JULY 2002


K P Bonney & Co.  Chartered Accountants    50 Cleasby Road    Menston   Ilkley    West Yorkshire    LS29 6JA

Tel: 01943 870933             Fax: 01943 870925      






On 6 April this year the new taxation regulations relating to company cars came into force,  such regulations having been announced some time ago by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.  The new regulations represent a fundamental change in the way in which employees are assessed on the benefit of having a company car and yet it is surprising how little is known about these regulations.


Many company car drivers will be paying more tax from 6 April 2002 than they were paying before that date.  The prime losers will be those who drive large cars and do high business mileage.  However, some drivers may be able to reduce their tax bills by taking certain action.  The purpose of this article is to summarise the new rules, compare these with the old rules and suggest ways in which tax can be reduced.


The old rules


Under the old rules an employee who was provided with a company car was taxed according to the list price of the car.  The more expensive the car, the more tax was payable.  However, the amount of tax paid was reduced in two ways.  The greater the business mileage the less tax was payable.  If the car was more than four years old less tax was payable.


The new rules


The new rules are based on the value of the car and its carbon dioxide emissions (CO2).  The greater the emissions the more tax is payable.  No account is now taken of the business mileage driven or the age of the car.


The reasoning behind the new rules is to encourage companies to use cars which are environmentally friendly and more fuel efficient.

Set out below are the new emission rates for the next three tax years.  Tax is charged on a percentage of the price of the car and this percentage will vary according to the level of the car’s CO2 emissions measured in grams per kilometre (g/km).



          CO2 emissions in g/km          % of car’s price

     2002/03    2003/04   2004/05                    

          165             155             145                       15

          170             160             150                       16

          175             165             155                       17

          180             170             160                       18

          185             175             165                       19

          190             180             170                       20

          195             185             175                       21

          200             190             180                       22

          205             195             185                       23

          210             200             190                       24

          215             205             195                       25

          220             210             200                       26

          225             215             205                       27

          230             220             210                       28

          235             225             215                       29

          240             230             220                       30

          245             235             225                       31

          250             240             230                       32

          255             245             235                       33

          260             250             240                       34

          265             255             245                       35     (max)

For cars not having a CO2 figure corresponding exactly to one above, round down to the nearest 5g/km.

Example 1

The following example illustrates the difference in tax  payable between 2001/02 and 2002/03.

An employee was provided with a new company car on 6 April 2001.  The list price of the car was £45,000.  The CO2 emissions of the car are 274g/km.  The business mileage driven is 25,000 miles each year.


The tax is based on 35% of the list price of the car.  However, because the business mileage is more than 18,000 miles in the year, this percentage is reduced to 15%.  Therefore the taxable benefit in kind is
£45,000 x 15% = £6,750.


The tax is based on the list price of the car and its CO2 emissions.  In this example the g/km is greater than 265 and so the percentage will be the maximum of 35%.  There is no reduction for the number of business miles driven so the taxable benefit in kind is £45,000 x 35% = £15,750.

From the above it will be seen that the taxable benefit has increased by £9,000!

The taxable benefit will remain the same for 2003/04 and 2004/05.

Example 2

Now take the situation of an employee who does few business miles and whose car is cheaper and has lower CO2 emissions.

This employee was provided with a new company car on 6 April 2001.  The list price was £25,000 and CO2 emissions 200g/km.  He drives only 1,500 business miles a year.


As the employee drives less than 2,500 business miles a year there is no reduction in the percentage of list price, which is 35%.  The taxable benefit is therefore £25,000 x 35% = £8,750


From the chart above it will be seen that the percentage of the car’s price is 22% as the g/km are 200.  The taxable benefit is therefore £25,000 x 22% = £5,500.

This represents a reduction in taxable benefit of £3,250.

The taxable benefit will be £6,000 in 2003/04 and £6,500 in 2004/05.

The above examples illustrate the material effect the new tax regime will have on the employee.

Diesel cars

You might imagine that the taxable benefit on a diesel car would be lower than on a petrol driven car, but you would be wrong.  Whilst diesel cars have lower CO2 emissions than petrol driven cars, they do emit air pollutants in greater quantities and for this reason the percentages shown in the above table are each increased by 3%.  As with petrol driven cars the top percentage is 35%.

There are a number of exceptions to the general rules outlined above, which include imported cars and those cars which were first registered before 1 January 1998.

Reducing the taxable benefit in kind

How then can you reduce the taxable benefit in kind?  There are a number of ways, some of which are obvious:

1                Get a company car with a lower list price.

2                Get a company car with lower CO2 emissions.

3                Consider having your own car instead of a company car and charging the company for the business miles driven.  There are various ways in which this can be achieved; for example you could buy the car from the company or the company could give the car to you.

My advice: From the examples given in this article you can see just what a difference the new rules can make to an employee’s taxable benefit in kind.  Please consult me if you require advice about having your own car instead of a company car.

Please note this article does not cover the supply of fuel for private journeys, although this subject should also be considered when making a decision about your company car.



Do you have one or more shareholdings which are so small in size and value that they are actually more trouble than they are worth?  If your answer is ‘yes’, consider giving the shares to charity under the Gift Aid scheme.  The advantages to you are

·                Less paperwork.

·                The gift is treated neither as a gain nor a loss for capital gains tax purposes.

·                The value of the shares at the date of the gift can be deducted from your income for income tax purposes.

·                No stockbroker’s charges.

My advice:  To arrange a gift of shares to charity either ring me and ask for a donation coupon or, if you have access to the internet, print off the coupon from




 ‘At the end of the day’ (phrase to use when none other comes to mind).

‘Great vision’ (does not always make the obvious five yard pass).

‘A real work-horse with a great engine’ (runs around like a madman for 90 minutes but never achieves anything)

 ‘He’s more of a striker’ (a prima donna who is too lazy to help out in defence)

‘Good for the dressing room’ (a pain in the backside)

‘Has picked up a virus’ (dropped)

‘He’s still learning’ (at the moment he’s rubbish but there is hope)

‘A true veteran’ (we have the oxygen cylinders standing by)

‘Frank discussion’ (wholesale argument)

‘Very frank discussion’ (punch up)


Copyright  Ó  K P Bonney & Co 2002.  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be produced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without prior written permission of the publishers.  Disclaimer  The publishers have taken all due care in the preparation of this publication. No responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of any material in this publication can be accepted by the authors  or the publishers.

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