End of the road for the ‘tax disc’

From October 2014 motorists will no longer have to display their road tax disc in the windscreen of their vehicles. Even though the paper disc is to be scrapped motorists will still be paying Vehicle Excise Duty but the treasury claims that there will also be savings of £20  million for Britain’s hard-pressed motorists as a result of changes to the way car tax can be paid. The number of windscreens checked for tax discs by officers has dropped 75 per cent in the last five years, thanks to the electronic vehicle register that is used by both traffic police and the DVLA. A police source said ‘the tax disc is no longer needed for enforcement purposes, the police use numberplate recognition equipment. If they pull you over they can immediately tap into this database and see whether the car is taxed and insured…

New fuel benefit and van benefit charges announced for 2014/15

The Treasury has announced that fuel and van benefit charges are to see increases for the next tax year. The changes will see the company car fuel benefit charge multiplier rise from £21,100 for 2013/14 to £21,700 for 2014/15, making free private fuel even less worthwhile for fleet drivers. Meanwhile the van fuel benefit charge rises from £564 for the current tax year to £581. In addition, the van benefit charge is to rise from £3,000 for 2013/14 to £3,090 for 2014/15. Commenting on the changes to the company car fuel benefit charge, Jeff Whitcombe of BCF Wessex Consultants Limited pointed out that not only is there an increase of £600 in line with RPI and as announced in the 2013 Budget but also the appropriate BiK percentage for most cars will increase by 1% in April 2014 and fuel prices are at their…

Fuel duty frozen and tax disc scrapped in Autumn Statement

The planned fuel duty increase for September 2014, expected to be worth 1.61p per litre, will be cancelled. The Chancellor George Osborne announced the freeze in the Autumn Statement. In total, fuel duty will have been frozen for nearly four and a half years, the longest freeze for over 20 years. Average pump prices are 13ppl lower than if the Government had implemented the fuel duty escalator, and will be 20ppl lower by the end of the Parliament. The Treasury says that this means that it currently costs the typical motorist £7 less to fill up their tank, and will cost £11 less by the end of the Parliament. ACFO chairman Damian James said: “The move gives some stability to fleets in their budget forecasting and is welcome at a time when the green shoots of economic recovery are sprouting.” In total, the Government…

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…

Fewer than 30% of company car fleet operators have speeding policy

The majority of fleet operators do not have a driver speeding policy in place or are ‘unsure’ whether they have one, according to a recent survey. Only 29% of 100 fleet operators surveyed by TrackCompare say they have a driver speeding policy in place while just over a fifth (21%) say they do not have one and half are ‘not sure’. This is despite calls from road safety organisations to tackle speeding. In August last year, Brake, the road safety charity, urged fleet operators to take steps against speeding and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) said ‘inappropriate’ speeds were causing 24% of fatal accidents and 16% of collisions resulting in serious injury. However, nearly half (45%) of the fleets surveyed by TrackCompare that don’t have a policy suggest that speeding isn’t a problem on their fleet. Around a quarter (26%)…

Budget extends tax appeal of ultra-low emission cars

Manufacturers have welcomed the Government’s announcement in the Budget to extend the tax appeal of sub-76g/km models for fleets. The introduction of two new bands from 2015, which reverses a 2012 Budget decision to remove tax exemptions, will cut benefit-in-kind tax by hundreds of pounds a year. However, ultra-low emission vehicles have not yet caught the imagination of the majority of fleets, despite the lure of Government incentives, such as the plug-in car grant which offers up to £5,000 off the price of vehicles up to 75g/km. In 2012, 1,262 pure electric cars were sold, with the Nissan Leaf accounting for 55% of registrations. Range extended vehicles, such as the Vauxhall Ampera and Chevrolet Volt, which emit 27g/km, accounted for 522 registrations and plug-in hybrids, like the Toyota Prius at 49g/km, were responsible for 470 registrations. Combined they accounted for 2,254 units out of…

DVLA changes could mean longer wait for company cars

Government plans that will result in the closure of 39 DVLA regional offices could result in fleets having to wait longer for vehicles to be delivered. Effectively, the dealer controls the tax disc process, but has to wait for permission from the leasing company to register the car at which point the disc is ordered. But with regional offices being shut, the dealer will no longer be able to issue the tax disc on site and collect from its nearest centre. Instead, it will be issued centrally by the DVLA which could result in it taking up to three weeks to receive the disc. It creates a dilemma. Do you want it sent to the dealership or sent to the customer, but then who is the customer? The leasing company won’t want it because of the cost of administering the service and the associated…

10 minute company car check could save you £1,000s

Fleet managers could save thousands of pounds per year by taking 10 minutes to check the external condition of leased vehicles before they are due to be returned. The cosmetic vehicle repair specialist advises developing an internal lease return inspection protocol. This should involve inspecting bumpers, alloys and paintwork for scuffs, bumps and scratches a few weeks before the official end of lease inspection is due. According to industry figures, 27% of returned vehicles incur a fair wear and tear recharge. This is generally because damage has been left untouched or not repaired to a high enough standard. Large fleets could quickly realise significant savings by checking vehicles and organising appropriate repairs themselves through accredited SMART repairers or bodyshops. Revive advises fleet managers to follow these five ‘10-minute check-up’ tips: Ensure the vehicle is clean and dry: dirt and wet can mask scratches and…

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