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Let me take a look at this and I'll get back to you.
Your accountant is correct and your friend is wrong. Thousands, if not millions of business owners lease vehicles for business use. How does your friend think employees drive company cars? Read about claiming back VAT here.
The problem you do have is that an estate car is a car (its not a commercial vehicle) and, if it is available for private use there you will be taxable personally on a car benefit. If all the fuel costs are met by the company, you will also be taxable on a fuel benefit. The company will also have a Class 1A NIC liability at 13.8% of the combined car and fuel benefits. Use the car benefit calculator here to work out the potential tax charge on company car and fuel benefits. Even a van used privately comes with taxable van and fuel benefits.
I hope this helps but let me know if you have any further questions.
A more efficient option would be to lease a commercial vehicle, not a car.
If an employee doesn't want the car benefit, they can ask their employer to give them a written instruction banning them from using the car for private trips. Private trips includes the journey from home to a fixed place of work and back again. However, an individual running their own company will find it hard to convince HMRC that they have banned themselves from using the car for private trips. If you have another car which you can use for private mileage, then you could try leaving the estate at the business address overnight and claiming that its not a company car to avoid the car and fuel benefits. A car only has to be available for private trips to trigger the car benefit. You would have no problems if you leased a van and didn't use it privately.
What I meant was that you may as well try to claim its not a company car, ie an employee/director benefit car, is used purely for business and leaving it at the business premises especially if its secure. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Having other cars will help in that regard. It might help if you can insure it for business use only.
Would you mind rating my answer before you leave the site please.
The benefits may be £7,500 and £5,000 depending on the car but you only pay tax on those at your top rate of tax which isn't 100%. However, the company would also have a Class 1A NIC liability of £1,794 (£13,000 @ 13.8%). If I were you, I'd use the new car for business trips only and leave it at the premises overnight.
As far as I'm concerned, so long as you don't use the estate for private mileage, you should be fine. Ownership of other cars helps. As I said earlier in the is answer, a van would be better.