Are Car Lease Payments Tax Deductible?

4 minutes Published: 24/03/2021

What's Covered

Nobody enjoys the feeling of bagging a great deal, only to realise that with the tax on top, it is suddenly financially out of reach. 

Leasing can be one of the most economical ways of hiring your car, but you could be saving even more money on tax through a business lease.

A typical personal contract hire (PCH) quote will already include your road tax and VAT, and if you go ahead with a deal, these will be incorporated into your monthly payments. 

However, PCH payments are not usually tax deductible, and with all types of leasing for business you’ll be required to pay tax that is calculated from the car’s Co2 emissions, the P11D value (list price) of the car, and your personal income tax bracket

But it’s not all doom and gloom, as there are savings to be made. If you decide to take out a business car lease, you could claim back up to 100% of the tax!

Here we’ll talk you through who’s eligible for a car lease tax deduction, how you can claim it back, and other ways you might be able to reduce the tax cost on your car lease.

Who is eligible for car lease tax deductions?

When leasing a company car, it always remains the lender’s property - they are the registered keeper of the lease car. That’s why road tax is incorporated into the lease price, as they are the “taxpayer” in this scenario, but they forward the cost to you, along with the cost of depreciation.

With a car lease, you can claim your monthly payments as a business expense, meaning you can reclaim a percentage of VAT depending on the ratio of personal/business use. This could be the deciding factor between taking out a limited company lease or a fully personal lease!

To be eligible for the tax deductions, you should fall into one of the following categories:

  • Sole Trader/Self-Employed
  • Partnership
  • VAT Registered Business
  • LLP (Limited Liability Partnership)
  • Limited Company 

 

eligibility for car lease tax deduction

How much can I claim back?

Since most leased company cars have some degree of personal use, you won't always be able to claim back the full amount of tax. However, provided at least half of the car’s usage is for business, and your company is VAT registered, you can claim up to 50%

Claiming back the full amount for business miles can have some tax implications, as each trip you take in the car must be necessary for you to complete your job. These can include:

  • Making deliveries or collections. 
  • Travelling back and forth from meetings.
  • Travelling between company branches or offices.

calculating how much tax to reclaim

Can I get a car lease tax deduction as a sole trader/self employed/personal?

Being your own boss is great, but when it comes to finances, it’s not always easy acting as your own accountant on top. For freelancers and the self-employed, it can be just as important, if not more, to make sure you’re making the most of any tax benefits.

Luckily, if you’re a business owner, a member of a partnership, or a member of a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP),  you are exempt from paying company car tax on a leased car.

If you’re a sole trader, or recently set up your own company, our guide to getting a self employed car lease talks you through how to qualify, the expenses you can claim, and all the great benefits of business leasing for the self employed.

How to reclaim tax on a lease car

If you are eligible to claim back on tax, you’ll have to submit a VAT return form that details the personal mileage accumulated.  

It’s a good idea to keep this documented, then you can go ahead and submit your VAT Return to HMRC via digital form, or through a compatible accounting software. 

To get started you’ll just need a VAT number, and your Government Gateway user ID and password.

reclaiming tax on lease car

How to reduce tax costs on car lease

You won’t find us saying no to a tax return, but if you aren’t eligible for the above, there are other steps you can take to reduce the tax cost yourself on a leased vehicle.

Opt for a low emission vehicle

Electric and ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) are great for more than just the environment, as company car tax on electric cars is much lower. 

Cars with lower emissions benefit from reduced Benefit In Kind (BIK rates), at 0% for the 2020 tax year, increasing to just 1% for 2021/22, then 2% for 2022/23. 

In addition to this tax relief, you also get the benefit of reduced running costs.

Choose alternative methods of getting to and from work

If your new car has no private use at all, 100% reclaimable VAT looks pretty appealing. Though you won’t be able to use your car for getting to and from work, (as this doesn’t fall under business mileage) many companies offer bikes through cycle to work schemes, and you can even get these on a salary sacrifice car lease or other finance method. 

plugging in electric car

Summary 

To sum up, car lease payments can be tax deductible, but almost exclusively for business or self-employed leasing. 

For all the details specifically related to car leasing through your company, head over to our “how does business car leasing work?” guide.

If you’re looking for more in depth information on tax, our company car tax guide keeps things simple with plenty of examples, and even suggests the best company cars for tax purposes. Or are you leasing a van for business? Our company van tax guide should help.

Or if you’re ready to get a car lease, you can compare the best business car leasing deals on the market with ease with Lease Fetcher.