Some employers find it more useful to operate a carpool making a number of cars available for use by employees when they have to make a business journey, as opposed to allocating specific cars to selected employees. Provided certain conditions are met, no benefit in kind tax charge will arise where an employee makes use of a pool car.
There are five conditions that must be met for a car to be treated as a pool car for tax purposes.
- The car is made available to, and actually used by, more than one employee.
- In each case, it is made available because of the employee’s employment.
- The car is not ordinarily used by one employee to the exclusion of the others.
- In each case, any private use by the employee is merely incidental to the employee’s business use of the car.
- The car is not normally kept overnight or near any of the residential premises where any of the employees were residing (subject to an exception if kept overnight on premises occupied by the person making the cars available).
The tax exemption only applies if all five conditions are met.
When private use is ‘merely incidental’
Private use of the car is disregarded as long as it is ‘merely incidental’ to the employee’s business use of the car.
A good example of this would be if an employee was required to make a long business journey and took the car home the previous evening in order to get an early start, the private use comprising the journey from work to home the previous evening would be regarded as ‘merely incidental’ – the car has been taken home to facilitate the business journey the following day.
Kept overnight at employee’s homes – the 60% test
For a car to meet the definition of a pool car, it must not normally be kept overnight at employees’ homes. However, as long as the total number of nights a car is taken home by employees, for whatever reason, is less than 60%; HMRC will generally accept that the condition has been met.
If you would like to discuss when a benefit in kind tax charge arises, please contact our Corporate Tax team on Rugby 01788 539000 or Leicester 0116 261 0061.