Buying a Company Car - What Business Owners Need to Know | Business Advice (2023)

If you are the owner of a limited company and are considering a company car for your employees (even if it's just you), you have a number of purchasing options to consider. Because each has its own tax liability and tax relief implications. Therefore, it is important to understand the options available to you so that you can make the right and most informed decision for you and your business. Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) statistics published by HMRC in July 2021 showed that there were 800,000 company car drivers/20 in 2019, generating approximately £1.75 billion in tax revenue. The number of company car drivers is widely expected to increase over the next year following new company car tax rates, including an initial zero rate for pure electric vehicles in April 2020, so now is a good time to familiarize yourself with what you need when buying a company car Notice. Read on to find out how to buy or lease a company car through a limited company, how to do it in the most tax-efficient way, and some of the main positives and negatives to be aware of when buying a company car.

Should you buy a company car?

As a business owner, buying and providing your employees with a company car may seem like an obvious and exciting purchase, and one of the great perks of the job. but because of youCanbuy a company car,shouldyou? To decide whether buying a company car is right for your business, you should weigh the sales tax implications and possible additional costs before heading to the nearest showroom. The type of vehicle, its CO2 emissions, how it is used, by whom and how it is purchased are all key factors to consider when deciding whether buying a company car is a good idea. Since each of these factors will be specific to each business, there is no single right answer. Instead, you should use the guidelines in this article to work out your exact costs in order to make the right financial decisions for your business.

How will the car be used?

Before you start picking your dream company car from the glossy brochures, it's important to know exactly what it's for. Knowing whether the car is being used for personal or business use will help you understand the in-kind level of taxable income.Private use of company vehiclesIf the employee will use the company car privately, including commuting to and from get off work, then this results in a taxable benefit-in-kind (BIK). The amount of tax owed to HMRC will depend on the new value of the vehicle, and additional tax may also apply if the fuel is paid for by the company but used for personal mileage. If such a BIK is set up, the limited company owner needs to file Form P11D with HMRC annually to enroll for benefits.Use company vehicles for business purposes onlyIf the company supplied the car for business use only, then the business owner can claim a refund of the VAT spent on the car and fuel. You should note that business use alone does not include the daily commute from home to your regular place of work.

How will the car be purchased?

Another important consideration when purchasing a company car is how to pay for it. Just like buying a personal car, business owners have the option of purchasing the car outright or leasing it for a period of time using various financing options. Deciding whether to buy a company car outright will largely depend on the availability of cash reserves and which option is the most attractive when considering the full tax implications of each option, as one option may leave the business in a better financial position than the other .

(Video) Can my business buy a company car? Small business taxes

rent a car

A rental car will mean that the company does not actually own the car and must be returned in good condition, usually within a mileage cap after a period of time. Since the car was never owned, no capital allowance is reimbursed, but the cost of leasing the car is reimbursed as a business expense. Vehicle running costs including taxes and insurance are also deducted when calculating the value of corporate tax owed. The percentage of rental costs that can be claimed as a business expense will depend on the emissions level of the car, as a 15% deduction will be made for a car emitting more than 50g/km of CO2.

  • If CO2 emissions exceed 50 g/km, 15% of the rental cost is not available for taxation.
  • 100% of the rental cost is reimbursed as an expense if CO2 emissions are below 50g/km.

When reimbursed for company car expenses, you should also know;

  • If you finance your car with a hire purchase agreement, only the interest payment can be classified as a business expense.

buy a car directly

Buying a company car outright means it will be classified as a fixed asset and you will be eligible for a tax deduction through capital allowances. This means companies can use vehicle costs to reduce their taxable profits. The amount of capital allowances that can be claimed by HMRC, and strictly administered, is largely dependent on the vehicle's CO2 emissions, with company cars that emit more than 130g/km CO2 receiving less tax relief than lower emitting cars. Carbon dioxide emissions:

  • Over 130g/km - 8% of the purchase price can be deducted annually from the annual profit
  • Below 130g/km - 18% of the purchase price can be deducted from the annual profit each year
  • New cars with CO2 emissions below 50g/km - 100% of the car purchase cost is deductible in the first year.

When reimbursed for company car expenses, you should also know;

(Video) Purchasing a vehicle through your business?

  • If you take out a business loan to pay for your vehicle, only the interest payment can be classified as a business expense.

More information on benefits in kind

Whether the cars are purchased outright or through financing, company cars create taxable benefits-in-kind for the employees who use them. A benefit-in-kind (BIK) is classified as any non-cash benefit of monetary value that a company provides to its employees. Common BIKs include company cars, gym memberships, and health insurance. Since each allowance has a monetary value, it must be considered taxable income. The amount of BIK tax payable in relation to a company car depends on: the market price of the new car, the CO2 emissions, whether the company also pays private fuel costs and the employee's tax bracket. The in-kind cost of this taxable benefit should be factored into your calculations when deciding whether buying a company car is right for your business. Companies are required to pay further national insurance contributions to BIK at a rate of 13.8%. They are also required to submit form P11D to HMRC annually outlining details of the car and the value of benefits provided to the employee.

Vehicle Type

The type of vehicle purchased through your company will affect the tax benefits you may be entitled to and the additional costs you may incur for choosing a vehicle. Buying a van or truck, for example, means you're exempt from certain fees and restrictions imposed when buying a car, as HMRC allows "negligible" private use of company vans. In the real world, this means employees can drive the van home after using it for business, and the business owner can claim 100% of the vehicle cost instead of splitting it up as you might need to do with a car Personal and commercial use.

Carbon dioxide emissions

Climate change is a big topic, so when it comes to the amount of CO2 emissions cars produce, low-emitting cars will get better tax breaks and operating costs than cars that spew more harmful emissions into the environment. The most attractive tax package will be a 0-2% tax rate on pure electric vehicles from April 2020. The savings can add up quickly if you can get an EV to meet your business's company car needs, compared to 15-37% for petrol and diesel. You can check the emissions and resulting emissions of a proposed company car using the cost ofthis toolFrom HMRC.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Company Car

So, you've considered tax implications, emissions and vehicle type, but are there any other real-world pros and cons you should consider when buying a company car? We highlight a few below.

(Video) Buying a Car Under a BUSINESS NAME

Regularly update the car with the latest technologyLack of personal car ownership
Opportunities to reduce BIK payments with low-emission vehiclesOperating costs should also be considered


As the name implies, company cars are owned by the company, so while employees who use the vehicle don't have to worry about the vehicle depreciating in value over time, it is sometimes a particular concern when selling a vehicle and should be a major concern for businesses. Companies that offer corporate car ownership allowances need to make sure they are on top of the rent or loan payments used to buy the car to prevent financial trouble and the car being impounded.

operating cost

The running costs of a company car are usually borne by the company. This means that maintenance, service and insurance costs do not need to be paid by employees, but these costs do need to be budgeted by the business owner and can add up quickly.


Company cars are often renewed on a regular basis, especially if they are leased. This means employees can drive some of the newest models on the market, which is great for car enthusiasts or those who enjoy the latest technology. If your employees like to choose their own vehicles or have a firm opinion on the type of car they want to drive, you may end up disappointing some people. It often makes economic sense to limit the types of vehicles offered by a company. Cars get the best prices from fleet purchasing companies and of course can make smart decisions about car emissions to reduce the amount of BIK tax due. For example, the Lexus IS emits 137g/km of CO2, which equates to a BIK tax of 32%, which we're sure is far more than driving a premium car feels to some!

Related questions

Company car or car allowance?

When it comes to car benefits, an employer can offer a car allowance or a company car, but the two are very different options with very different tax implications.

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  • A company car, when the vehicle is issued to an employee for his use, may only cover business use or both business and private use during the period of his employment contract.
  • A car allowance is a cash amount added to an employee's salary to enable them to buy or lease a car of their choice, which they can keep even after their employment relationship ends.

The company car is managed by the employer, while the responsibility for all car payments related to car allowances falls on the employee. If the company pays for it, users of the company car will be subject to additional income tax and possibly additional fuel tax, and the company issuing the car will be required to pay a Class 1A NIC for the benefits provided. However, the car allowance will incur additional National Insurance and income tax payments based on the tax bracket the employee falls into as a result of adding the car allowance to their base salary.

Do you need to report company vehicles to HMRC?

Businesses providing company cars need to notify HMRC of:

  • They provide employees with a company car
  • Company car available for private use
  • They no longer pay for the fuel they use in their private cars
  • changed company car
  • Company car benefits revoked

They are also required to report Class 1A national insurance contributions based on the value of the motor vehicle interest in operation. Companies that need to notify HMRC of their company car can do so online via form P46 or PAYE and payroll software. Individuals can also notify HMRC of the status of their company car through their personal tax account. accessHMRCFor complete information, including deadlines and how to submit the P46 form.


Buying a car through a limited company is subject to a strict set of rules from HMRC. You should fully research these implications in relation to your business to determine if you will benefit from potentially valuable tax benefits or if you will incur additional costs and buying a company car is not a good investment in the long run choose. The type of vehicle, how it was purchased, emission levels, and the needs of employees in performing their duties can all influence the decision to continue purchasing a company car. In short, there isn't a proper solution for buying a company car. Every company should weigh the pros, cons and costs involved to determine if buying a company car is the right decision for their needs and circumstances. We therefore recommend that you discuss the true tax implications of this decision for your particular business with a qualified accountant who can highlight the issues to ensure you are acting in the most efficient and financially viable manner. In the meantime, you can find out the cost of buying a company car by using this handyCompany car expensesHMRC's calculator.

(Video) How to Buy a Car in an LLC


What are the benefits of buying a car through your business? ›

Pros of buying a car for your business

Helpful tax deductions: When you purchase a car through your company, your business can deduct the costs of ownership as well as general expenses like gas and maintenance. Additionally, your company is able to deduct depreciation and even interest on the car loan if you have one.

How do I buy a car as a business expense? ›

You can write off part or all of the purchase price of a new or "new to you" car or truck for your business by taking a section 179 deduction. This special deduction allows you to deduct up to the entire cost of the vehicle in the first year you use it if you are using it primarily for business purposes.

What questions should you answer about your needs before you shop for a car? ›

Here's What You Need to Ask Before Buying a Used Car
  • Why are they selling the car? ...
  • How old is the car? ...
  • What's the mileage? ...
  • How long have they owned the car? ...
  • How many previous owners? ...
  • Are they selling the car as is, or is it under warranty? ...
  • What problems are there, and what repairs need to be made?
Jan 29, 2022

How long does it take to build business credit to buy a car? ›

It may take your business up to two years to build up enough credit to qualify for a car loan. For you to achieve the highest possible credit score, take the following steps: Make on-time payments on your bills for more access to money. Always pay your bills on time.

Can you write off car payments for business? ›

Car loan payments and lease payments are not fully tax-deductible. The general rule of thumb for deducting vehicle expenses is, you can write off the portion of your expenses used for business. So "no" you cannot deduct the entire monthly car payment from your taxes as a business expense.

Why do business owners buy cars at the end of the year? ›

It's not uncommon for business owners to make big purchases before year-end to get the tax write-off. This couldn't be more true when it comes to buying a car, truck, RV or van for your business. However, making that big purchase isn't always the best long-term tax decision, not to mention the wisest economic decision.

How much of a car purchase can you write off? ›

Can you write off a car as a business expense? You technically can't write off the entire purchase of a new vehicle. However, you can deduct some of the cost from your gross income. There are also plenty of other expenses you can deduct to lower your tax bill, like vehicle sales tax and other car expenses.

How do you write off a car with an S Corp? ›

To write off your S Corp mileage, your company should reimburse you for the business use of your personal car. The vehicle is registered under your name and you pay all expenses such as gas, repairs, and insurance from your personal account.

How do you calculate income from personal use of a company vehicle? ›

For example, assume that a driver logs a total of 20,000 miles on his company-provided vehicle over the course of a year. His record keeping indicates that 15,000 of those miles were for business, and 5,000 were personal. The fair market value of his personal use would be 5,000 x . 655 = $3,275.

What are 4 things you need to know about buying a car? ›

Here are 5 things you should know to help you be prepared before you set foot on an auto dealership lot.
  • Know what rate you're approved for. ...
  • Know which factors impact your payment. ...
  • Know the pros and cons of 0% APR vs. ...
  • Know if new or used is right for you. ...
  • Know the differences between a loan and a lease.

What are 5 questions you should ask the dealer before you buy a car? ›

Questions to Ask Your Car Dealer: Everything You Need to Know
  • Buying a new car? ...
  • What is the MSRP? ...
  • What other fees are included in the sale price? ...
  • Is there are warranty? ...
  • What is the car's safety rating? ...
  • How many miles does the vehicle have? ...
  • Is the car certified pre-owned (CPO)? ...
  • Does the car have aftermarket parts?
Feb 7, 2023

What is the most important thing to know when buying a car? ›

Things like knowing the trade-in value of your old car, knowing how much you can afford for a new or pre-owned car, knowing your finance options, knowing the total cost of the specific car you want rather than just the sticker price, and knowing what you need are all important in getting you the best price on any ...

What does a new business credit score start with? ›

Unlike consumer credit scores that follow a standard scoring algorithm and range from 300 to 850, business credit scores generally range from 0 to 100.

What is a good credit score for business? ›

Businesses are ranked on a scale between 101 to 992, with a lower score correlating to a higher risk of delinquency. A good Business Credit Risk Score is around 700 or higher.

How long does it take to build credit as a new LLC? ›

Experts say it can take three years or more to build business credit, but some creditors may only require one year. If you're trying to establish credit for a new business, these steps can help you get started.

Can you write off a car with an LLC? ›

Yes. A Section 179 deduction allows you to deduct part of or the entire cost of your LLC's vehicle.

Is it better to write off gas or mileage? ›

Here's the bottom line: If you drive a lot for work, it's a good idea to keep a mileage log. Otherwise, the actual expenses deduction will save you the most.

What is the vehicle write off for business in 2023? ›

Guidelines for Section 179 deduction on vehicles in 2023

Businesses can deduct up to $1,050,000 of the cost of qualifying equipment and software under Section 179 for the tax year 2023. The maximum deduction for vehicles is $18,100 for heavy SUVs and trucks, $10,200 for cargo vans, and $18,100 for passenger vans.

Why should I buy my car in my business name? ›

The main advantage is that you separate your personal and business assets when buying a car as a company. For example, you protect yourself from being sued if your vehicle gets into an accident. Optimizing maintenance costs is the primary goal of any limited liability company.

Is it smart to buy a car for a tax write off? ›

Buying a car for personal or business use may have tax-deductible benefits. The IRS allows taxpayers to deduct either local and state sales taxes or local and state income taxes, but not both. If you use your vehicle for business, charity, medical or moving expenses, you could deduct the costs of operating it.

Can you write off 100% of a vehicle? ›

The short answer is that you cannot deduct the full cost of the vehicle unless it is exclusively used for business; however, you can and should deduct where you can. While the IRS does allow writing off vehicle expenses, they are pretty strict about it.

What is the 6000 vehicle tax deduction? ›

The 6,000-pound vehicle tax deduction is a rule under the federal tax code that allows people to deduct up to $25,000 of a vehicle's purchasing price on their tax return. The vehicle purchased must weigh over 6,000 pounds, according to the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), but no more than 14,000 pounds.

What is required on a mileage log for the IRS? ›

If you're keeping a mileage log for IRS purposes, your log must be able to prove the amount of miles driven for each business-related trip, the date and time each trip took place, the destination for each trip, and the business-related purpose for traveling to this destination.

What is the standard mileage rate for S Corp? ›

The standard mileage rate for charitable use is set by § 170(i). The standard mileage rate for transportation or travel expenses is 65.5 cents per mile for all miles of business use (business standard mileage rate).

Can I claim mileage on S Corp? ›

Generally, the S-corporation reimburses the employee for vehicle expenses incurred when using their personal vehicle for company purposes. Corporate employers may not use the standard mileage rate to compute the vehicle expenses for company-owned vehicles.

What counts as business mileage? ›

What counts as business mileage? The IRS considers business mileage as any driving done solely for business purposes. For example, driving out of the office to meet clients, get supplies, or run other business errands. Note that commuting between your home and your place of work is not considered business mileage.

What are the IRS rules for company cars? ›

Under IRS general rules, all use of a company car is considered personal use unless the employee documents the business use of the car. Personal use of a company vehicle generally results in taxable wages for the employee.

What are the IRS guidelines for company vehicle use? ›

A company-owned vehicle used for business purposes (if it is documented) is not considered taxable income. However, when your employee uses the company car for personal use, it becomes taxable and must be reported on their W-2.

How much is a company vehicle worth to an employee? ›

However, there is no rule of thumb when it comes to the value of a car. It typically depends on what kind of car your company leases on your behalf. If the standard car for an employee is a mid-sized American car then the value of the car can range from $10K to $18K.

What rule should you follow when buying a car? ›

Basically, the rule goes that you provide a down payment of 20% of the balance, sign a loan for a four-year period, and pay no more than 10% of your monthly income on car expenses. These expenses include any money you put towards your new vehicle, including gas, insurance, and loan payments.

What are 7 tips for buying a used car? ›

So as you explore your car-buying options, keep these tips in mind to get the best deal.
  • Tip 1: Have a realistic budget.
  • Tip 2: Explore financing options.
  • Tip 3: Apply for loan preapproval.
  • Tip 4: Trade in your old vehicle.
  • Tip 5: Make a large down payment.
  • Tip 6: Consider a certified pre-owned vehicle.
  • Tip 7: Shop online.
Mar 2, 2023

What questions are asked when buying a car? ›

16 Questions to Ask When Buying A Used Car
  • What is the Mileage On the Odometer? ...
  • Why is the Owner Selling the Car? ...
  • What is the Interior and Exterior Condition of the Vehicle? ...
  • Does the Car Have a Salvage Title? ...
  • Are You Able to Test Drive the Car? ...
  • How Many Owners Has the Vehicle Had? ...
  • Has the Car Been in Any Accidents?

What not to say to a dealer? ›

Things to Never Say to a Dealer
  • “I'm ready to buy now.” ...
  • “I can afford this much per month.” ...
  • “Yes, I have a trade-in.” ...
  • “I'm only buying the car with cash.” ...
  • “I'm not sure…which model do you think I need?” ...
  • “Oh, I've wanted one of these all my life.” ...
  • “I'll take whatever the popular options are.”

How do you beat the car dealer at his own game? ›

Beat Car Dealerships at Their Own Game
  1. Arm yourself with information. Decide on a maximum, affordable monthly payment. ...
  2. Prepare for the game. Ask a friend to join you at the dealership for moral support, and don't bring the kids. ...
  3. Negotiate at the dealership.

What does MSRP mean for car's? ›

MSRP is an acronym for Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price, which means that it is the price at which the automaker suggests a Irvine-area dealership like Weir Canyon Honda sell a vehicle.

What is the best time of the year to buy a car? ›

In terms of the best time of the year, October, November and December are safe bets. Car dealerships have sales quotas, which typically break down into yearly, quarterly and monthly sales goals. All three goals begin to come together late in the year.

What is the most important piece of a car? ›

It makes sense to start with the most important part under the hood of a vehicle, which is the engine. Most modern vehicles run on internal combustion engines, which generate energy by igniting a mixture of air and fuel that moves pistons, which in turn move the car.

Should I buy a car now or wait until 2023? ›

Americans planning to shop for a new car in 2023 might find slightly better prices than during the past two years, though auto industry analysts say it is likely better to wait until the fall. Since mid-2021, car buyers have been frustrated by rising prices, skimpy selection and long waits for deliveries.

Can buying a car be a tax write off? ›

You can deduct sales tax on a vehicle purchase, but only the state and local sales tax. You'll only want to deduct sales tax if you paid more in state and local sales tax than you paid in state and local income tax.

Can you buy a luxury car as a business expense? ›

Yes, you can. You can take a Section 179 deduction in the year you begin financing your vehicle as long as (1) your business use percentage is at least 50%, and (2) you place the vehicle in service that year. Using Section 179 on vehicles that you finance can be a smart fiscal strategy.

Can you write off a car under 6000 pounds? ›

The 6,000-pound vehicle tax deduction is a rule under the federal tax code that allows people to deduct up to $25,000 of a vehicle's purchasing price on their tax return. The vehicle purchased must weigh over 6,000 pounds, according to the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), but no more than 14,000 pounds.

How do I write off my car for an LLC? ›

Can I Write off a Vehicle Purchase for Business Use?
  1. Using a Section 179 deduction, you can write off all or part of a vehicle purchase as long as the vehicle is new to you and used at least 50% of the time for business purposes. ...
  2. Certain restrictions may preclude you from writing the vehicle off on your taxes.

What is the maximum deduction for a business vehicle? ›

The maximum first-year depreciation write-off is $11,200, plus up to an additional $8,000 in bonus depreciation. For SUVs with loaded vehicle weights over 6,000 pounds, but no more than 14,000 pounds, 100% of the cost can be expensed using bonus depreciation in 2022.

What vehicles are 100 tax deductible? ›

Coupes, sedans, small trucks, and small SUVs can deduct up to $18,000 per vehicle1, while larger trucks, SUVs, and vans can deduct up to 100% of the purchase price2. Consult your tax advisor for tax implications and savings opportunities.

How to write off vehicle over 6000 lbs? ›

Vehicles weighing more than 6,000 pounds but less than 14,000 receive a maximum first-year deduction of up to $27,000 in 2022 ($28,900 in 2023). After that, you follow a regular depreciation schedule.

Is Section 179 going away in 2023? ›

The Section 179 expense limit and phase-out threshold (inflation-adjusted to $1,160,000 and $2,890,000, respectively, for 2023) are now permanent parts of the tax code.

What is 179 deduction for vehicles? ›

What is the Section 179 tax deduction? Section 179 is a provision of the US tax code that allows businesses to deduct (i.e., write off) the purchase price of qualifying equipment, vehicles, and software in the year it was purchased, as opposed to depreciating it a little at a time over several years.

What is the 179 deduction for 2023? ›

The Section 179 deduction limit for 2023 was raised to $1,160,000 and the total equipment purchase limit was raised to $2,890,000. This is an increase from the 2022 Section 179 tax deduction which was set at a $1,080,000 limit with a threshold of $2,700,000 in total purchases.


1. How to Buy a Car in Your Business Name (2023)
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2. How to Buy a Car in Business - A Guide on Company Car Tax
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3. Want a Company Car?
4. Why you should Purchase Car in Your Company Name | Purchase Car in Business Name
5. How To Buy A Car In Your Business Name [STEP-BY-STEP]
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