Do you know your NDEC from your WLTP?
If you drive a company car, you may well need to do so.
For many years, company car tax scales have been based on CO2 emission levels, with a supplement (currently 4%) for most diesels (although a handful of new diesels now escape this surcharge). The emissions were measured under the New European Driving Cycle (NDEC) test, which produced results increasingly at variance with the real world.
In response, a new testing regime has been developed, the World harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). Unsurprisingly, this test reveals much higher emission levels than the NDEC – about 15%-20% more, with the greatest increase for cars with the smallest engines.
Company car changes
For company cars registered from 6 April 2020, the WLTP CO2 emission figure will be used in determining company car tax rates. However, for cars registered before that date, the old NDEC measure will continue to apply. As a result, from 2020/21 onwards there will be two sets of company car scales, one WLTP scale for cars registered on or after 6 April 2020 and the other NDEC-based scale for older cars. For any given level of emissions, in 2020/21 the WLTP percentage charge is 2% lower than the NDEC charge, although this difference will be phased out over the following two tax years.
Electric and hybrid cars
6 April 2020 will also see a change to the tax treatment of electric and hybrid cars. The charge for all pure electric cars will drop to zero – good news for Tesla – while for hybrid cars with CO2 emissions of 1-50g/km, the scale charge will be based on the vehicle’s electric-only range. For hybrids there will be separate NDEC and WLTP scales, with both offering no discount if the hybrid cannot run at least 30 miles on battery power alone.
The company car tax regime has become much stricter over the years and there is some evidence that more employees are choosing cash rather than car where they have the option. You may want to join them.