17 this had dropped to 940,000. Of course, the same has not been true of the tax take.

Harvey Perkins, Co-Founder of tax consultancy firm HRUX commented: “For many years the government understood that company cars could be a force for good; by focusing tax rules on CO2 emissions it encouraged millions of company car drivers to choose quality, safe, low emission cars, which eventually filtered into the used car market.

VW e-Golf charging

VW e-Golf charging up from Pod Point home charger. Quietness of the EV is brilliant

“But, dramatic recent tax rises, combined with the hugely damaging war on diesel, are encouraging company car drivers to opt out. This means fleets are in danger of losing control over the cars employees drive, and other important Corporate Social Responsibility issues such as the use of business insurance and the checking of driving licences.”

Unsurprisingly – and we’ve seen this before when the value of company cars has become questionable – there are schemes looking to offer alternatives. Such as TMC’s new CariQ  Employee Car Ownership scheme which offers to save costs while maintaining the value of the benefit for the employee.

While this might be useful for larger fleets, for the SME fleet market business motoring needs to focus on ultra low emission vehicles to deliver a real employee benefit.

Benefit in Kind for electric vehicles, for example, is due to fall to 2% in April 2020 which will help with this. However before then it is due to rise to 16% in April 2019. It really doesn’t really help with decision making when car leases are usually three years.

BIK petitionTo get more people into electric cars – and I’m currently trying this e-Golf, which is quite brilliant by the way (I still haven’t listened to the radio because I’m enjoying the near silence of the drive) – there is a petition to the Government (left) to bring forward the lower BIK introduction from 2020-21, to 2019-20 in order to incentivise zero or ultra low emission vehicles.

Along with industry colleagues, I have signed this. It would be good if more of you did so. The petition is Bring forward the implementation of 2% BIK for electric vehicles to April 2019. Worth a few minutes of your time I reckon.

Van size choiceSmall fleets are thinking big with their vans

I looked at some interesting research from Arval suggesting that larger fleets were looking at downsizing their vans. At least that was the general trend.

On the other hand, small firms were doing the opposite. But why?

Data from the FSB’s State of the Trade survey suggests real growth in the sector. And the reason why smaller firms are thinking big is because it helps them become more flexible in the variety of jobs they can undertake. It’s a good read. Have a look here.

City of London is introducing emissions based parkingEmissions based parking is latest step to change your business motoring

While cities such as Leeds and Derby continue to debate what form their Clean Air Zones will take, we are increasingly seeing micro management of emission areas.

Already the London boroughs of Hackney and Islington have introduced clear air during peak commuter periods. Now the City of London has introduced emissions based car parking charges within the Square Mile, starting August 20, 2018.

The new parking charges will use a ground-breaking parking solution, RingGo’s Emissions Based Parking product. This targets higher polluting transport with increased charges; and lower tariffs for drivers of low emission vehicles.

The City of London Corporation says it wants to incentivise motorists to make more environmentally friendly choices. And to improve air quality.

RingGo’s Emissions Based Parking can automatically assess the type of vehicle being parked and charge tariffs based on the level of pollution emitted by the vehicle.

The following tariff bands will operate in the City of London weekdays from 8am to 7pm:

Type of vehicle

Cost per 15 mins

Cost per hour

Low emission (e.g. electric, hybrid)

£1

£4.00

Petrol vehicles registered from 2005 onwards

£1.30

£5.20

Diesel vehicles registered from 2015 onwards

£1.30

£5.20

Other

£1.70

£6.80

 

SEAT EASY MoveSEAT makes customer choice easier

SEAT is deciding to de-clutter. The Spanish brand is reducing the volume of choice for its customers in a fascinating move called EASY Move.

The idea is to make choice easier by just offering a trim level, engine and colour (and the metallic paint is free by the way).

Read more on this initiative on our Motor Trade News website.

Car and Van Leasing DirectoryNew Car and Van Leasing Directory launched

If you are looking for a supplier for your next business car or van, then check out our new Car and Van Leasing Directory.

This has a range of great leasing providers – all members of the Leasing Broker Federation – who can supply you with what you need.

The directory allows you to choose nationwide or find a local supplier, as well as narrow down your focus of search. You can see it here: Car and Van Leasing Directory.

In the meantime, don’t forget we also have a great range of leasing offers from our partners. You can find the car leasing offers here.

Happy searching!