Business Leasing Hub

If you're wanting to find out more about leasing a car for your business, or to learn about the process, Leasing Options' comprehensive guides have everything you need to know.

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How does business leasing work?

Business leasing or Business Contract Hire (BHP) is a vehicle lease contracted through your limited company, partnership or LLP or as a sole trader.

The setup is usually the same as with a personal lease or Personal Contract Hire (PCH), consisting of an initial payment and monthly instalments.

At the end of your contract, the car is handed back to the leasing company.

Check out our comprehensive guide for more information on how business leasing works.

Can I take out a business lease?

Yes, absolutely!

The types of organisations that are typically eligible for a business lease include:

  • Limited company (Ltd)
  • Public Limited Company (PLC)
  • Self-employed/Sole trader
  • Partnership
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
  • VAT-registered and non-VAT-registered companies
  • Charities
  • Embassies

There are some exemptions on who is eligible for a business lease, such as taxi leasing. However, most types of company can lease a vehicle, and it often doesn't matter how long you’ve been trading.

How does personal leasing work?

Personal leasing or Personal Contract Hire (PCH) has a similar setup to business leasing, where you lease a car for a specific period for fixed monthly payments. At the end of your agreement, you hand back the vehicle.

However, there are a few differences between the two options. For example, business leases have some tax benefits, as VAT-registered companies may be able to claim an element of the VAT back. In addition, business lease users can use the car for business and personal use. In comparison, personal lease users cannot use the vehicle for business purposes.

What’s the difference between business and personal leasing?

The main differences between business and personal leasing are:

1. Name on the lease contract

Business leasing is leasing under your business name, and personal is simply leasing it under your own name.

2. Different uses

A business lease vehicle will, of course, be used for business purposes but can also be driven for personal use. This does have tax implications – see the section on Company Car Tax further down this article. With personal leasing, you can drive the car solely for personal uses (within your agreed mileage), including commuting to a place of work.

Whether you want a business lease or a personal one, you will have access to the same range of cars and flexibility in terms of deposits and monthly repayments.

3. Claiming back VAT

Business lease users may be able to claim back an element of the VAT on the advertised cost (if they are VAT-registered). They may also be able to claim it back on maintenance plans associated with the vehicle.

Why is a business car lease cheaper than a personal one?

The short answer is – VAT!

When searching for personal leases, you'll see the advertised price, including VAT, as this has to be paid on your agreement.

However, business leases are often cheaper if a company is VAT-registered, as the organisation can claim 50% of the VAT on the advertised cost. Plus, there may be VAT savings on maintenance packages.

Learn more about tax benefits in our guide to car lease tax.

What is company car tax?

If you want to use a car lease on a business contract to commute to and from work or for other personal reasons, you must pay Company Car tax. This is because this element of personal use is seen as a Benefit in Kind, and you'll have to pay personal tax on it.

Benefit in Kind (BiK) is a perk or benefit you receive from an employer that is not included in your salary. For example, a lease car supplied to employees comes under this and is subject to tax, and HMRC defines the amount.

How is company car tax (Benefit In Kind) calculated?

If you're lucky enough to be supplied with a company car, then you could be liable to pay a charge known as Benefit in Kind (BIK) tax. The amount you're required to pay will depend on three things:

  • Price of your vehicle (P11D value)
  • Your annual earnings
  • CO2 emissions of the vehicle

As with all taxes, the rules change often.

It's important to know that the slightest change to the options on a vehicle, even something as seemingly insignificant as adding mats, can impact the amount of tax that needs to be paid. So if you're in any doubt about the rate that will apply to your chosen vehicle, contact HMRC to confirm.

Learn more about Benefit in Kind Tax for business leasing in our guide.

Should I take out a business or personal lease?

There are several considerations and benefits of both business and personal leases. So, if you're deciding on the best option, take a look at which might be more cost-effective.

Benefits of business leasing

Tax benefits can make a business lease cheaper

Securing a business lease deal is usually cheaper than a personal lease. This is because of the available VAT breaks.

First and foremost, you must be VAT-registered to be able to take advantage of these perks. If you are, this means you can claim back the tax on at least 50% of your initial and monthly costs. This concession is based on the assumption the car will be driven equally for personal and business use.

100% can be used to claim back tax if you can prove the car is used purely for the business and left on the company premises overnight and at weekends.

If maintenance is included in your deal, all the VAT can be claimed back

By taking out a maintenance package with a company car, you can claim everything back on that too. Learn more about leasing with maintenance and find out if your company could save even more.

Considerations of business leasing

Work mileage

When you take out a business car lease, you agree to a mileage allowance. If this is exceeded, you will be asked to pay an excess mileage charge to the leasing company – though at Leasing Options, it could be as little as 5p per extra mile.

Benefit in Kind tax

If you use a business lease for personal use, it’s worth considering how much you might have to pay in BiK. Rates differ depending on various factors, including vehicle emissions. So, if you opt for a zero or low-emission car, you’ll save more on tax.

Benefits of personal leasing

Many of the benefits of personal leasing are shared with business leases. However, there is something that could make this option more appealing:

No Benefit in Kind tax to pay

While you can’t use a personal lease car for business use, anything else you drive it for doesn’t incur additional tax.

Considerations of personal leasing

Annual mileage

Working out roughly how many miles you’ll need in your contract is essential, as going over your annual allowance will incur an excess charge.

Optional extras

Adding extras to your car will increase the monthly costs.

Combined benefits of business and personal leasing

Business and personal leasing can be beneficial depending on your requirements. Both options also carry similar benefits, whatever lease you choose, including:

  • Drive the latest models – no limitations on vehicle choice
  • Pay fixed monthly payments
  • Flexible initial rental payment to suit your budget
  • No need to worry about depreciation
  • Upgrade your car or fleet more regularly
  • Road tax included
  • Tailored mileage allowance to suit your usage
  • No hassle returns at the end of the contract

Check out the benefits of business leasing for more information.

Can I use a business lease car for personal use?

Yes, you can use vehicles on a business lease for personal journeys. However, this usage element incurs Benefit in Kind tax as it's seen as a perk.

Learn more about business leasing in our guide to company cars.

Can I take out a business lease if I'm self-employed?

Yes, taking out a lease is possible if you're a sole trader or self-employed. There's the option of a personal or business lease. However, unless you’re VAT-registered, you won’t be able to take advantage of the savings on the lease costs.

Learn more in our guide to self-employed leasing.

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