Financial savings of thousands of pounds per car per year are available to fleets prepared to move drivers from company cars to funding solutions based on cash allowances, according to a leading consultant.
The annual ratcheting up of benefit in kind tax has dramatically improved the financial efficiency of personal contract hire (PCH) and employee car ownership (ECO) schemes, said Jeff Whitcombe, chartered accountant, BCF Wessex, who will be presenting at Fleet Live.
He added that the majority of BCF’s current work is advising fleet clients that are looking to move from a standard lease or outright purchase arrangement to a PCH or ECO scheme.
“The Revenue has made company cars expensive and this is a natural reaction, using legislation that is already there,” said Whitcombe.
While emphasising that each fleet and driver has unique circumstances, he said that as a rule of thumb a company car still makes financial sense for a basic rate tax payer, while for a higher rate tax payer a cash allowance is likely to be the better option (although choosing an ultra-low emission vehicle reverses this situation).
The BIK savings then help fund a PCH.
“And if you use AMAP the ECO savings are eye-watering,” said Whitcombe.
He cited recent work with a client that could save the fleet £1,500 per year when providing a BMW 1 Series to a basic rate tax payer, and save £3,500 per year on a BMW 3 Series for a higher rate tax payer.
The figures are based on employers keeping the driver in a financially neutral position – in reality, many employers will share some of the savings to compensate drivers for taking the risk.
In addition, a small share of the savings would have to cover the administration cost of a personal motoring scheme, and perhaps higher interest costs, but the overall figures still weigh heavily against the traditional company car.
“It’s all predicated on employees no longer paying company car tax, and there are massive savings from that,” said Whitcombe.
“We have had several years of increasing company car tax, and that has gone up by two or three percentage points again this year , and will go up by three points next year.
"Then you start looking at these cars on their NEDC correlated numbers, and that’s raised the tax by three percentage points as well.”
Jeff Whitcombe will be speaking in the Discover Fleet theatre at Fleet Live on both October 9-10.