Electric refueling’ at the employer's expense

Electric refueling at the employer's expense

Employees who receive a company car from their employer are taxed on a benefit in kind. The calculation is based on the list price of the vehicle. If the employer also provides a fuel card with the car, this has no impact on the calculation of the benefit in kind. But what if the employee refuels electricity at the employer's expense?

Fossil fuel

In the case of a classic diesel or petrol car, the benefit in kind depends on the list price, CO2 emissions and the age of the vehicle. Whether or not a fuel card is issued has no impact on the calculation of the benefit in kind. With the current high fuel prices, this is a bonus that should not be underestimated.

However, there is a difference between the car 'with' and the 'without' fuel card: car expenses are only deductible for taxpayers to a certain extent. For company cars, it is specifically stipulated that the employer is taxed on a disallowed expenses' amounting to 17% of the benefit, but for fuel costs with respect to the private use of a company car the disallowed expenses amount to 40%.

It should always be considered that a benefit in kind only exists and therefore leads to limited deductibility – to the extent that the employee uses the vehicle for private purposes. This does not only apply to real private trips, such as taking the children to school or weekend trips with the family. Also the employee's travel to work is no professional use for the employer. Even if the employee only makes commuting trips, there still is a taxable benefit in kind.


The minister was recently asked about the tax consequences of refueling at the employer's expense with an electric company car. 
The minister distinguishes several options.

1. Refueling electricity at the company

A first possibility is that the employee may charge at the charging stations that the company has installed itself. According to the minister, this does not provide any additional benefit in kind. The green mobility law, which is currently still being prepared, also provides important incentives to install such charging stations.

2. 'Tank card' for electric refueling

It is also conceivable that you provide the employee with a card allowing to charge at public charging stations. Even then there is no advantage/benefit in kind.

3. Refuel at home at your own charging station

If the employee has a charging station at home, he charges at his own expense. We can imagine that the employer would compensate the employee for this. However, this compensation is regarded as a benefit in kind and is, in principle, fully taxable.

The only exception to this is if the electric car is used exclusively for business purposes, and therefore not for private trips or for commuting.

Possibly, a pro rata calculation can be made: if you can demonstrate the mileage you drive in the form of business trips compared to the total mileage, you can get an exemption for the business part.

4. Refuel at home at the employer's charging station

Another possibility is that the charging station is installed by the employer. In that case it is possible that the charging does not triggers any additional benefit in kind. Therefore, two conditions should be fulfilled: the charging station communicates with the employer about the electricity consumption and the car policy provides for a refund of the expenses.

Disallowed expenses

Electricity is also fuel and for that reason the electricity 'made available' to drive the vehicle, as with the more traditional fuels, leads to disallowed expenditure amounting to 40% of the fuel costs.

The minister also clarifies that it is not the intention that the amount of the benefit in kind would be valued as a lump sum.

However, this is not that strange. The dynamics of electricity consumption is completely different from conventional fuels. Smart charging stations allow the employee to charge the car when it suits him or her: e.g. in sunny weather. In addition, the charged car battery can also be used as a battery to mitigate household electricity consumption. This is not at all about malicious intent of the employee, but about smart charging stations and batteries that seek and obtain electricity where it is available.

The system proposed by the minister therefore only seems possible if the charging station is not too smart.