Is It Time to Electrify Your Double Cab Pickups?

Double cab pickups are the backbone of the construction industry, serving as both reliable haulers for equipment and convenient transportation for workers and their families. Yet, looming changes in tax regulations could reshape the landscape for these indispensable vehicles.

Currently, double cab pickups enjoy favorable tax treatment, including a standard benefit-in-kind rate set at £3,600, plus £688 for fuel, leading to a tax bill of £857.60 for basic rate taxpayers and £1,715.20 for those in the higher tax bracket. Additionally, companies can fully deduct the cost of these vehicles from their taxable profits thanks to 100% Capital Allowances. However, starting from July 1st, significant tax changes will come into effect, subjecting double cab pickups to similar tax assessments as cars. This shift includes considering CO2 emissions ratings, which could substantially increase taxes and reduce capital allowances.

Take, for example, purchasing a Toyota Hilux Active, priced at £34,145 including VAT. Under the current tax regime, there are significant tax savings for both the company and the employee due to VAT recovery and full capital allowances. However, post-change, the tax implications become much more burdensome, with capital allowances reducing to just 6% annually.

So, what’s the solution? It might be time to consider electrifying your double cab pickup fleet. Electric vehicles (EVs) are currently treated more favorably in terms of taxation, and although there’s no guarantee, there’s a possibility that future government policies may continue to support EV adoption.

With the impending tax changes, it’s essential to weigh the benefits of purchasing under the existing tax regime against the potential long-term financial and environmental advantages of electric vehicles. While the current rules apply to purchases made before July 1st, 2024, until April 5th, 2028, it’s crucial to consider the broader shift towards electrification and potential changes in legislation that could impact the cost-effectiveness of maintaining a diesel-powered fleet.

To dive deeper into the tax implications and allowances, refer to the official guidance at HMRC’s Employment Income Manual.

In conclusion, the changing tax landscape suggests that now might be the time to rethink your double cab pickup fleet and consider transitioning to electric vehicles for a more sustainable and financially sound future.

For more detailed information on the tax implications and allowances, please refer to the official guidance at HMRC’s Employment Income Manual.

The Autumn Statement

The Chancellor announced his Autumn Statement yesterday. 

We already knew that he was going to raise taxes and reverse most, if not all of the Truss Budget.

Indeed, the Chancellor set out his priorities as Stability, Growth and Public Services.

What this means is that we are back in Austerity 2.0 mode. Oh, and inflation is still going to be running at 10% across 2023.

This new fiscal direction isn’t good for small business owners. UK Plc needs repaying for all the money it gave or lent to businesses to support the economy during the Covid-19 pandemic. Yes, furlough payments, Bounce Back Loans and such like all need to be repaid.

Sadly, the chancellor has taken a swipe at small business owners and decided that this is the population that will take the brunt. After all, we small business owners don’t have a union supporting us to strike. Plus, we are a resilient bunch of people and will roll our sleeves up to get through these tough times.

The leaked and previously announced tax increases are still going ahead…

  • Corporation tax from April 1 2023 to increase to 25% for companies with profits over £250,000. Companies with profits under £50,000 will be taxed at 19%. Companies with profits between £50,000 and £250,000 will be taxed between 19% and 25%.
  • Still support for energy bills. After April 2023 the Energy Price Guarantee will go up to £3000 per year for a ‘typical’ household.
  • Income tax and National Insurance contributions thresholds are staying the same until April 2028.
  • The Upper rate tax band threshold will be lowered from £150,000 to £125,140 from 6th April 2023.

Remember that small business owners bared the brunt of the tax increases? Well here is the sting in the tail

  • The National Living Wage will increase by 9.1% for individuals over 23 to £10.42 and the National Minimum Wage rates are all increasing by 9-10%.
  • The dividend allowance is being reduced from £2000 to £1000 in April 2023, then to £500 in April 2024.
  • The Capital Gains Tax Annual Exempt amount is being reduced from £12,300 to £6,000 from April 2023 and to £3000 from April 2024.
  • The National Insurance Secondary Threshold, i.e. the level at which employers start to pay Class 1 Secondary NICs for their employees, will be £9,100 from April 2023 until April 2028.
  • The R&D tax relief is changing from 130% to 86% and the SME credit rate will decrease from 14.5% to 10%. This takes effect from the Autumn Finance Bill 2022.
  • From April 1st 2023 business rates will be reevaluated to take account of a rise in property values since 2017.

Inevitably the Chancellor has decided that electric vehicles need to now pay road tax. This means that:

  • Electric cars and vans will now pay road tax from 2025.
  • New electric cars registered in 2025 will pay £10 in road tax for the first year then move to the standard rate.
  • Existing electric cars will pay the standard rate from 2025.
  • The exemption for electric cars for the expensive car supplement has also been removed. This means electric cars costing over £40,000 will pay an (at current rates) extra £355 per year on top of the normal road tax of £165 per year.
  • The benefit in kind tax for electric cars is going up to 5% by 2027/2028, with an increase of 1% per year taking effect in 2025/2026 until the 5% level is reached in 2027/2028.

Small crumbs of comfort here are that you still get the 100% first-year allowance for electric vehicle charging points.

Having read all of this you would be perfectly entitled to think that there is no good news for small business owners. And, well, you’d be right to think that. What the government did announce was:

  • No introduction of a possible Online Sales Tax.
  • The business rates multipliers will be frozen in 2023-24 at 49.9p and 51.2p.
  • There is a transitional relief scheme for business rates to support the changes in business rates from the reevaluation in 2023.
  • There, maybe, more energy price support for business announced in the Spring Budget.
  • The reversing of the increase in National Insurance rates for employees (that started in Nov 2022) is still going ahead.
  • There is still the £5000 National Insurance Allowance for small business owners.

What do you need to do now?

Given the extra costs the government has now imposed on your small business AND the rising cost of energy bills AND the minimum wage increases AND the 10% inflation rate across 2023, you have work to do. Namely:

  1. Put together your business plan for 2023 and model the impact of rising costs. Do you need to:
    1. Increase your prices?
    2. Reduce your overheads?
    3. Increase your wages?
  2. Carefully look at your personal and business tax situation. For example:
    1. Would you be personally better off if you paid yourself more via PAYE or made more pension contributions?
    2. Would closing your limited company and trading as a sole trader now make more sense?
    3. Do you need to put in motion anything to avoid getting caught by the reduction in capital gains allowance in April 2023, e.g. selling your business or property?
  3. Who in your staff needs a pay rise to avoid falling foul of the rise in National Minimum Wage?

Of course, give us a call if you need help with any of these next steps. We are here to help.

Jeremy Hunt makes changes

Here is another blog with yet more changes and reversals to the Kwarteng mini-budget that wasn’t a budget.

In short, most of what he announced has been ditched by the new chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

I am hesitant to say that these new announcements are ones that are going to remain. After all, we are living in “interesting times”. Things could change still further by the time we get to the 31st of October when the chancellor will reveal the full financial statement.

What we know now:

  • The basic rate of income tax remains at 20% and likely to stay there for the foreseeable future.
  • The 45% higher tax rate is here to stay.
  • The planned reversal in the increase to Dividend Tax which took place in April has been cancelled.
  • The repeal of the 2017 and 2021 changes to off-payroll rules, AKA IR35, is now cancelled. This means the burden of proving that a contractor is not a disguised employee now rests again with the employer.
  • The help with energy costs is still going ahead but only until April. From April there is likely to be a different and more targeted regime to help with energy costs.
  • The planned increases in the duty rates for beer, cider, wine and spirits will now go ahead.
  • VAT free shopping for non-UK visitors scrapped.

You may be pleased to know that the cuts to stamp duty and National Insurance remain in place. These are very small crumbs of comfort.

The likelihood is that there will be more announcements on the 31st October.

We will, of course, then, give you a full rundown of any changes which will impact you or your business.

Our thoughts:

It’s aint over until the fat lady sings. At the moment we seem to have no idea whether the lady in question is clearing her throat or even thinking about going to perform.

What is clear that the Conservative government is in turmoil right now. The politic gossip columns are humming with different leadership scenarios. None of which seem to involve Liz Truss in them…

Initial reactions from the markets seem to be positive about Jeremy Hunt’s new plans for GB PLC. At time of writing the pound was making tiny gains against the dollar. But still a long way off the dizzy exchange rate heights in August of US $1.20 dollar to the pound. Bear in mind that at this point last year £1 would buy you US $1.37.

As a fellow business owner, my hope is for some stability and certainty in the months ahead. After all, that is what we all need to be able to plan and take decisions for the future. However, my sense is don’t assume that we are now entering into stable waters.

This is what I still think we can rely on going forward:

  • The cost of living crisis is going to bite hard over the winter
  • It is important to keep an eye on your business’s cash going forward
  • It will be harder to get access to finance
  • The turmoil will bring opportunities for business owners who are managing their finances carefully and prepared to be bold and take good decisions.

If you are uncertain about what the future holds or how to cope with the headwinds coming your way, then get in touch. We are here to help.

Government makes a U-turn

On Friday afternoon the UK Prime Minister, Liz Truss held a press conference. Ahead of this press conference, it was announced that the Chancellor had resigned/been sacked (depending on whose version of the truth you are listening to).

In this press conference, the September tax cuts as promised in the mini-budget have been watered down even further.

What we know so far… 

The Corporation Tax will rise from 19% to 25% in April 2023. It is unclear whether or not that includes the previous 19% tax rate for profits under £50k, with a tapering of tax rates up to £250k profit.

As already announced the removal of the 45% top rate for high earners has been scrapped.

What is still, apparently, going ahead from the mini-budget is:

  • The income tax basic rate cut by 1p to 19p in April 2023
  • The scrapping of the 1.25% rise in National Insurance is from November 2022 is still going ahead.

Our thoughts:

Hang onto your hats for a while longer. It is clear that the Conservative government is in turmoil right now. Read any of the online news sites and you will see speculation about whether Liz Truss can keep her job as Prime Minister. Or whether the new chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, will become a caretaker leader.

As a fellow business owner, my hope is for some stability and certainty in the months ahead. After all, that is what we all need to be able to plan and take decisions for the future. However, my sense is we are far from the stability we require.

This is what I think we can rely on going forward:

  • The cost of living crisis is going to bite hard over the winter
  • It is important to keep an eye on your business’s cash going forward
  • The cost of borrowing is going to increase as interest rates increase
  • It will be harder to get access to finance
  • The turmoil will bring opportunities for business owners who are managing their finances carefully and prepared to be bold and take good decisions.

If you are uncertain about what the future holds or how to cope with the headwinds coming your way, then get in touch. We are here to help.

New National Insurance threshold comes into effect from 6th July 2022

Back in his Spring Statement in March of 2022, then Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced significant changes to National Insurance. The first of which came into effect in April when NI contributions were raised from 12% to 13.25%.

What is changing in July?

This month sees some respite however with the implementation of Sunak’s second change; a raise of the primary threshold for National Insurance. From July 6th this has been raised from £9880 to £12,570, bringing it in line with the personal allowance for income tax for the first time.

This change means that anyone earning less than approximately £35,000 will pay less National Insurance this year, and employees will see this change reflected in their pay this month. The Prime Minister has stated that this will mean the average worker will receive a tax cut of £330 a year. If you earn below this threshold then you will no longer pay National Insurance contributions at all. If you are a higher earner however, you will still be paying more National Insurance than you were last year.

Will this help the cost-of-living crisis?

Taxes are still at their highest rate for 40 years and the cost of living crisis continues to grow. With a new Chancellor in place it will be interesting to see what, if any, changes he makes to ease the pressure on low and middle earners. We will have a full report of the Autumn statement when it is given, and in the meantime will continue to update you as soon as anything changes.

spring statement

Spring Statement 2022

The Chancellor recently unveiled his Spring Statement. With a background of increasing wage, fuel and raw material costs and rising inflation, it was hoped the Chancellor would bring some respite for small businesses and sole traders.

Thankfully there is some small respite coming for small business owners and sole traders. Before you get too excited, the 1.25% National Insurance increase and the new Health and Social Care Levy still kick in from April 2022.

However, the Chancellor announced 3 measures that will directly help small businesses and your lower-paid employees right now:

  • Employment allowance will increase by £1000 to £5000 per year from April 2022. For businesses with employees, this will help to offset some of the extra Employer NI costs coming in from April 2022.
  • From July 2022 the National Insurance Primary Threshold will increase to be in line with the income tax personal allowance, i.e. from £9880 to £12570. This means anyone earning less than about £35,000 will pay less National Insurance during the year.
  • A 5p per litre cut in fuel duty for 12 months starting 6 pm 23rd March. This is a saving of approx £100 per year for the average car driver, £200 for the average van driver and £1500 for the average haulier.

Other announcements of merit included:

  • A planned reduction in the lower rate of income tax to 19% from April 2024. However, 2 years is a long time in politics!
  • VAT on the installation of energy-saving materials, e.g. solar panels, to be cut from 5% to 0% (not applicable to Northern Ireland).
  • The qualifying expenditure for R&D tax credits will now include data, pure maths and cloud computing costs.

The Chancellor hinted that we can expect more tax simplification and reform, particularly to tax reliefs and allowances in the Autumn Budget. .


Minimum Wage Update 2022

With costs going up across the board it is unsurprising that the national living wage is also being increased. However, for businesses, particularly small ones, this could have a dramatic effect on wage bills going forward.

From April 1st 2022, the minimum wage will be increasing from £8.91PH to £9.50PH. This is a 6.6% increase on salaries. There are also increases in the lower age brackets, please follow this link to find out full details – 

We encourage you as a business to sit down and review what you are paying your staff, particularly if you have people close to the new minimum or if you are wanting to attract new team members. Keep in mind that £9.50PH is now an entry level salary and if you are wanting to attract high quality candidates you may want to pay them more than this. It is also sensible to look at what your competitors are offering in terms of salary. A good place to start is the supermarkets who are currently hiring at £11 PH.

Work out a plan of if and how you need to increase your team’s wages and then implement the changes by the 1st of April.

lady with tablet in factory

Self-employed Income Support Grants Extended

In line with the further extension of the CJRS furlough scheme for employees the chancellor has also set out further support for the self-employed. We had been waiting for the details of the calculation of the fourth SEISS grant covering the period to 30 April and we now know that the support will continue to be 80% of average profits for the reference period capped at £2,500 a month and can be claimed from late April. There will then be a fifth SEISS grant covering the 5 months to 30 September.

The chancellor has also bowed to pressure to extend the scheme to include certain traders who were previously excluded. Thus, those who commenced self-employment in 2019/20 will now be included provided they had submitted their 2019/20 tax return by 2 March 2021. This is potentially a further 600,000 traders.

Conditions for the fifth grant will be linked to a reduction in business turnover. Self-employed individuals whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more will continue to receive the full grant worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,500 a month. Those whose turnover has fallen by less than 30% will receive a 30% grant, capped at £950 a month. We are awaiting further details of this fifth grant.


Furlough scheme extended to 30 September 2021

The current version of the furlough scheme that started on 1 November 2020 was scheduled to end on 30 April 2021. In order to avoid a “cliff-edge” with resulting widespread redundancies the chancellor has announced a further extension of the scheme and also a phased reduction in support to employers. The CJRS furlough grant for May and June will remain at 80% of the employees’ usual pay for hours not working but it will then be limited to 70% for July and then 60% for August and September.

This phased reduction will operate in a similar way as in September and October 2020 with the employer being required to contribute the remaining 10% and then 20% of an employee’s regular pay so that they continue to receive 80% pay for furloughed hours.

In addition to the 10% and 20% contributions employers will continue to be responsible for paying employers national insurance and pension contributions on the full amount being paid to employees.


The road out of lockdown

Yesterday the English government formally announced it’s 4 steps out of lockdown and all social distancing restrictions. The welsh and scottish governments will follow a largely similar timescale.

The good news is that there is FINALLY an end in sight to the restrictions on trade and movement. However, COVID-19 is now with us permanently, and the government is preparing its long-term plans for ongoing treatment – just like it does for flu each year. The government has already announced a revaccination programme to run in autumn or winter 2021.

This email goes through the key lifting of restrictions. However economic support for businesses adversely affected by restrictions on trade will not be announced until the budget on 3rd March.

The 4 tests

Before lifting any restrictions, the government will apply 4 tests:

  1. The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
  2. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
  3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
  4. Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

The stages out of lockdown

8th March: Step 1A

On the 8th March, schools and colleges will reopen. Up to 30 people will be allowed to attend a funeral and up to 6 for a wedding or a wake. People are allowed to leave their homes for recreation as well as exercise outdoors. But otherwise, the same restrictions are in place to what we have now. Schools are allowed after school sporting activity.

29th March: Step 1B

At the earliest, on the 29th March, 2 households or up to 6 people will be allowed to mix outdoors. Parent and child groups, with up to 15 parents, will also be allowed to meet outside. No household mixing indoors will be allowed. But outdoor sport and leisure facilities will be allowed to open, which also means organised outdoor sport for children and adults will be allowed. At this stage the government is still advising to minimise travel and there is still a ban in place on holidays.

12th April: Step 2

No earlier than the 12th April, we will be allowed to stay overnight outside our own home. But more importantly, non-essential retail, hairdressers/salons/close contact services, outdoor hospitality, plus self-contained holiday accommodation and outdoor attractions will be able to open. At this point, weddings, wakes and receptions can increase to 15 people. Event pilots will begin. There is still a ban on international travel for holidays. Whilst pubs and restaurants will be able to open for outdoor service (no curfew or requirement for a substantial meal to be served with alcohol), patrons will still be expected to order, eat and drink whilst seated.

17th May: Step 3

No earlier than the 17th May, all accommodation can open and international travel is planned to reopen. People can stay away overnight and there is a 30 person limit outdoors, with a rule of 6 or two households indoors. Organised indoor adult sport and indoor entertainment and attractions restart. 30 people can now attend weddings, wakes and funerals. Outdoor large events, with severely limited capacity can now restart.

21st June: Step 4

No earlier than 21st June, the government is hoping to remove all legal restrictions on social contact. So nightclubs can reopen, large events and gatherings can take place.

Economic support available to businesses

At the moment details are at best ‘hazy’. And the government has promised full details of the support available in the budget on 3rd March. However click here to see what we know so far.