• Service: Tax & Legal
  • Type: Business and industry issue
  • Date: 18/12/2012

Deduction of VAT on company cars: new rules are known 

e-Tax flash
Since 1 January 2011, the general rule is that the deduction of VAT on company cars is limited to their business use.  As the new regime is hard to apply from a practical point of view, the VAT authorities decided at the end of 2011 to suspend its decision of 20 October 2011 in anticipation of further guidelines in the form of an addendum (cfr. our e-tax flashes of 8 December 2011 and 11 January 2012).

At last, the addendum has been published on Fisconet this afternoon. Please find hereafter an outline of the main guidelines.


Determination of business use for company cars which are put at one’s disposal free of charge

The addendum lets taxpayers choose between 3 methods to determine the business use of their company cars:


  • The first method is based on the actually covered kilometers on the basis of an administration of all journeys for each individual car. In this administration all daily business journeys must be recorded.
  • The second method is a semi lump sum method. This method starts from a private use calculated as the sum of a pure private use – estimated at a lump sum of 6.000 km per year – and a use for commuting – calculated following the actual home-to-work distance and a lump sum of 200 working days. This private use is then compared to the total of actually covered kilometers according to the milometer.


              home-to-work x 2 x 200 + 6.000 km

 % Private use = ---------------------------------------------------------- x 100
              total number of km


  • The third method starts from a general lump sum business use determined at 35%. This method can only be applied by taxpayers having at least four vehicles. The taxpayer must apply this method during at least a period ending on 31 December of the third year following the year in which it was first applied.

If the third method is chosen, that choice applies to the entire car park. Method 1 and method 2 can be combined within the same car park. A choice must be maintained per calendar year. In addition, every year the necessary adjustments must be made based on the actual business use.

Determination of business use for company cars which have been put at one’s disposal for a consideration
When a contribution is asked from the employee for the use of the company car, the deduction of VAT on all car expenses is 50% while VAT must be paid on the contribution.

As before, the contribution must at least equal the normal value. However, the normal value is no longer based on the benefit in kind for the purposes of direct taxation. From now on, one has to start from the actual expenses. The expenses made are calculated as the costs made multiplied by the percentage of private use exceeding 50%. This implies that the business use must also be determined for such cars, whereby again one of the three above-mentioned methods can be used.

Other guidelines
The decision sets the business use of smart phones, laptops, iPads etc. at 75% and clarifies the modalities in case of the sale of a vehicle whereby the taxable base can be limited to 50%.

Entry into force
Just as for 2011, taxpayers can still opt to apply the old regime for their company cars for 2012.

But, as from 1 January 2013, the new rules will be fully applicable. We can assist you in choosing the best method and in making the necessary regularizations.


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