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Company Car or Van?

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Newsletter issue - September 07.

The taxable benefit of using a company van for private journeys is now £3,000 per year, plus an extra £500 if fuel is provided. If you pay tax at the 40% rate, that amounts to an additional tax bill of £1,400. Compare that to the benefit of using a company car that cost say £22,000 with a CO2 emissions rating of 178gr/km. The total taxable benefit of car plus fuel would be £8008, which at the 40% rate is a tax charge of £3293.20 for 2007/08.

Most company vans are hardly suitable for using for family transport, but there are some very comfortable double-cab pick-ups that do count as vans for tax purposes. There are two criteria to meet:

  • The vehicle must be designed primarily to carry goods or other loads; and
  • It should be designed to take a payload of at least 1 tonne, but weigh no more than 3,500kgs, when fully laden. Anything heavier makes it a heavy goods vehicle which does not carry a benefit in kind charge for the driver.

The payload test can be tricky as a fibre-glass cover for the back will eat-into the payload amount. Check with the manufacturer or dealer about the payload for the particular model you are interested in, as a few kilos out will mean you pay tax of a percentage of the list price as a company car, rather than the flat rate benefit of £3000 as a van.