The UK government has set out its ambitions for 100% of cars to be electric from 2035, but there’s still value in the middle ground.
Hybrids combine the efficiency of an electric motor with the long-range flexibility of a combustion engine, and they’ve been helping save businesses money for a long time, since the first models arrived more than 20 years ago. And although incentives have waned a little recently, hybrids can be an effective route to keeping your tax bill low.
How do you calculate hybrid company car tax?
Like any other workplace perk, a company owned or leased vehicle which is available for private journeys is classed as a taxable Benefit-in-Kind (BiK). The amount drivers pay is heavily influenced by their car’s CO2 emissions, which has made businesses an early adopter of hybrids, as these have escaped some of the eco penalties levied on diesel cars.
The foundation is what’s called the ‘taxable value’ – a percentage of the car’s list (or P11d) price which becomes progressively larger for models with higher CO2 emissions. Tax bands were revised in April 2020, introducing ultra-low rates for cars with CO2 emissions of 50g/km or less (which covers the majority of plug-in hybrids) and differentiating between them based on their electric range.
This has created a sizeable gap between ‘self-charging’ hybrids (think Toyota Prius) and the growing selection of plug-in hybrids, which offer a much longer electric range, significantly lower CO2 emissions and tend to fall into those new ultra-low tax bands. The taxable value of most current plug-in hybrids is 8% or 12% of the list price, compared to at least 25% for a typical ‘self-charging’ hybrid, which is in line with an equivalent petrol or diesel car.
|Vehicle||Type||P11d||BiK rate||Taxable value|
|Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI 150PS Style||Deisel||£31,580||28%||£8,842|
|Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI eHybrid Style||PHEV||£35,565||8%||£2,845|
|Toyota RAV4 Dynamic AWD-i||Hybrid||£41,300||31%||£12,803|
|Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Dynamic AWD-i||PHEV||£45,700||8%||£3,656|
Benefit-in-Kind is a percentage of that taxable value based on your income tax rate. England, Wales and Northern Ireland have three tiers (20%, 40% and 45%), while Scotland has a five-tier system between 19% and 46%. A driver paying 20% income tax would be liable for 20% of the taxable value each year, typically split into 12 monthly instalments and collected from their monthly wages.