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Want to drive an electric vehicle? Here’s how you could save up to 50% on costs

There’s no doubt that driving an electric vehicle is an eco-friendly alternative to petrol- and diesel-powered engines. However, did you know that you could be adding to the feel-good factor by reducing your tax payments too? Here, Perrys Chartered Accountants explains the electric vehicle salary sacrifice scheme and why it is beneficial for you and your employer.

What is the electric vehicle salary sacrifice scheme?

Much like schemes for pension contributions, childcare and charitable giving, the electric vehicle salary sacrifice scheme allows employees to pay for an electric car each month using their gross salary. This means the payment comes out before deductions are made for tax and other contributions.

An electric vehicle will be taxed according to the value of the benefit itself – known as a benefit in kind (BIK). This is the value of the benefit you receive i.e. the car. For battery operated electric vehicles, the tax is 1% for 2021/2022 and 2% for 2022/2023. This makes it an incredibly low-cost way to own an electric vehicle.

How does the electric vehicle salary sacrifice work?

In order to benefit from the electric vehicle salary sacrifice scheme, your employer will need to agree to set up or already have in place a scheme and run it through their payroll. As an employee, you won’t own the vehicle yourself, but will instead lease it through your employer as a company car. You will then use your gross income to finance the vehicle. Your Income Tax will be based on your remaining salary and the BIK value.

There are other benefits too. For example, because you are leasing the vehicle through your employer you won’t need to pay a deposit or undergo any credit checks.  Your payments will also include insurance, servicing and maintenance, breakdown cover and accident management. Electric vehicles are also exempt from road tax – making it an extremely cost-effective way to drive a new vehicle and help to protect the environment at the same time!

What sort of savings can be made on an electric vehicle salary sacrifice scheme?

By leasing a vehicle in this way, you can save up to 50% on the monthly cost of owning a vehicle – quite a significant amount. This saving is generated through reductions in National Insurance and Income Tax payments as well as other associated savings like maintenance and insurance.

Additionally, because the employer is responsible for leasing the vehicle under salary sacrifice, they will pay the VAT on the vehicle instead of you. Employers can then reclaim 10% of this VAT back from the government. Employers will also save on the reduced employer National Insurance payments, which will be lower due to the salary sacrifice the employee is making. The more employees there are taking part, the more these savings will increase making it beneficial to both employers and their employees.

How do I get an electric car on a salary sacrifice scheme?

You will need to speak to your employer to find out if this is a benefit they offer or are prepared to sign up to.

Employers interested in offering the electric vehicle salary sacrifice to their staff should speak to a qualified accountant. For more information about salary sacrifice, visit the government’s website.