Charging electric cars at home

HMRC have recently clarified their view of the tax treatment for the reimbursement of electricity costs where employees charge their electric company cars at home.

HMRC now accepts that reimbursing part of a domestic energy bill, which is used to charge a company car or van, is exempt from income tax. Their previous view was that such reimbursements were taxable.

The exemption will only apply provided it can be demonstrated that the electricity was used to charge the company car or van, which may be difficult to determine in practice. However, vehicle apps may well have reports that show the use of home chargers vs superfast chargers etc on a monthly basis. A screenshot from a Tesla app shows the charge for a month. A further complication can arise in calculating the cost though – especially where there are different tariffs – e.g. Intelligent Octopus Go charges a much-reduced rate for electricity used between 11:30 pm and 5:30 am compared to charging at other times.

Where the employee uses workplace charging facilities there is no taxable benefit.

Note that VAT cannot be reclaimed on the electricity costs though because the supply of electricity is made direct to the employee and not the employer.