VAT recovery when leasing business vehicles; farringdon accountant; london accountant

How to Navigate VAT Recovery When Leasing Business Vehicles

How to claim work from home tax relief in the UK

The world of VAT (Value-Added Tax) can seem complicated, especially when it involves leasing vehicles for your business. While leasing often provides flexibility and financial benefits, the intricacies of VAT recovery on these leases can be confusing. This guide aims to simplify VAT treatment related to motor expenses, helping your business make the most out of tax recovery options.

What You Need to Know About VAT and Leasing Vehicles

Leasing Company’s Perspective:

If you run a leasing company, good news! You can generally recover the VAT incurred on the purchase of cars, provided they are leased at a commercial rate. This can offer you considerable savings and lower your operating costs.

Business Leasing a Car:

If your business is leasing a car for official purposes, the rules are a bit different. The tax authority, HMRC, allows the recovery of 50% of the VAT charged on what it considers a ‘qualifying car.’ This 50% that you can’t reclaim is designed to cover any private use of the car. It means that your business can recover the other 50% subject to the normal rules of input VAT recovery.

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Special Cases: Taxis and Driving Schools

For businesses that lease cars primarily for use as taxis or for providing driving instruction, there is a beneficial exception. You can reclaim all of the VAT charged on the lease if the vehicle is a qualifying car and is intended primarily for either:

  1. Hire with a driver for carrying passengers, or
  2. Providing driving instruction

This exception allows you to maximize VAT recovery and keep your business running efficiently.

Self-Drive Hire and Daily Rental

Do note that the 50% restriction on VAT recovery isn’t limited to just leasing scenarios; it also applies to self-drive hires or daily rentals. If you are hiring a car simply to replace an ordinary company car that’s temporarily off the road, the 50% VAT recovery block will still apply.

Key Takeaways

  1. Leasing Companies:
    Can usually recover all the VAT incurred if the cars are leased at commercial rates.
  2. Businesses Leasing Cars:
    Can generally recover 50% of the VAT on a qualifying car, the remaining 50% is blocked to account for private use.
  3. Special Business Uses:
    Taxis and driving schools may reclaim 100% of the VAT.
  4. Self-Drive or Daily Rentals:
    Subject to the 50% VAT recovery block, similar to leased cars.

Understanding the intricacies of VAT recovery on leased vehicles can go a long way in optimizing your business expenses. If you need specialized advice tailored to your business needs, feel free to reach out to our team of expert accountants who can guide you through the VAT maze.

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