Fleet News

Prepare for company car tax statement in the 1998 Budget - Fleet News Roadshow report

FLEETS should prepare themselves for announcements of changes to company car tax in next March's Budget, according to Alison Chapman, tax partner at Deloitte & Touche. She said next spring would be the logical time for any policy changes to be unveiled, given the lead times for any new legislation to come into effect, and the Government's explicit desire to see an integrated transport strategy play an important role in helping it to meet its environmental commitments.

If the Chancellor delayed until 1999 any benefit in kind tax changes for company cars, the new tax regime would not come into effect until the spring of 2000. This is unlikely considering the high speed with which this Government is prepared to move, and clues to its future intentions were included in November's so-called Green Budget.

In evidence, Chapman cited two cuttings from Inland Revenue press releases released a fortnight ago: 'The transport sector is the fastest growing source of carbon dioxide emissions', and 'The Chancellor will return to transport issues in the spring Budget'. She also cautioned companies looking at circumventing new legislation through tax avoidance schemes.

'The Government has targeted legislation at specific schemes, and it is now talking about general anti-avoidance legislation,' said Chapman. This would try to enforce the spirit of tax legislation, overriding the current case-based legal framework, which will create considerable uncertainty in financial and accounting circles.

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