tax question

Company Car – Remuneration Package

Tax Question

My client is interested in providing a company car to a key member of staff. He wishes to make the offer by asking for a “salary sacrifice” The Vehicle will be an electric car with no emissions. However, I have heard that such arrangements now fall foul of recent changes in the legislation. Can you expand on this for me please?

Tax Answer

Before April 2017 a common approach to remuneration packages was to provide benefits by means of permanently giving up the right to a proportion of the salary in return for a benefit. The advantage was that a benefit, possibly of a lower taxable value could be provided. There was normally a saving for the individual. The result would normally be a reduction in the tax liability and a saving of Class 1 national insurance for the employee.

As from 6th April 2017, the legislation changed and partially attacked the savings available. Subject to certain exclusions, the measure of the benefit would become the salary foregone rather than the taxable value of the benefit. In the case of company cars the taxable value is derived from the manufacturer’s list price of the vehicle by applying a percentage based on the vehicle’s CO2 emissions. These are now known as Optional Remuneration Arrangements.

What is lost here is the tax saving although Class 1 NIC is still saved (The employer being liable to Class 1A on the value of the benefit as adjusted for the arrangement)

Importantly here, is the exception of low emission cars from the effect of the legislation. This exception will apply to all cars with emissions of 75 grams of CO2 per kilometre or less.

In the case of an electric vehicle, there will be no emissions so the Optional Remuneration Arrangements rules will not apply.

This will be of particular interest as there are high value electric cars now available on the market.

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