Lets say I've got through the first interview, am called back in and they offer me the job (Yay!) But as part of the "package" they offer a company car.

I don't want to be hit with a tax on something that is of little-to-no benefit to myself. I don't want to have to find space to park yet another vehicle at home either.

So, should I generally be able to turn down a company car and ask for a slightly better salary?

  • 2
    Did you try and ask for that? If not...why not try first before you ask us. "Great I like that you've offered me a position but really I don't need a vehicle and would like to negotiate a better salary because of this..." – JonH Nov 3 '16 at 15:04
  • No, this is hypothetical at this point. – Alan Partridge Nov 3 '16 at 15:06
  • Cannot be answered like this, highly depended on the company itself. Why not just ask? Also is depending on your country, for example in the Netherlands, the tax is only when you use it as a private car. Only work, will have no tax impact. – RvdK Nov 3 '16 at 15:09
  • I don't get it. You are getting a free car, and the tax bothers you? – Masked Man Nov 3 '16 at 15:09
  • 1
    Is it possible? Sure. But not guaranteed. A lot will depend on the company. Why are they offering the company car? If it's something where the car has some sort of branding or that the car projects a particular corporate image, they're likely to require you to use it. If it's something that is merely a perk and the company is small, they're probably happy to negotiate salary instead. If you're dealing with a giant company, it will depend on what the HR policies are-- they may not let you explicitly trade a perk for salary. – Justin Cave Nov 3 '16 at 15:12

In the UK, companies very rarely offer you a company car unless they expect you to be doing a lot of travelling for the company. This is because in the UK company cars are taxed quite heavily, unless you are actually going to be using the company car for lots of travelling on company business.

If your job is going to involve significant travelling for business, then it may be hard to turn down the car. Companies usually offer them because it is cheaper for them to give you a car to use, and pay the costs of your using it, than it is for them to reimburse you for using your own car. If you are representing the company they may also not want you to use your own car while on company business, if it is older or quirky. They may not allow you the choice. But then you also don't want to turn the car down. It will be a low-tax perk, and any extra money you get is unlikely to be enough to pay for running your own car (remembering that you will have to pay tax also on any salary you get instead of the car).

If you are not going to be travelling for company business, then the company doesn't care about the car, they just think of it as a perk. It should be easy to turn down the car, and get some money in return. It may not be as much as you would like, because companies can get cars very cheap if they are managing a fleet of them.

By the way, when you say things like "I don't want to have to find space to park yet another vehicle at home either", what most people do when they get a company car is to sell one of their other vehicles. You can almost always use your company car for personal reasons - you don't need to have more cars than you would otherwise want, just because one is company owned.

So the obvious answer is to ask when it comes to salary negotiation time. Then, if the company is OK with you not having the company car, decide if the extra money is worth it.

| improve this answer | |

First of all, "getting a company car" usually means the company purchases a car and assigns it to you. The company still owns the car, takes care of insurance and maintenance, etc. Naturally, they'd pay the taxes on it.

(This is NOT the same as winning a car in a lottery, where you're stuck paying taxes on it).

Since they expect you to drive a lot and possibly drive customers, it's likely you'd get a nicer car than you might buy for yourself. Also, if your job involves a lot of driving, wouldn't it be better to put all that wear and tear on their car?

To answer your question, when you're negotiating salary you can certainly suggest passing on the car for higher wages. Just consider that the money for salaries and the money for cars may come out of separate budgets which would make this tradeoff difficult. Also, if you do succeed at this, don't expect to be able to change your mind 3 months later.

| improve this answer | |
  • I should have asked - which country is this? My answer is US centric - other parts of the world may be different. – Dan Pichelman Nov 3 '16 at 15:14
  • In the Netherlands you will have to pay tax if you use a Company car privately. If you only use it for company related things, you won't. – RvdK Nov 3 '16 at 15:14
  • It is UK, but \i think the taxation is similar, also to the Nederlands. – Alan Partridge Nov 3 '16 at 15:20
  • Yes, in the UK you have to pay tax on a company car, UNLESS the use of it is mainly for work. – DJClayworth Nov 3 '16 at 15:27
  • Note that often a company car comes with a fuel card. If you don't take the company car, chances are they won't refund the fuel for your private vehicule – Jeremy Nov 3 '16 at 15:36

UK based...

The tax will be at the highest rate you pay, based on the proposed benefit of the car, where you have access to the car for personal use.

Yes, you can decline a car and opt for salary (pretty standard) or other benefits.

EDIT Be aware that driving to and from the office is personal use. HMRC will consider the car a benefit whether you like it or not

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks John - Yes that commuting bit is exactly what i want to avoid - i have a perfectly good (and far better) car already!!! – Alan Partridge Nov 3 '16 at 15:25
  • It's not "where you have access to the car for personal use" but "unless the main use of the car is for business". Occasional personal use is fine, I believe. – DJClayworth Nov 3 '16 at 15:42
  • @DJClayworth Not quite – JohnHC Nov 3 '16 at 16:34

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .