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Cars vs vans: The benefit-in-kind income tax charge

By Chris Thorpe, April 2021

Chris Thorpe considers what might happen when giving employees a company van rather than a car. 

Company cars are a nice perk to have with a job, but they are expensive. The income tax they attract for the availability of private use is calculated using a percentage based on the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and then applied to the car’s list price. Those percentages go up every year and diesel cars attract an extra special surcharge! Fuel is also taxed on the same percentages and applied to a fixed rate (i.e. £24,600 in 2021/22). Only cars with zero CO2 emissions and the most efficient hybrids attract zero tax.  

How about a van?  

Clearly, it’s a policy to promote the use of cleaner cars and discourage use of traditional fossil fuel ones; and there’s not much anyone can do about it. Unless…what if the vehicle

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