BlogTuesday 12th February 2019
Why dentists with a company shouldn’t buy an electric car until April 2020
The last few years have seen dramatic changes in the development of cars. Diesel cars are now known to be very polluting. There’s been a lot of negative press coverage and tax rates are increasing for diesel company cars. In fact, sales of diesel cars will be banned in the UK from 2040.
On the other hand, companies such as Tesla and Nissan are developing electric cars that are aiming for the mainstream car market. These cars are becoming more affordable, with greater mileage ranges as battery technology improves.
In April 2020 tax rates for electric company cars will drop dramatically. So, if you’re thinking of getting one, buying it through your limited company can save you tax.
There are 2 separate tax issues with a company car:
Firstly, the initial costs of the car – how much can you offset against your corporation tax bill?
Secondly, you’ll have to pay extra tax each year because you’re getting a “free benefit” from the company (using the company’s car) instead of your own.
Tax relief when you buy the car
For fossil fuelled cars currently on sale in the UK, a business can only claim up to 18% of the cost of the car against tax each year.
However, the company can claim for full cost of an electric car against tax in the year you buy it.
The company buys a Nissan Leaf costing £30,000. You reduce your company’s next tax bill by an impressive £5,100, so the effective net cost of car is £24,900.
Tax charge each year for personal use of a company car
As a director of your company, most of the time you use your company car, it will be for private journeys. This includes commuting to and from your work (see our article here). HMRC will expect you to pay extra tax and national insurance, because you’re getting a “free benefit” from the company for your private (non-business) use of the car.
From April 2020 the Taxman will slash the electric car benefit rate from 16% to just 2%. Here’s an example for what your new tax bill would be
You buy a new electric car and its list price is £30,000
The amount of your benefit is £600 (£30,000 x 2%)
You pay £120 tax as basic rate tax payer.
The company pays £83 national insurance
Total annual cost: £203
You’ll need to pay this £203 every year that you have the car. But you have saved £5,100 in corporation tax, so the overall savings are still great.
The car be used as a second car for your partner and children and the benefit rate stays the same for you.
Also, if you want to install a charging point at your home and/or place of work, the company can pay and save even more corporation tax. There are grants available help toward the cost of installations.
Some hybrids will also have a rate of 2%, but only if they have a high electric motoring range - that is, they can travel a longer distance using only the electric battery. If the motoring range is lower, the tax increases.
However, the company can still claim the full cost of the buying a hybrid car against tax in the year it buys it, as long as the CO2 emissions are below 75g/km.
You can claim for full cost against tax in year you buy it, reduced for private use percentage. Unfortunately, the figures don’t stack up for self-employed dentists due to the small amount of business use on cars.
Unless you are a self-employed locum dentist driving high mileages every year, it wouldn’t be beneficial to purchase an electric car for tax reasons alone.