FBT Exemption for Electric Cars: How to take Climate Action whilst Reducing Employees’ Tax!


The climate crisis and the cost of living are two prominent issues at the forefront of many people’s present-day concerns. The government recently introduced legislation to address the former, but if implemented properly by employers, it could also improve the latter.

As such, on 27 July 2022, the Labor Government introduced a bill to remove Fringe Benefits Tax (“FBT”) on electric and plug-in hybrid cars.

If this legislation is passed, employers should consider offering staff the ability to salary sacrifice a car. A salary sacrifice essentially means that the employee forgoes part of their monetary salary, in exchange for employee benefits, such as leasing a vehicle. When it comes to leasing an electric vehicle, not only will an employer be taking climate action, but they will also simultaneously be reducing their employees’ tax.

Here's How: 

If an employee salary sacrifice’s an electric or hybrid car that is exempt from FBT, the employee will receive substantial financial benefits. Namely:

1. Since the car will be exempt from FBT, the employee salary sacrifice (pre-tax) will comprise the lease payments and potentially the vehicle running costs. This essentially has the same outcome as if the employee were to claim 100% of the purchase cost and costs associated with operating the car as a tax deduction. This is because the employee’s taxable income will be reduced by the whole amount of the overall car expenses in the form of a salary sacrifice.

2. Secondly, the employer can claim back GST input credits, and pass this benefit onto the employee. This means the cost of the car to the employee is further reduced by this tax benefit that the employer can pass onto the employee.

3. These two points can therefore provide a substantial financial benefit to employees. For example, based on average numbers we have calculated an employee on the 37% tax rate purchasing a $50,000 car would potentially need to sacrifice $18,000 per year (being total costs of $20,000 less GST) and would save tax of potentially $7,000 per year. In this example, the car is only costing the employee $11,000 per year ($18,000 less the tax savings).

There are also additional indirect financial advantages, specifically: 

1. Businesses can increase staff retention by virtue of employee satisfaction

2. Businesses can uphold corporate social responsibility with respect to environmental consciousness, which is gaining importance in maintaining both employee and client retention.

3. It is a practical measure to address the cost-of-living pressures for employees through tax reduction. It is also worth noting that this problem has been exacerbated by rising fuel costs - another cost that employees won’t have to incur.

Eligibility Requirements

The FBT exemption will apply to vehicles that are:

  • Battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell electric or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle
  • Purchased on or after 1 July 2022
  • And below the luxury car tax threshold for fuel efficient cars, which is currently $84, 916 for the 2022/23 income year.

Learn more

If you want your business to take climate action and offer your employees the financial benefits of these proposed government incentives, get in touch with Azure Group to learn more about how you can implement the required arrangements once legislated.

Have you Have you noticed our #FridayExpertTips... here's one that relates to #Taxation

“If the proposed legislation to make electric and plug in hybrid cars exempt from Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) is passed, all employers should consider offering their staff the ability to salary sacrifice a car to reduce employees' tax. Get in touch to learn more."


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About Author

Tanya Moran
Tanya Moran

Tanya Moran is a Senior Partner and the Lead Taxation Partner of Azure Group. She has more than 20 years' experience working with a large array of businesses from small accounting firms to large international corporations.

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