A car lease is a commercial finance product that enables a client to have the use of a vehicle along with the benefits of ownership while the financier retains actual ownership.
The financier purchases the vehicle on behalf of the client, who then leases it from the financier. The client pays a fixed monthly lease rental for the term of the lease.
At the end of the lease, the client can pay the residual to the financier and take ownership of the vehicle, trade it in or refinance the residual and continue the lease.
Car leasing is suitable for companies, partnerships, sole traders and individuals where the leased vehicle is used for income-producing purposes. GST is charged on the monthly lease rental and on the residual value at the end of the lease.
Where the amount financed is below the depreciation limit, the customer claims the lease rental as a tax deduction. Above the depreciation limit, interest charges on the lease and depreciation (up to the value of the depreciation limit) can be claimed. Vehicle leasing has the advantages of:
- flexible contract terms ranging from two to five years
- fixed interest rate and monthly lease payments
- ease of budgeting by calculating costs in advance
- ability to lower repayments by adjusting residual
- tax reduction
- lower monthly payments on the car value because the GST is claimed back by the financier
- flexibility of making advance lease payments for tax deduction or cash-flow purposes
- lower interest rates by securing the lease against the vehicle.
A novated lease is a three-way agreement between the employer, employee and the lender. The employer, employee and financier sign a novation agreement whereby the employer agrees to take on the employee’s obligations under the lease. Under this arrangement, the employer makes the monthly lease payments on behalf of the employee. Should the employee leave his or her employment for any reason, the novation agreement ceases and the obligations assumed by the employer revert to the employee.
The choice of vehicle remains with the employee. The employer deducts a portion of the vehicle financing and running costs from the employee’s pre-tax income, reducing the employee’s taxable income and the amount of tax payable. There is no need for the employee to do anything on their tax returns as the employer and lender attend to this.
If a vehicle is purchased using another form of finance, 100% of the costs will be taken from after tax income, providing no tax benefit at all. With the option of a fully maintained lease, vehicle running costs such as maintenance, registration, insurance costs and projected fuel can also be included in regular salary deductions.
Allied Leasing can also assist with finding the right vehicle as well as offering fleet discounts on the purchase price and running costs.