Nigel Underdown, director of marketing for Godfrey Davis Contract Hire, is warning that fleet managers must act now to avoid being caught in a flood of complaints from drivers.
Under the new regime, being introduced from April 2002, drivers will pay tax based on a percentage of their company car's list price, according to its level of carbon dioxide emissions, rather than the current mileage-based system.
Many vehicles already on fleets will be caught under the new tax regime, but the Lex Vehicle Leasing 2000 Report on Company Motoring has revealed more than a third of Britain's company car drivers are unaware of the changes. Any fleet managers yet to warn their drivers of the implications of the new tax should react with a damage limitation plan immediately, said Underdown.
Action is particularly urgent for user-chooser fleets, where company car drivers need to be educated to ensure those about to change vehicles pick the right car, while others are aware of their tax position.
Speaking at the recent Employee Benefits Exhibition and Conference 2000 in London, Underdown said: 'Managers responsible for fleet activities should be taking action now to minimise the impact on drivers. 2002 is not a long way away and a new car ordered now will spend more of its life under the new tax than the current one: 'Those responsible for formulating fleet policy cannot afford to be left sitting on this particular bench, waiting for the tide to come in.'
Underdown used two Rover 75s, both costing about £20,000, to drive home his point. A V6 auto petrol, producing 274g/km of CO2 attracts a 35% scale charge, while the 75 2.0CDT manual , producing 154g/km of CO2 - even with a 3% diesel penalty, attracts just an 18% charge, saving the diesel driver £1,356 in tax each year.'
Recent research has shown that company car drivers are still widely unaware of the looming introduction of CO2-based company car tax, despite warnings it could cost them dearly if they drive the 'wrong' type of car.
- Need to advise your drivers on the tax they will be paying on their next company car? Check out our new tax calculator in the navigation bar at the left hand side of the home page.