And the figure it has quoted that suggests ECOS cars are considerably less green – emitting an average 20g/km of CO2 more than company cars – has also been called into question.
Nick Sutton, chairman of ECOS provider Provecta Car Plan said: ‘The HMRC’s decision to conduct the latest phase of its review so early in January leaves very little time for employers to respond.
‘Many companies only have a skeleton staff over the Christmas period and some close altogether, so the deadline of January 19 does not give enough time for a thorough analysis of the very complex issues involved. This process most certainly should not be rushed through in a few short weeks.
‘The consultation document posted on the HMRC website compounds the problem further, by making it difficult for companies to format and submit their responses.’
Elizabeth Ward, policy advisor at HMRC, said the reason for the short timescale was to give ministers an opportunity to make an announcement in the next budget.
She added: ‘While we would have liked more time, we have already been consulting on this since last summer and have had a fantastic response from interested parties.
‘If we did not move quickly on this next stage, it is highly likely there would not be enough time before the budget to present recommendations, and we would have to wait another year to budget 2008 before making any announcement.’
Provecta has also queried the high emissions of ECOS cars, claiming its own vehicles average 167.1g/km of CO2 compared to 168.5 for company cars. Sutton wants to know where HMRC got its figures from.
Ward said a large number of businesses had provided figures on ECOS emissions, and the average was a result of those submissions.