Limited company cars provided to directors and tax issues


Simon Misiewicz

22nd June 2020

Article relevant to the tax year 2020/21

Should I have a company car?

You may be interested in our main article “buy to let tax for UK landlords”. This article discusses all the different types of tax that you need to be aware of as a UK landlord. You may also be interested in reasons why people should and should not use a limited company to buy a property.

There are many ways in which you can pull tax free money out of a limited company.

Someone that is employed may be asked whether or not they want a company car or an additional amount of salary.

This is not the purpose of this article. We are going to focus our efforts on whether or not limited company directors should purchase a car through their own limited company or in their own personal name

Tax considerations of having a company car

You need to think about the tax issues surrounding the purchase of a car through a limited company.  There are a number of tax dis-benefits:

– Income tax for the employee for the car

– Income tax for the employee for the fuel paid for by the limited company

– National insurance charge by the limited company for providing you the director/employee the company car

There are a number of tax benefits that we also need to consider when deciding whether or not to buy a car within your own limited company

– Capital Allowances claims to reduce corporation tax

Actually, there was just one tax benefit after all..


Example of the benefits in kind charge for having the use of a company car

Sarah’s own limited company provides her with a Diesel BMW 218i M Sport Coupe. The car has a price of £30,000 and a Co2 emissions value of 170g/km. From a cash flow perspective, it is worth working out what the difference is between buying the car outright and paying a money lease payment.

She knows she will do 8,000 business miles per year. She may spend a further £4,000 per annum on the road tax and fuel

From the HMRCs car benefit online calculator we can see that:

Basic rate tax paye High rate tax payer
Car benefit in kind charge for having the use of a car £11,100 £11,100
Car benefit in kind charge for the company to pay for private mileage £8,917 £8,917
£20,017 £20,017
Tax on the employee of having the car £2,220 £4,440
Tax on the employee for the company paying for all fuel £1,783 £3,566
Total tax charge £4,003 £8,006
Employer national insurance charge of providing the above (based on the car benefit and fuel benefit) X 13.8% £2,762 £2,762
Total tax paid by Sarah (given she owns the company) £6,765 £10,768
Less: corporation tax  saving on the actual fuel and road tax costs £4,000 (£760) (£760)
Less corporation tax saving of the employers 13.8% NIC charge (£525) (£525)
Net ongoing tax for having the car £5,481 £9,484

Sarah, as a limited company owner, will pay a total tax liability of £5,462 as a basic rate taxpayer and £9,365 as a high rate taxpayer by having a company car.

Putting this into perspective the tax paid as a high rate taxpayer is 32% (£9,484 divided by £30,000). This is a lot of tax to pay.

In addition to this, she will be required to complete a benefit in kind P11D form to notify HMRC that her limited company has provided her with a company car. A P11D form needs to be submitted to HMRC no later than 22nd July each year.


Is it better to charge the company a mileage rate rather than to have a company car?

Let us continue with the example of Sarah that users the Diesel BMW 218i M Sport Coupe to do 8,000 business miles.

Let us not forget that she could lease the same car for circa £300 but rates will vary from company to company and car to car. Select Car leasing may be able to provide a discount on your desired car.

The cost of leasing the car per annum would be £3,600. She may spend a further £4,000 per annum on the road tax and fuel. This is a total cost of £7,600. If Sarah could get tax free money out of the company amounting to £3,600 (8,000 miles at the HMRC approved rate of 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles and then 25p thereafter).

The net cost of having the car in her own name would be ass follows


£3,600 for the car lease in her own name

£4,000 cost of mileage and road tax


(£3,600) mileage costs she charges the limited company



Sarah’s own limited company would also benefit from a 19% corporation tax saving against Sarah’s mileage claim of £3,600 (£8,000 X 19%)

This is significantly cheaper that the total tax of having the car in the company of £9,484. Let us not forget that the company still needs to pay for the car.


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No benefit in kind charges for having an electric company car

Usually, a benefit in kind charge is applied on company cars and becomes a non-starter (forgive the pun). However, there are no benefits in kind charges for limited companies that provide an electric car for their directors or employees. If you purchased a company car of say £20,000 then there would be a taxable benefit as follows for the employee

  • Tax benefit of having the use of a company car based on Co2 emissions
  • Tax benefit for the fuel costs provided by the limited company

In addition to the above there is another tax cost for the limited company. The employer (limited company) would have a tax charge in the form of 13.8% national insurance charge for the above car benefits.

Capital allowances to reduce corporation tax by having a limited company car

There are a number of tax benefits of owning an electric car, not just the benefits on the environment. Electric cars owned within a limited company get 100% first year allowance on the price of the car. More importantly, if your business provides a car for an employee or director you can claim capital allowances on the full cost.

Your limited company would be able to reduce its corporation tax liability by £7,600 If you were to purchase an electric car for £40,000. That is because the full cost of the car is allowed to reduce the taxable profits of the company.

Electric V Petrol V Diesel cars and tax benefits

Looking at the above it makes more sense for people that run either petrol or diesel cars to own them in their own personal names. They would then claim a mileage rate against their own limited company. The tax charges for having your own limited company to provide a car could cost you more in tax than the car itself.

However, there are no employee tax benefit in kind charges for having an electric car provided to you by your own limited company. There are no employer’s national insurance contributions charges for the provision of an electric company car for an employee. To boot (pardon the pun) the limited company would benefit from a first-year allowance capital allowances claim.

Having a £100,000 electric car in a company would provide a £19,000 corporation tax saving with no employer or employee tax benefit charges.

Purchasing a van through a limited company

Vans are classified as plant and machinery for tax purposes. As such they qualify for 100% allowances under the Annual Investment Allowance regime. This means you get a deduction for 100% of the cost to reduce your company’s taxable profits.

Where there is an “insignificant” level of private use HMRC acknowledge that there is no benefit arising and these amounts do not apply.

Insignificant private use would be classed as, for example, calling at the dentist on the way home from an assignment. Using a van to do the weekly shopping would not qualify as insignificant private use. If there is an insignificant level of private use clearly there are substantial tax benefits in utilising a company van compared to a vehicle with high CO2 emissions.

Just because a vehicle “looks” like a “light commercial vehicle/van” does not mean HMRC treat it as such for tax purposes.  You can see here a list of vehicles that HMRC have confirmed will fall under van/LCV tax treatment rather than a car.  This list is not exhaustive and if you are for example looking at a double row of seat “pickup” then there are additional criteria to consider and review to determine how HMRC will view it… (including the fact it cannot weigh more than 3.5tonnes, must be able to carry a payload of at least 1 tonne etc etc)

Benefit in kind charges of having a van

The use of a van would still be part of your P11D and would need to be submitted to HMRC by 6th July each year as part of your payroll process. Any employer’s NIC payments need to be made by 22nd July

We can do create and submit a P11D for £149.95 but will need the below information

  • Employer PAYE reference
  • Your employee ID
  • Description (make, model, CO2 emission, diesel or petrol)
  • Dates the vehicle was made available from
  • Dates the fuel was fully paid for by the company

The process will involve:

Forms will be sent to:

P11D Support Team
HM Revenue and Customs
Department 1250
NE98 1ZZ

If you want to know more then please read our “buy to let tax tips for UK landlords” article

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