This month’s newsletter includes information regarding company car drivers and private fuel, and extracts from a HMRC press release: was the Google settlement a "sweetheart deal"?
Company car drivers and private fuel
Since the tax on private fuel provided with company cars is so high, many employers now have an arrangement whereby they no longer pay for private fuel. In this case, the employee must reimburse the employer for private fuel included in petrol bills paid by the employer. Otherwise, the employee may face a tax charge.
Consider the following example:
If your private mileage for April 2016 is 560 miles, and you drive a 1900cc diesel engine car, the rate per mile to cover fuel charges, as quoted in the latest rates published by HMRC, is 11p per mile. Accordingly, you should repay £61.60 to your employer. In order to exempt yourself from the car fuel benefit charge you must be able to demonstrate that the refund was actually made in the relevant tax year, in this example 2016-17.
Based on the above example, if the vehicle’s list price when new was £25,000, and the car benefit charge rate was 26% (based on a 130g/km CO2 rating) the benefit in kind charge for the year would be £6,500. With no repayment of private fuel, there would also be a £5,772 car fuel charge. Both these amounts would be added to your taxable income for the year. If you were a higher rate tax payer the car fuel charge would cost you £2,308.80 a year in additional tax (£5,772 x 40%). This amounts to £192.40 per month.
If your actual private mileage proved, on average, to be 560 miles a month, you would therefore save £130.80 per month (£192.40 - £61.60).
It is worth crunching the numbers. Obviously, the lower your private mileage, the more likely a repayment system will save you money.
Multi-nationals and sweetheart deals
In an unprecedented move, HMRC have issued a press release regarding the accusation that Google were offered a deal that short changed UK taxpayers. Here’s what they had to say regarding the “sweetheart deal” accusation and the settlement with Google:
HMRC does not do “sweetheart deals”.
The National Audit Office has full access to our papers and has in the past scrutinised the way that we resolve disputes in large and complex enquiries. In 2012, it appointed a retired High Court Judge to examine our largest settlements and concluded that HMRC had obtained good settlements for the country in all cases. The NAO also made recommendations, which we implemented. In large, complex cases, three HMRC Commissioners have to approve any proposal for resolving disputes, including one Commissioner from an area of the business which is not directly responsible for the enquiry and the Tax Assurance Commissioner, who oversees the process and publishes an annual report on his work.
This process is subject to routine scrutiny by the NAO.
The Google enquiry
On 22 January 2016, Google announced that it had reached agreement with HMRC to pay an additional amount of £130 million in Corporation Tax and interest, as a result of HMRC’s investigation which started in 2010. This sum is over and above the tax that they have paid for past years (or would pay for the current period were it not for HMRC’s enquiry). The current tax charge that Google took in its accounts increased significantly from 2012, when the company first disclosed that it was under enquiry and made a provision for additional tax.
Some commentators have applied Google’s group profit margin to its sales to UK customers and estimated that Google’s UK Corporation Tax is equivalent to an effective tax rate of around 3% on the group’s profit’s arising in the UK.
This calculation does not reflect how tax law works.
In accordance with our published guidelines on resolving disputes, HMRC has taxed all of Google’s profits chargeable to tax in the UK for the period in question, at the full statutory rate of tax.
There has been media speculation about what other European tax authorities are doing regarding Google. We can’t comment on enquiries carried out in other countries, or on media speculation about them. So far, there has been no public confirmation that other countries have concluded enquiries with Google, either by agreement or by litigation. HMRC is satisfied that our enquiry has secured all the tax that is due in the UK.”
Member since: 10th July 2012
A quick introduction - I'm John Waine, Director of TheBestOfOswestry. Having lived in this beautiful area for around 20 years now, I have decided to stay. :)
With kind thanks