Capital Allowances on Cars

If a business provides a company car, (not a van as this is treated through the general pool) the rules are dependent on when the car was purchased. On cars bought before April 2009, the allowances were restricted to the first £12,000 over 4 years, so £3,000 a year and adjusted for personal use.

After that date, the Capital Allowance was restricted to the CO2 omissions as stated on the V5 registration document of the car.

The table below only applies to cars with 100 per cent business use.

CO2 emissions Capital allowances treatment of expenditure
Over 160 grams per kilometre (g/km) Goes into the special rate pool and qualifies for writing-down allowances at the rate for the special rate pool, currently 8 per cent per annum.
160g/km or less but more than 110g/km Goes into the main pool and qualifies for writing-down allowances at the rate for the main pool, currently 18 per cent.
110g/km or less (but note that the first-year allowance for cars in this category is due to expire in 2013) You can claim up to 100 per cent allowance in the accounting period when they were bought, the balance (which may be nil) goes into the main pool in the next year. For detailed guidance, see the guide First-year allowances: the basics

The amount a business can claim for providing a company cars has always been complicated and many hours have been spent figuring out if it’s really worthwhile for an employee to have one. There are benefits and costs for both.  Sometimes it may be advantageous for all concerned to pay a mileage allowance which shortcuts the debates.

HMRC has approved allowances for using an employee’s vehicle for business purposes. It should be noted that the employee should confirm they are appropriately insured otherwise they could be in breach of their insurance.

Employee vehicles: mileage payments for business travel

Type of vehicle Rate per business mile 2012-13
Car For tax purposes: 45p for the first 10,000 business miles in a tax year, then 25p for each subsequent mile

For NICs purposes: 45p for all business miles

Motorcycle 24p for both tax and NICs purposes and for all business miles
Cycle 20p for both tax and NICs purposes and for all business miles

If an employee is given a company vehicle they must pay benefit in kind on the use. This includes PAYE usually in the form of reducing the tax free allowance and Class 1 NIC. The rules are constantly changing, but suffice to say they are getting more restrictive.

Two final notes:

Pooled vehicles are cars that are used by any member of staff and stay at the company’s premises overnight; and where any personal mileage is incidental. Under these circumstances no employee pays any benefit in kind.

The benefit in kind for vans is £3,000 to the employee.