Fixed penalties – what the changes mean to you

Changes are being introduced to give the police powers to issue fixed penalty notices for careless driving from July 2013. Careless drivers who put other road users at risk face on-the-spot penalties under new measures announced by the Department for Transport. The changes will give the police greater flexibility in dealing with less serious careless driving offences, such as tailgating or middle lane hogging, and free them from resource-intensive court processes. The fixed penalty will also enable the police to offer educational training as an alternative to endorsement.Drivers will still be able to appeal any decision in court. In addition, existing fixed penalty levels for most motoring offences – including using a mobile phone at the wheel and not wearing a seatbelt – will rise to £100 to bring them into line with the penalties for similar non-motoring fixed penalties. The fixed penalty for careless driving will be £100 with 3 points on the driver’s licence. The most serious examples will continue to go through…

LLP changes may affect 250,000 company cars

Tax changes proposed by the Government to close a ‘disguised employment’ loophole by the creation of some Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) are set to impact ‘perks’ including company cars and fuel. Alastair Kendrick, tax director at chartered accountants MacIntyre Hudson, estimates that the tax change could involve at least 250,000 company vehicles. Meanwhile, a First-Tier Tribunal, which hears appeals against decisions relating to tax made by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), ruled that four members of the same family circumvented tax rules relating to cars and fuel by running parallel company and partnership structures. LLPs have become increasingly popular as a method for carrying on a wide variety of businesses since they were introduced by the LLP Act 2000. According to Companies House, there are more than 50,000 LLPs which give the benefit of limited liability for members with the tax treatment and flexibility…

Whole life costs are critical basis for company car selection

Vehicle whole life costs should be the critical basis on which businesses select which company cars to operate, yet evidence suggests as few as one-in-five organisations use that strategy. Vehicle whole life costs are critical because they highlight that cars which may cost the same in terms of list price or monthly lease rental actually do not in terms of cost per mile to operate. The cost difference can build up over the lifecycle of a car. The principle of basing choice lists on whole life costs can help both employers and employees. For employers it can save money, and for employees, even if the whole life cost figures on two models are identical a different CO2 emissions figure will influence the level of benefit-in-kind tax due. GE’s Company Car Trends report has tracked fleet industry developments for almost a decade via quarterly research…

Company car drivers hit by tax errors

Fleets have been urged to get employees to double-check their payslips after warnings that a radical shake-up of the tax payment system has left tens of thousands paying the wrong amount of company car tax. More than 40,000 workers are thought to have been hit by problems with HMRC’s new real-time information PAYE system, which was introduced in April. The aim of the system was to slash red tape, as businesses can now report pay details to HMRC in real-time. However, the launch has been hampered by issues, including the latest in which, in some cases, the computer system is incorrectly assuming workers have ceased employment and has stripped taxable benefits such as company cars and private healthcare from their PAYE code. As a result, thousands are underpaying tax and will face potentially hefty bills when the system error is corrected. A spokesman for…

European company cars reduce CO2 emissions by 15%

New company cars across Europe’s major markets reduced their CO2 emissions by 15.2% between 2008 and 2012, according to the Key Solutions CO2 assessment published by GE Capital. The report analysed the reduction in CO2 emissions from new company cars in 11 European countries between 2008 and 2012. Extrapolating the figures out, the report estimates that the cumulative reduction achieved between 2010 and 2012 is in excess of 13,143,000 tonnes – more than the CO2 produced by a coal-fired power plant over three years. The Key Solutions team – the specialist fleet consultancy unit of GE Capital – estimates that had fuel efficiency remained at 2009 levels, the fleet sector would have incurred an additional fuel cost of more than 6.2 billion Euros between 2010 and 2012. Alex Barbereau, EU accounts and consultancy director, GE Capital, said: “Our research shows a continued reduction in…

Kia issues recall for UK cars

Kia is to recall more than 25,000 vehicles in the UK built between 2006 and 2011 due to a faulty brake light switch that may prevent the brake lights from illuminating or turning off after the brake pedal is released. The models affected are previous-generation Carens, Sedona, Sorento and Sportage and current Sorento, Soul, and Optima models.  

Fleets warned against complacency over corporate manslaughter

Five years after the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act came into effect, there have been only three successful prosecutions, none of which were related to fleets.  However, despite the fact just a few companies have fallen foul of the law, fleets are being warned now is not the time for complacency. The latest Government figures show that in the 12 months to September, 2012, 1,770 people were killed on UK roads. Experts suggest one in three fatalities involved somebody driving for work, equating to nearly 600 employees in a single year. The road risk policies of hundreds of businesses will have been scrutinised as a result. Police and prosecutors are gaining a greater understanding of the law and many more cases are in the pipeline. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) says so far it has charged six organisations with the new offence. Two of…

Could a BMW X5 be your next company car?

BMW has released the first official pictures of its new X5 and revealed that it will be available with a four-cylinder diesel engine and two-wheel drive, reducing running costs compared with the current model. The X5 will be on sale in the UK from November 16 and the 2.0-litre 218bhp rear-wheel drive model is expected later in the year, and will achieve 50.4mpg and emit 149g/km CO2 with prices starting at £42,590. The move to offer a four-cylinder diesel unit comes after Mercedes offered a similar engine in its M-Class last year. All models will come with an eight-speed automatic transmission which has an Eco Pro mode that adapts the engine management, accelerator response and transmission characteristics to support a fuel-efficient driving style, and programmes the climate control and heated seats and mirrors for the most efficient use of energy. Auto Start-Stop, Brake Energy…

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