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Half of employers unprepared for company car tax changes

Almost half of senior managers in Britain are unprepared for the changes to company car taxes, which come into force this week.

According to research by fleet management firm LeasePlan UK and conducted by YouGov, many senior managers who have decision-making responsibilities for company cars said their businesses have not changed their fleet policy in preparation for the incoming tax rules.

Under today's changes, if a business has not properly prepared for the cost of a company car, it is likely to face problems due to tightening of the CO2 thresholds used to calculate a number of tax allowances.

More than half (51%) of senior managers questioned in the poll agreed that the new tax changes would place further financial strain on their business, with more than a third (38%) saying they would be interested in guidance on how to manage the new legislation.

When asked whether they believed that life was harder or easier for business drivers now, compared to 12 months ago, almost half (47%) said it was "harder" or "a lot harder".

In a separate survey by LeasePlan, business drivers also expressed concern about the changes, with 37% saying they would benefit from guidance on how to minimise the effects of the change in legislation. Despite the significance of the tax changes, almost nine in 10 (89%) of the same group said they were unaware of the incoming legislation.

David Brennan, managing director, LeasePlan said: "These tax changes have been introduced with the laudable intention of promoting the adoption of lower-emitting vehicles.

"However our research shows that fleet managers and drivers may not be aware of, or adequately prepared for the specific tax impact these measures may have on their business.

"The research has made it clear that there is an appetite for specialist advice around understanding these technical measures, and if explained properly, there is no need for companies to fear the impact upon their fleets."

In the Budget last month, chancellor George Osborne announced the 'First Year Allowance' (FYA) for businesses purchasing the lowest emissions vehicles will be extended until March 2015.