With the government announcing there will be no van benefit charge for fully electric company vans from 6 April 2021, you might be forgiven for thinking that having a company electric vehicle avoids any tax cost. However, this is not quite always the case.
You can currently be subject to a van benefit charge if you have the use of a company van which is also used privately. Unlike company cars, the definition of ‘private use’ for a company van does not include your normal commute to work.
Over recent tax years, the fully electric van benefit charge has been set at an increasing percentage of the full charge, and for 2020/21 it is 80% (£2,808) of the full amount. The exemption to be introduced from 6 April 2021 will apply in all circumstances.
Although fully electric company cars escape any car benefit charge for the current tax year, the percentage charge will be set at 1% next year, increasing to 2% for 2022/23. This will still make fully electric company cars very tax effective.
For a higher rate taxpayer, the monthly tax cost of a Tesla Model S, for example, with a list price of £96,000 will be just £32 in 2021/22 and £64 a year later.
For benefit purposes, electricity is not treated as a fuel. This means there can be no fuel benefit for a fully electric vehicle, even if the employer installs a vehicle charging point at the employee’s home or provides a charge card to allow access to commercial or local authority charging points.
However, a benefit will arise if the employee charges their company car at home and is then reimbursed in excess of the 4p per mile advisory electricity rate for business travel. However this advisory rate cannot be used for company vans.