01995 641111

Tax & Finance Options

Tax and Finance Advice for Car Leasing and Contract Hire

To avoid unnecessary costs, when a business user is contemplating the aquisition of company vehicles careful consideration should be given to the different tax treatments for ownership and usership. below are some descriptions of the funding methods, and some food for thought to help you consider the right option for your company car.

 

Ownership:

A company car is treated in the same way as any other capital asset in that offsets against profit are based on an annual writing down allowance. This writing down allowance WAS traditionally 25% of the cost of the car on a anually reducing basis. This allowance however is subject to restrictions depending on the capital cost of the car, which results in different treatments for cars costing over £12,000 than those costing £12,000 or less. The maximum allowance per annum is £3,000 and therefore any car costing over £12,000 will be affected by this restriction. From April 2009 this sytstem is going to change to a system based on the vehicles C02 output. Vehicles that emit lower than 160 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometer will attract a 20% allowance, however those emitting over the 160GPKM mark will only attract 10% allowance. Commercial vehicles however are not subject to this capping. 

The new capital allowance system is aimed at rewarding fleets that run cars that produce low C02. The bench mark figure is 160GPKM, but be aware this will reduce over the next few years so we recommend that you seriously consider a C02 closer to 140 gpkm to protect against these reductions. Whilst the system will benefit cars under 160 GPKM it will also penalise those that produce over this amount.

If you buy and dont lease the writing down allowance (WDA) on cars with a C02 over 160 gpkm will now only get a 10% annual WDA and cars below 160 gpkm will now get a 20% WDA. Both of these annual allowances are reduced from the old 25% or £3000.00 per year maximum. The cars below 160 gpkm will sit in the normal asset write down pool where all other equipment and machinery is allocated, but cars attracting only 10% WDA will sit in a "special rate pool"

 When the vehicles are sold the sales proceeds can be deducted from the pool but the balance of any remaining value stays and will be written down year on year, which is calculated at the write down allowance of the specific pool. It is estimated that it will take , on average, 10 years to claim 95% of the available tax allowances of a car emitting below 160gpkm and 25 years for one above. This long calculation has overtaken the balancing effect that was previously used and allowed you to claim the loss on disposal all in one year.

This means that outright purchase fleets will suffer more, and also this does affect the leasing company and we do expect an increase in leasing costs however the way you can claim tax relief on the contract hire rental has also been changed.

 

Usership:

When a car is aquired on a Finance Lease or Contract Hire these are also known as an Operating Lease. You are not making repayments as you are on the ownership plan you are now paying rentals which are tax deductable against end of year profits.

The old non C02 based system was calculated using the vehicles price and cars costing £12,000 or less all rentals including any Balloon Rental are allowable in full. If the leased car has an original cost in excess of £12,000 the rentals allowable are restricted for the full period of the lease.  The more you spent on the car the less of a rebate on the payments you got.

From April 2009 this system changed to a C02 based calculation that will improve the tax efficiency of leasing most vehicles. The new rule is based on the C02 output of the vehicle and does not take into account the total cost of the car. Any car with a C02 output of less than 160Gpkm will attract the 100% allowance rate. Anything above 160Gpkm will only get a 85% allowance. These more expensive vehicles will also suffer from the reduced tax allowances that the leasing company recieves. This will inturn make the rentals of a car over 160 GPKM become a little more expensive, but you will be able to offset more of the monthly rental against your own tax bill. This is vehicle specific none the less so please make contact with UK Carline Limited for specific examples of how these new rules work in practice. 

Cars emitting below 160gpkm can now be claimed at a rate of 100% of the rental paid irrespective of their initial cost,  and cars above 160gpkm receive a 15% reduction (Lease Rental Restriction). Typically cars under £12000.00 benefited from the 100% allowance and a car costing £60,000.00 only received 60% so as the reduction in vehicle C02 output increases more and more "expensive" cars will now attract the 100% tax relief rate. There are many vehicles that now benefit from this tax adjustment including models from Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Lexus. Of you want to check the C02 rate of your car you can view all the models on our website, or alternatively or contact one of our account managers.

 

Matching funding to your requirements

Timing/Taxation/Cash Flow: These three elements of a business's circumstances can have a significant effect on which vehicle finance facility is most suitable at any one time.

Timing: The point at which a vehicle is purchased within the company's financial year has a direct bearing on the amount of tax allowance which can be claimed.

In the case of an ownership type facility Writing Down Allowances are claimable in full, irrespective of the date of purchase, so it doesn't matter whether the purchase is at the beginning or the end of the financial year.

In the case of a usership agreement, only the rentals actually paid within a given financial year are allowable, so the further into the period the aquistion is made then smaller is the allowance available for that period.

Taxation: As businesses can reduce their tax liability using the allowances available from vehicle aquisition, tax efficiency therefore can have a strong influence on the type of facility selected by a customer. It should be borne in mind however that the utilising of allowances is relative to the liability the business faces.

Cash Flow: More businesses fail as a result of inefficient cash flow management than through lack of profits. This is well illustrated by the following:-

Total Income £1. - Total Expenditure 99p - Result: Hapiness!

Total Income £1. - Total Expenditure 101p - Result: Misery!

 

Vehicle Funding Methods

You may well be aware that there are a confusing array of options available when it comes to funding a new vehicle. Choosing the right option for your personal or business circumstances and taking into account all of the factors and parameters can make vehicle funding a bit of a minefield and leave you with a daunting process to face. Don't worry, help is on hand. At UK Carline, our friendly, knowledge staff will make sure that they learn about your circumstances sufficiently to be able to advise appropriately they and will take you through the various options at your pace and using plain English.

Here is a brief summary of each of the most popular vehicle funding methods...

 

Ownership

  Cash / Outright Purchase

  • Full Payment

  • Customer bears depreciation and maintenance costs and risk
  • Customer obtains immediate title

 

Hire Purchase
  • Large Deposit

  • Customer bears depreciation and maintenance costs and risk

  • Title passes to customer when all payments are made

 

Lease Purchase

  • Low Initial Payment

  • Customer bears depreciation and maintenance costs and risk

  • Title passes to customer when all payments are made including any balloon rental

 

Contract Purchase / Personal Contract Purchase (PCP)

 • Low Initial Payment

 • Optional customer depreciation risk, network bears maintenance risk if applicable

 • Customer may exercise option to purchase by paying RV amount or return car to network. 

   Customer may be liable for any excess mileage or condition charges

 • VAT payable on maintenance portion of rental only

 

Usership

  Finance Lease

  • Low Initial Payment

  • Customer bears depreciation and maintenance costs and risk

  • Title can never pass but receives % of sale proceeds when vehicle sold after any balloon

    rental is paid

  • VAT payable full rental

 

Contract Hire

  • Low Initial Payment

  • Network bears depreciation and maintenance costs and risk

  • Title can never pass, vehicle returned to network, customer may be liable for excess

    mileage and conditional charges

  • VAT payable full rental

 

Company Funds - Buying outright - Cash

Outright purchase is the simplest way of acquiring a vehicle, however there are sometimes smarter ways. The vehicle in question will be purchased direct from the supplier using money from the company bank balance.

The vehicle can then be used over any amount of time, however a set period is generally used as a guide to when the vehicle will be changed. This is usually based on a total mileage or the years of use.

The obvious benefits of outright purchase are the user will avoid any interest charges and that they can sell the vehicle at any time, however the downside is the loss of capital that the user now has. To evaluate this cost effectively the user should look at the true cost of the loss of this capital. Usually a finance company will impose a penalty when agreements are brought to a close before the full term has expired. Tax relief is not restricted in the same way leased and contract hire vehicles are, however there is no way to recover the VAT unless the vehicle is used as a pool car, in which case the vehicle may only be used for company business and no private use is allowed. As detailed above the new 2009 tax relief regulations are making out right purchase and conventional finance very inefficient for tax relief.

As in all purchase schemes the costs that should be considered are fuel and insurance. However you will also need to consider depreciation, Road Fund Licence and maintenance.

Buy back agreements can sometimes be arranged on vehicles. The supplier may offer a fixed price to purchase the vehicle from the user based on an agreed mileage and age. This enables the user to project costs for the future and will also avoid any uncertainty when it comes to disposing of the vehicle.

 

Hire Purchase - H.P.

Hire Purchase is a loan which is set for a length of time. Hire Purchase is now more common than a conditional sale agreement, which was widely used in the past. Hire purchase is secured against the value of the vehicle in the same way as conditional sale however the vehicle may not be disposed of until an option to purchase fee is paid. This fee is usually added to the final monthly payment and is around £50.00.

HP will reduce the capital used to purchase the chosen vehicle, thus improving the capital reserves that the user may draw upon and therefore employ to good use within the usual trading activities. If the interest charges incurred whilst acquiring the vehicle on HP appear to be expensive look at what return could be gained from using capital in the company's trading. The return from employing the money within the business could cancel out the interest charges incurred.

As in all purchase schemes the costs that should be considered are fuel and insurance. However you will also need to consider depreciation, Road Fund Licence maintenance and interest charges.

Buy back agreements can sometimes be arranged on vehicles. The supplier may offer a fixed price to purchase the vehicle from the user based on an agreed mileage and age. This enables the user to project costs for the future and will also avoid any uncertainty when it comes to disposing of the vehicle.

Usually a finance company will impose a penalty when agreements are brought to a close before the full term has expired. Tax relief is not restricted in the same way leased and contract hire vehicles are, however there is no way to recover the VAT unless the vehicle is used as a pool car, therefore the vehicle may only be used for company business and no private use is allowed.

 

Lease Purchase - Balloon Payment

Lease purchase follows the same principals as HP however a proportion of the amount financed is deferred until the end of the agreement. This final payment is referred to as a "balloon" and is set at the start of the agreement. This amount is generally set at 80% of the vehicles predicted value at the end of the agreement. Finance companies use 80% in order for the user to have some equity in the vehicle at the time the agreement closes. In the same way HP benefits the user by reducing the capital employed in the acquisition lease purchase offers further benefits to the user by reducing the monthly payments by deferring an amount of capital (balloon) until the end. The downside is that the user will pay more interest over the term than a conventional HP agreement.

As in all purchase schemes the costs that should be considered are fuel and insurance. However you will also need to consider depreciation, Road Fund Licence maintenance and interest charges.

Buy back agreements can sometimes be arranged on vehicles. The supplier may offer a fixed price to purchase the vehicle from the user based on an agreed mileage and age, this will usually be the full balloon amount. This enables the user to project costs for the future and will also avoid any uncertainty when it comes to disposing of the vehicle.

Usually a finance company will impose a penalty when agreements are brought to a close before the full term has expired. Tax relief is not restricted in the same way leased and contract hire vehicles are, however there is no way to recover the VAT unless the vehicle is used as a pool car, therefore the vehicle may only be used for company business and no private use is allowed.

 

Business Contract Purchase/Personal Contract Purchase (Individual) - P.C.P.

A contract purchase is very similar to lease purchase. These agreements are set up with the intention that the eventual ownership of the vehicle will transfer to the user however, there are more cases where the vehicle can just simply be returned once the agreed term has ended. With this addition the user can budget the monthly operating costs of the vehicle, as the finance company will include most additional costs in the monthly payments. The benefit to the business user is that they can avoid the taxation drawbacks imposed on vehicles costing over £12000.00. The benefits to the individual are the same for the fixed costs, however PCP can offer some degree of safety to an individual who may be opting out of a company car.

As in all purchase schemes the costs that should be considered are fuel and insurance. However you will not need to consider depreciation, Road Fund Licence, maintenance (optional) and interest charges. These costs are taken care of by the finance company and are included in the monthly repayments.

Usually a finance company will impose a penalty when agreements are brought to a close before the full term has expired. Tax relief is not restricted for vehicles costing over £12000.00 in the same way leased and contract hire vehicles are however, there is no way to recover the V.A.T. unless the vehicle is used as a pool car, therefore the vehicle may only be used for company business and no private use is allowed.

Usually a finance company will impose a penalty when agreements are brought to a close before the full term has expired. Tax relief is not restricted in the same way leased and contract hire vehicles are, however there is no way to recover the VAT unless the vehicle is used as a pool car, therefore the vehicle may only be used for company business and no private use is allowed.

 

Finance Lease

Finance lease is usually arranged over a fixed number of months whilst the leasing company still retains title to the vehicle. The user to whom the vehicle is leased is in effect being loaned the vehicle in return for a fixed term and number of payments. Included within these payments are the usual costs incurred whilst running a motorcar such as depreciation, interest charges, and maintenance (optional).

At the end of the agreement the user can either return the vehicle to the finance company or sell the car to a third party. You will need to gain permission from the finance company in order to do this and to find out what figure they need in order to discharge the lease. If you decide to sell the vehicle and benefit from any increased value the vehicle may have due to your own prudent management the finance company charge a small percentage of the final sales figure. Take this net amount away from the settlement they require and the balance (Equity) is yours. This type of agreement lends itself very well to business funding for rare or prestige vehicles, which if kept in good order will achieve a good sales value in the years to come. Because the finance company will recover the whole VAT content of the vehicle at the start of the agreement the repayments look less than other types of funding. This is because quotes are always given net of the monthly VAT content, which in all cases will need to be added.

Buy back agreements can sometimes be arranged on vehicles. The supplier may offer a fixed price to purchase the vehicle from the user based on an agreed mileage and age, this will usually be the full settlement amount, which will be disclosed on the document. This enables the user to project costs for the future and will also avoid any uncertainty when it comes to disposing of the vehicle.

Usually a finance company will impose a penalty when agreements are brought to a close before the full term has expired. Tax relief is calculated in the same way as contract hire vehicles are, however the VAT that is paid on top of the monthly payments can be recovered, however if their is some private use of the vehicle the VAT can only be recovered at 50%.

 

Operating Lease - Contract Hire

Contract hire is arranged over a fixed number of months whilst the finance company still retains title to the vehicle. The user to whom the vehicle is hired is doing so for a fixed term and number of payments. Included within these payments are the usual costs incurred whilst running a motorcar such as depreciation, interest charges, and maintenance (optional). Unlike a finance lease where the user can take control of the sale of the car, the user simply hands the vehicle back to the finance company. The running costs will then be fixed for the full term allowing for simple monthly budgeting. Deposits are traditionally low on contract hire: most companies will only ask for three months payments in advance. If vehicles are returned damaged or over the agreed mileage the user can expect to be billed once the finance company has evaluated the damage or calculated a charge for the excess miles covered. Most companies will charge on an excess mile basis, which will be disclosed at the start. The off balance nature of an operating lease means that the future commitment to repay the monthly payments does not show as a business liability on the balance sheet. This can help improve the appearance of the financial situation of the company.

As contract hire vehicles are generally acquired by the finance company the user will benefit from any volume related bonus that can apply. There will also be larger front-end discounts given to the finance companies, as they are likely to buy in bulk.

Usually a finance company will impose a penalty when agreements are brought to a close before the full term has expired. Tax relief is calculated according to the vehicles c02 output the same way finance lease vehicles are, however the VAT that is paid on top of the monthly payments can be recovered in full if the vehicle is registered purely for business use and at 50% if there is some private use.

Partners Banner 1
Feefo logo