In The News

Electric charging points

Article Date: 11 April 2019

The environmental rejection of both lead free petrol and diesel vehicles has led to an increase in interest in hybrid vehicles, but in future vehicles that are fully electric will become the norm on our roads.

According to the RAC, the network of public chargers is best suited for longer journeys, with a rapid charging unit providing up to 80% of charge in as little as 20-30 minutes. They point out that the network continues to grow at an incredible rate, with Zap-Map reporting over 15,000 connectors over 5000 different locations at the end of 2017.

The network should include motor dealerships who run the risk of being left behind if they do not.

Manufacturers, such as GM, have programmes underway in 2019 to survey sites and to install charging points by the late summer.

Helpfully HMRC have legislated in order to provide that 100% of the costs of the installation of charging points are fully allowable as expenditure for the purposes of Corporation Tax.

What is more interesting is the way in which HMRC have decided to treat the use of the charging point and the electricity by employees.
No benefit in kind will be triggered where the charging point is located at the workplace and available to all employees. The exclusion will apply to the cost of the electricity, the cost to the employer of providing the charging facilities and any connected services. The normal benefit in kind rules will apply to costs reimbursed to an employee of charging costs away from the workplace.

Whilst workplace charging points help make electric cars viable for business users with longer commutes, the added benefit of the exclusion of the benefit in kind for the recharging of the battery makes electric cars all the more preferable for employees.
What HMRC have omitted to say is;

  • When all cars are electric and where lead free petrol and diesel cars are rare such that no tax and national insurance is collected from the provision of private fuel, will HMRC be so amenable in future such that charging costs incurred by to the employer will not be a taxable benefit in kind?
  • When employees cars are charged free at the workplace, will the employer be willing to incur an increase in their electricity bill given the price of electricity is already substantial and could be set to increase considerably?

Accordingly, vehicles that allow the user to charge at home overnight may be much more attractive where they charge using electricity at lower cost especially if the employer recharges the expensive cost of daytime electricity to their workforce?

In case of any questions please contact ASE Tax Department for more help: Tel:  +44 (0)161 493 1930

Author: Chris Cummings