Can I claim car finance on my tax return?

Roman Danaev

31 August 2023

Curious about whether car finance payments tax-deductible or not? You're in luck. If you're a business owner or self-employed and using the car for business purposes, your car finance payments could be tax-deductible. This means you could lower your taxable income and get relief on your car loan or finance agreement. Remember, proper record-keeping is vital, and it's always wise to consult a tax professional for personalised guidance. Let's help you make smart car finance decisions while maximising tax benefits.

How much of my car payment is tax-deductible?

When it comes to your car finance payments, understanding what's tax-deductible can be a game-changer. In the UK, if you're using the car for business purposes, you can usually claim a portion of your car finance payments as a tax deduction. This tax relief is based on the business use of the vehicle. The percentage you can claim depends on how much you use the car for business compared to personal use. It's wise to keep detailed records of your business mileage, payments, and expenses to ensure accurate claims. If you're unsure about the amount that's tax-deductible, seeking advice from a tax expert can provide clarity and help you maximise your tax benefits.


Let's break down how the tax-deductible aspect of car payments works in the UK with a simple example. Say you're a self-employed graphic designer who uses your car for both business and personal reasons. You've been making monthly car finance payments of £300.

Throughout the year, you've tracked your mileage and found that 60% of your total miles driven were for business-related purposes, such as meeting clients and attending design workshops. This means that out of your £300 monthly payment, you could potentially claim 60% as a tax deduction.

In this scenario, your tax-deductible amount would be:

£300 (monthly payment) × 60% (business use) = £180

This £180 could be deducted from your taxable income, which can have a positive impact on the amount of tax you owe. However, it's important to keep accurate records to support your claim, including mileage logs, payment receipts, and any other relevant expenses.

When can you deduct car loan interest from your taxes?

Unlocking the potential of car loan interest deductions can bring welcome tax relief. This guide simplifies the eligibility criteria for you to claim tax relief on these deductions, ensuring you make informed decisions whether you're a business owner or an individual.

Are you self-employed?

If you're self-employed and your car serves your business endeavours, you could be in line to deduct car loan interest. This applies whether you've fully paid for the car or are financing it. Keeping accurate records of your business-related mileage and expenses is pivotal for a smooth claim process.

Are you buying the car for personal use?

When purchasing a car purely for personal use, it's worth noting that car loan interest isn't typically eligible for tax deductions. While there might be exceptional scenarios, seeking advice from a tax specialist is the prudent path to take.

Are you buying the car for business purposes?

Opting for a car for business activities can open doors to potential tax deductions for the interest on your car loan. Remember, the car must predominantly serve business-related functions, and meticulous tracking of your business mileage and expenses is crucial.

Are you buying the van for business purposes?

Vans intended for business activities often enjoy preferential tax treatment. When procuring a van primarily for business use, you can usually deduct the interest on the loan from your taxable income. Methodical record-keeping is paramount to substantiate your claim.

Understanding the circumstances under which car loan interest qualifies for tax deductions empowers you to make sound financial choices. Remember, tailored advice from a tax professional is invaluable for addressing your unique situation.

HMRC rules

Understanding HMRC's guidelines can shed light on the tax implications of car finance. Let's delve into key aspects to consider when it comes to capital allowances, types of allowances, personal use, and cars provided to employees.

1. Capital allowances

HMRC allows you to claim the cost of a car as a capital allowance. This means you can subtract a portion of the car's value from your business profits before calculating tax, effectively reducing your tax liability. For HMRC to classify a vehicle as a "car," it should not be designed for transporting goods and should be suitable for private use.

100% First-year allowances:

  • New electric cars or 0g/km CO2 emissions (from April 2021)
  • New electric cars or ≤50g/km CO2 emissions (Apr 2018 - Apr 2021)
  • New electric cars or ≤75g/km CO2 emissions (Apr 2015 - Apr 2018)
  • New electric cars or ≤95g/km CO2 emissions (Apr 2013 - Apr 2015)
  • New electric cars or ≤110g/km CO2 emissions (Apr 2009 - Apr 2013)

Main rate allowances:

  • Second-hand electric cars or ≤50g/km CO2 emissions (from April 2021)
  • Second-hand electric cars or ≤110g/km CO2 emissions (Apr 2018 - Apr 2021)
  • Second-hand cars or ≤130g/km CO2 emissions (Apr 2015 - Apr 2018)
  • Second-hand cars or ≤130g/km CO2 emissions (Apr 2013 - Apr 2015)
  • Second-hand cars or ≤160g/km CO2 emissions (Apr 2009 - Apr 2013)

Special rate allowances:

  • New and second-hand cars >50g/km CO2 emissions (from April 2021)
  • New and second-hand cars >110g/km CO2 emissions (Apr 2018 - Apr 2021)
  • New and second-hand cars >130g/km CO2 emissions (Apr 2015 - Apr 2018)
  • New and second-hand cars >130g/km CO2 emissions (Apr 2013 - Apr 2015)
  • New and second-hand cars >160g/km CO2 emissions (Apr 2009 - Apr 2013)

2. Types of allowance

The rate of allowance you can claim hinges on two factors: the purchase date and the CO2 emissions. These factors determine whether you're eligible for first-year, main rate, or special rate allowances.

You can check your car’s CO2 emissions using the UK Government’s tool.

3. Declare personal use

When the car is used for non-business purposes, your claimable amount is contingent on the ratio of business use versus personal use.

4. Cars for employees

If you provide a car for an employee, you can claim capital allowances on the entire cost. If the employee uses the car for personal purposes as well, additional considerations may apply, possibly necessitating its declaration as a benefit.

How to claim a car loan on taxes

Claiming a tax deduction for your car loan involves a straightforward process tailored to your situation. Here's how to navigate it, using the provided words and phrases.

The method for claiming car finance on your tax return hinges on your individual circumstances. Should uncertainty arise, consult HMRC guidelines or enlist the aid of a skilled accountant.

  1. Sole traders usually claim capital allowances via their self-assessment tax return.
  2. For those in a business partnership, completing a partnership tax return could be necessary.
  3. Limited companies generally fill out a company tax return, which includes distinct capital allowance calculations

How to reduce tax cost on car finance

Minimising your tax costs while financing a car is achievable with strategic steps. Let's explore how to do just that, incorporating the provided terms and phrases.

1. Opt for business use

Using the car predominantly for business activities can open doors to claim tax relief. Ensure your vehicle aligns with the criteria set by HMRC for business use.

2. Keep accurate records

Maintain meticulous records of your business mileage, payments, and expenses. These records substantiate your claim and help maximise your deductions.

3. Understand capital allowances

Familiarise yourself with the concept of capital allowances. These allow you to deduct a portion of the car's value from your taxable profits, reducing your tax bill.

4. Choose wisely

When picking a car for business, consider factors like CO2 emissions and purchase date. These influence the type of allowance you can claim.

5. Separate personal use

Be mindful of personal use. Ensure your claims reflect the actual portion of business use to avoid incorrect deductions.

6. Seek professional help

To navigate complexities, consult an accountant or tax specialist. They can provide tailored advice and help you complete the necessary tax documents accurately.

7. Use tax-efficient structures

Depending on your business setup, consider whether being a sole trader, part of a business partnership, or operating as a limited company could impact your tax position.

8. Claim with confidence

When filing your tax return, confidently claim your deductions. Attach your documented evidence for a smooth process.

By following these steps, you can strategically reduce your tax costs while financing a car. Remember, personalised guidance from professionals ensures you make the most of available tax benefits.

What type of accounting do you use?

Understanding the accounting approach that suits your business is crucial. Here's an overview of traditional accounting, cash basis accounting, and simplified expenses, integrating the provided words and phrases.

Traditional accounting

In traditional accounting, income and expenses are recorded based on the date of customer billing. This means you could invoice a customer near a tax year's end and include it in that year's taxable income, even if you receive payment in the following year. You're eligible to claim capital allowance on your car's purchase cost or finance repayments under this method.

Cash basis accounting

Cash basis accounting differs by recording income upon receipt, not invoice date. Using this method, the income from the example scenario would be recorded in the current tax year, not the previous one. Those opting for cash-based accounting can also claim capital allowance for car costs.

Simplified expenses

Some business owners prefer simplified expenses with flat rates for car and vehicle costs. They record business mileage throughout the tax year and include flat rate amounts in the Self Assessment tax return's end. However, using simplified expenses means you can't claim the car cost as a capital allowance.

Selecting the right accounting method aligns with your business needs and tax strategy. Remember that professional advice is invaluable in making the best decision for your financial management.

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