Budget 2017: charging up interest in electric

The Chancellor has finished delivering the first Autumn Budget of its kind. It was pleasing to see some progress in the drive to go electric, as well as future promises to address employee travel and reimbursement arrangements.

From April 2018, there will be no taxable benefit in kind (BIK) where employers provide staff with free charging facilities for electric and hybrid vehicles. Currently, where an employer allows an employee to charge their own vehicle at their place of work, a taxable benefit arises when the vehicle is used for private purposes – such as work to home commuting.

It was up to the employee to keep a log of the electricity provided by the employer, which should then be included on the P11D form at the end of the year. Whilst the Chancellor’s announcement today presents a lower tax bill and cost saving for the employee, it may perhaps also represent a further incremental encouragement towards alternative cars, which are not petrol or diesel powered.

It was not only vehicles that came under the spotlight for employees this time around. The Government has released plans for a consultation during 2018 that examines the taxation of training costs. The Government will consult in 2018 on extending the scope of tax relief currently available to employees and the self-employed for work-related training costs. Whilst at this stage the extent of the easement is not known, it is hoped that the consultation next year will extend the current restrictive regime.

Furthermore, from April 2019 it is intended that employers will no longer be required to check receipts when making payments to employees for subsistence using benchmark scale rates. This is a welcome relaxation under which employers will only be required to ensure that employees are undertaking qualifying travel.

If you have any questions surrounding today’s Budget, or any other aspect of employment taxation, contact Wilkins Kennedy to see how we can help.

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