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If you have the choice of a Company Car or Company Car Allowance, you should check out how much Company Car Tax (or Benefit In Kind Tax as it is also known) that you would pay if you accept a company vehicle, and then decide whether to go for the Company Car or cash. You could be better off taking the car allowance and leasing a car yourself, even though the allowance is taxable.
The Cash for Car scheme has become increasingly popular with both employers and employees in recent years. Employers save time and money in not having to source, maintain and administer a fleet, although they must always be aware of their Duty of Care and Health & Safety responsibilities. And as an employee, you have more freedom to choose the car you drive, and you could even be better off if you dont spend all of the company car allowance you receive. However, some employers do stipulate the type and age of vehicle that is acceptable, according to the job you are doing.
If you choose to accept a Company Car Allowance, its worth considering Car Leasing vs Buying. Car Leasing (also known as Contract Hire) is simply the hiring of a vehicle for an agreed period of time for a fixed monthly rental. Unlike Short Term Rental or daily rental, a car lease is usually for 2-5 years, after which you can simply hand the car back with no further commitment or, in some case, you may be able to purchase the vehicle if you wish. Car Leasing is a convenient, cost-effective and hassle-free way of financing a new vehicle, and there are many benefits of leasing a car. It enables easy budgeting of your motoring costs, and the fixed monthly payments can even include servicing and maintenance. Also, theres no need to worry about depreciation or disposing of the vehicle at the end of the contract.
Dont forget that if you choose the company car instead of the company car allowance, all your motoring costs (except private fuel) will be taken care of by your employer including insurance, road tax, servicing and repairs. If you choose the company car allowance, you will have to pay for these things yourself.
If you choose a company car allowance and lease a vehicle which you use in the course of your job, youre entitled to claim from your employer a mileage allowance for each business mile travelled. H.M. Revenue & Customs approves certain mileage rates that employees can claim for business travel, and the current rate is 40p per mile. Check the HMRC website for the latest information.
Part way between the company car and a company car allowance is something called Employee Car Ownership. This is where your employer gives you a car allowance, but the company organizes the finance deal and takes care of insurance and running costs. This may also be worth considering if your employer offers such a scheme.