Similar to company cars, pool cars are made available to employees to execute day-to-day duties. However, pool car rules differ from company vehicles significantly and are subject to different regulations.
Companies provide pool cars expecting employer compliance with rules guiding use of such vehicles. However, this fails to happen sometimes, and reports of workers misusing pool vehicles are common.
Pool car misuse causes problems for companies and fleet managers. HM Royal Customs punishes abuse of pool cars — it could even sanction erring businesses. Thus, it’s very important to have a clear company policy guiding pool car use to protect your business.
Consequences of Misusing Pool Vehicles
Businesses prefer pool cars because they are not subject to various taxes unlike company vehicles. However, the consequences attached to misuse of pool cars are great. Here are some sanctions HMRC can impose on companies whose employees flout pool car rules:
- Fines: If company employees use pool cars outside of limits stated in the guidelines, HMRC can impose up to £3,000 in fines per employee.
- Collection of owed taxes: When a company describes a vehicle as a “pool car”, the vehicle is automatically exempt from benefit-in-kind charges and National Insurance taxes. However, if it becomes obvious that the said vehicle is a pool car only in name, HMRC will slam the erring company with a tax evasion offence.
By law, the agency is allowed to collect charges owed on a company car up to six years back. This involves paying unpaid taxes and unpaid national insurance charges. HMRC may also collect lost interests on those sums and impose late payment fines.
Download our Guide: Informing HMRC about Switching to a Pool Car
Ways Pool Vehicles Can Be Misused
According to HMRC pool car rules are as follows: more than one employee must use a pool car and these individuals must not use the pool car for significant private activity.
If an employee prevents others from using a pool car, that counts as misuse; all pool cars should be free for use by any employee. In addition, employees using pool vehicles for private engagements directly contravene pool car rules.
An employee taking a pool car home overnight also flouts regulations; pool cars must be left parked on company premises overnight. Exceptions exist, though. For example, you may allow an employee to park the car overnight if he has to start a long business trip early the next morning.
How To Stop Misuse of Pool Vehicles
For fleet managers, misuse of pool vehicles is a big issue. The best way to prevent pool car misuse is to enlighten employees on the consequences of misusing pool cars. This could deter them from attempting to violate pool car rules.
Sanctioning erring employees can also help reduce instances of employees breaking pool car rules. Some companies have resorted to dismissing workers found to have flouted pool vehicle regulations.
Using a combination of car tracking and vehicle logging will also ensure employees give correct reports of their pool car use.
Read more: Creating a Company Car Contract
Following Pool Car Rules
HMRC guidelines surrounding usage of pool vehicles can be quite confusing as they have many caveats attached to them. However, for the sake of summary, here are the main rules:
- Pool cars must always stay parked on the company premises overnight. Employees must not leave pool cars parked at their homes, except after seeking permission.
- All employees are entitled to use pool cars. Designating a said pool car for use by an employee and prohibiting others from using it voids the vehicle of “pool car” status.
- No employee should use pool cars for private engagements.
Can Fleet Tracking Promote Greater Accountability Among Drivers?
Fleet tracking is one of the best ways of promoting accountable use of pool vehicles. Typically, fleet tracking systems help ensure safety of drivers, decrease overhead costs, and increase efficiency.
Further, fleet tracking software can also tell where employees drive to in their pool cars. Thus, it is easy to identify employees who use vehicles for purposes other than company trips.
Read more: A Slow GPS is A Useless GPS – How Often Does Vimcar’s GPS Update Its Position?
Companies can complement fleet tracking with vehicle logging. Ask employees to give reports on their trip itinerary and compare such reports with information from the fleet tracking system.
However, it is also important to let employees know you will track pool vehicles to ensure proper use. After this, you must choose a fleet tracking software that is cost effective and user friendly.
This is where Vimcar’s fleet tracking system comes into play. Vimcar’s fleet tracking product provides real-time vehicle tracking, route information, geofencing, and other features that help you eliminate pool vehicle misuse.
Check out all the additional features Vimcar can offer here
Want advice on how to better manage your fleet? Our fleet experts can give you a free consultation!
At Vimcar, we recognise problems posed by improper use of pool cars. With our fleet tracking software, you need not worry about workers breaking pool car rules.
Set clear rules to guide pool car use among employees. Make these rules known to employees and ensure they understand the consequences of breaking these rules. This way, you’ll save your business thousands in fines while enhancing employee productivity.