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bigduckontax, Accountant
Category: Tax
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I believe I am wrongly paying company car tax. I work in sales

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I believe I am wrongly paying company car tax. I work in sales visiting customers in their homes all over Greater London and beyond. I keep the car I am provided with at home overnight but this is due to having to commute to appointments directly from home across the whole of such a wide area - commonly in huge opposite direction from the main office.
I also work in the evenings often finishing as late as 9pm - again this could be anywhere in London or beyond. Often I travel directly to the office or the factory from home in the morning and then out on appointments. As my appointments cover such a large area and can start early or finish very late in the day it is not possible to leave the vehicle at the office before returning home every day. I follow no set pattern on a daily basis - I simply make appointments wherever and whenever, to suit our clients.
Although the car is predominately used by me there are 4 other individuals who may use the car if required. I do not use the car for private use as I have my own car at home. I would like some advice as to where I stand as the company accountant is telling me that I still have to pay company car tax.

Hello, I'm Keith and happy to help you with your question.

I think you are right. Here is the Gov UK preamble on company car tax:

'You’ll pay tax if a company car is given to you or your family to use privately, including for commuting. You pay tax on the value of the company car, which depends on things like how much it would cost to buy and the type of fuel it uses. Its value is reduced if you have the car part-time or you pay something towards its cost. If your employer pays for fuel you use personally and not for your job, you’ll pay tax on this separately.'

Now commuting, which might attract the tax, is the regular use of a vehicle provided by the employer from home to a regular place of duty for your daily employment. The test is consistency of the daily journey. It is abundantly clear that this is not the case here so the application of tax is not incorrect.

The problem is clearly with a rather dense accountant. Just tell him bluntly that if he does not get down to sorting out the mess he has created by his own stupidity you will report his incompetence antics to his professional association, if he has one, That should concentrate his mind and if it does not do not hesitate to report his antics or lack thereof.

I do hope I have shown you a way forward. Needless to say start by being firm, then, if necessary, branch out. Make sure you put everything in writing so there can be no grounds for confusion.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your reply although this doesn't really provide me with anything new that I wasn't aware of.I have read up on the You-Gov website but the tax guidance relating to company cars is very superficial - it seems to imply that unless you leave a pool car at your place of work it is a company car and therefore a taxable benefit.
What I need is some specific tax related advice backed up by concrete guidelines that would show clearly why I am exempt without anyone being able to interpret in favour of tax being due - I think the central point is that I have a different travel pattern every day - I also undertake a good deal of work from home. I have scoured the Gov website but there is so little specific detail to get your teeth into. Could you provide me actual clauses in the tax framework that would demonstrate that in my case the tax is not applicable?
Have a look at EIM23405 which I submit covers your case:
You are perfectly correct, the lack of consistent residence to place of duty journeys strengthens your case.
Please be so kind as to rate me before you leave the Just Answer site.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Whilst your expert has effectively agreed with my assessment that I should not be paying the tax that is not what I sought advice on. I needed some concrete guidelines from the Tax code that will overturn the way that my employers are currently treating the car provided for my work.
Without this sort of information I am no further down the line and I do not feel that I should be paying for the advice - I could have got the same response from a friend or colleague - I need some true expert advice not just someone's opinion.

I am giving you my professional opinion that the case in Gilbert and Hemsley is on all fours with your position; not all tax law is enshrined in legislation and there are many legal precedents and this is one of those applicable. Much UK law is based on opinions from the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary and downwards.

I think your rating is woefully unfair and should be revised to a more favourable position, You are shooting the messenger.

bigduckontax and 2 other Tax Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I have been fighting this issue now of over a year - I will go back on Monday and push harder as you suggested. I expected to receive more clear cut guidance it seems odd that I should either pay or not pay this tax based on someone's judgement call. I will reserve final judgement on your advice until I have again challenged the accountant in question. If there was any specific case evidence you could point to or provide more details on then I would be a lot more satisfied.

Draw the accountant's attention to EIM23405 and Gilbert and Hemsley in particular.

Thank you for your support.