Can company car drivers get funding for home charge points?
Most of the charging of electric and plug-in hybrid cars happens at home and the government is well aware of the importance of getting the right infrastructure in place. There are proposals in place to make chargepoints mandatory for all new builds, and grant funding has been available for retrofitting existing properties since 2012.
Company car (and van) drivers haven’t been left out. The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme is open to anyone who is assigned an eligible electric or plug-in hybrid company car for six months or more, including rentals and salary sacrifice schemes. In most cases, there’s no need for planning permission, but drivers do have to have their own parking space, even if it’s in a separate car park, and households with two plug-in vehicles can claim twice.
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At the moment, this covers up to 75% of the cost of the chargepoint (including installation) up to a maximum £350 per unit. Eligibility has also been broadened to include shared buildings, such as flats, but homeowners in houses and bungalows will no longer be able to claim as of the end of March 2022.
To make this as easy as possible, some leasing companies will let you add a chargepoint to the same contract as your car or van, pay for it monthly then keep it after the vehicle itself goes back. Unusually, home charging equipment is also not classed as a taxable benefit, as long as it’s for a company car. This means your employer could pay to install one at your home, including claiming the grant, and neither of you would be taxed for doing so.
How do I claim for charging at home?
Here’s where things get a little more complicated. It’s tricky to separate the cost of charging a car from the rest of your home energy bills, let alone differentiating between business and private mileage. HMRC also doesn’t class electricity as a fuel, so utility bill expenses for mixed-use vehicles are taxed as additional income. The burden is then on employers and employees to prove how much of that cost is for business use.
The easiest route around this administrative headache is to use HMRC’s mileage rates instead. Drivers can claim 5p per mile for business trips in electric vehicles while plug-in hybrid rates are based on the size of the petrol or diesel engine. That should be more than enough to cover the cost of the fuel and electricity used, especially if most of the journey is on battery power.
Improving technology will help. Since 2019, chargepoints have had to include a data connection to be eligible for a grant, and this will apply to all new home and workplace installations from June 2022.