Tax free company car?

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If your company provides you with a company car there is usually a VAT loss and a hefty personal tax bill. This is regardless of whether the car is bought or leased by the company. An exception is electric cars after 6 April 2020.

There have been many attempts (published and witnessed by us) to show that a car is not available for personal use. This would prevent the VAT loss and personal tax bill even if the car is very expensive and/or very polluting. Usually these attempts fail as HMRC only have to show the car is “available” for private use, which is very difficult to avoid in most normal home life situations.

However in a recent VAT case, Mr Graham did succeed in showing that three company cars used by him and his family for business use were not available for private use. Crucially each person had separately a private car of similar quality. Also the company car’s keys were kept in a safe controlled by Mr Graham, and the other family members had contracts that barred them from using the cars privately. (HMRC may appeal this decision).