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PV charging of company cars at home - Why employees can benefit

Employers are increasingly electrifying their company vehicle fleets, and employees are benefiting from the innovative change. Those who want to charge their company car with electricity from their own PV system should first clarify technical and tax issues with their employer. In this article, Inno2fleet shows why, in case of doubt, pragmatism is called for in order to simplify administration, even if reimbursement processes can turn out to be to the advantage of employees.

Read here how to implement charging the company car with your own PV electricity.

While fossil raw materials are used as leverage in wars, the world is heading for far-reaching and destructive climate impacts. To achieve self-imposed emission reduction targets, decarbonization of energy and mobility is the key to a future more independent of fossil fuels for many companies. Two trends are feeding off each other: the increased demand in the area of renewable energies, especially photovoltaic power, and the massive interest in e-mobility. Especially in times when energy is a hotly debated commodity and electricity costs are rising immensely, those who produce their own electricity and drive an electric car to boot are delighted.

Increased self-consumption of PV power can be lucrative

Private households can reap the benefits of increased self-consumption. The higher the proportion of generated PV electricity that is consumed by the household itself, the less electricity has to be purchased from the grid or fed into the grid. PV charging of the electric vehicle with a suitable smart wallbox can increase self-consumption of solar power and save money. Of course, this assumes that the vehicle is connected at the time when PV power is available. Otherwise, energy storage is necessary. In both cases, the question arises as to what employers and employees must take into account when reimbursing electricity costs if the company car is charged with PV electricity.

Electricity quantity and kWh price as basic parameters for reimbursement

The employer submits the proof of the employees' charged electricity quantities at home with his tax return. In addition, the kWh price used as a basis in each case (possibly a proportion of the basic and energy price) should be able to be presented by the employer in the event of a possible audit by the tax office by submitting the electricity supply contract or the annual electricity bill of the employees.

Automated reimbursement processes facilitate the work of fleet managers

In the status quo, employers reimburse the charging costs on the basis of the grid purchase price, which is passed on to the employer, irrespective of the electricity generation costs of the PV system on the part of the employee. In order to be able to bill according to consumption, an MiD and calibration-compliant wallbox is required. In order to make the process as simple as possible, inno2fleet recommends a smart system that automatically tracks corresponding charging processes in the background and generates monthly reports that are then available for automated reimbursement of the costs incurred. inno2fleet offers such a system. However, the question arises whether the employee should be reimbursed by the employer for the regular grid purchase price as a tax-free reimbursement of expenses (there is no trade) in view of the currently high electricity costs, while lower electricity generation costs are incurred thanks to the employee's own PV system.

Simplify processes and use grid purchase price for PV electricity rebate

A mixed calculation, which calculates the electricity production costs, including the depreciation of the PV system, means considerable additional work for employees and donors as well as for the tax administration. For the sake of effective tax administration and process-simplifying logic, the grid purchase price should therefore be used, according to some tax authorities and lawyers. The only exception is if it can be proven that it is technically impossible to charge the vehicle with electricity that is not self-produced.

Case-specific calculation of electricity generation costs necessary

But even in this case, employers are faced with the task of evaluating the individual situation of each employee individually; after all, the electricity generation price depends on the investment costs of the respective systems. This is an effort that inno2fleet cannot recommend to its customers.

Tax rule unclear

If the employer wishes to use self-produced electricity as the basis for reimbursement of expenses, he must know which standards of proof must be observed or whether a mixed calculation of self-produced and purchased electricity is recognized. This is at the discretion of the tax authorities until legally binding statements are made. The smallest possible risk for employers arises from the best possible recording of PV electricity shares using suitable hardware that complies with calibration law. An undertaking that empirically only makes sense if charging takes place during the day or at night with the help of a buffer battery that stores the PV electricity of the day.

inno2fleet helps employees and employers achieve high charging comfort at home

It is important that fleet operators have competent contacts who can deal with any questions their own employees may have on the subject of e-mobility. Inno2fleet clearly advises in its projects to obtain expertise on tax issues from the preferred auditing or tax firm. This text does NOT replace professional tax advice. For all other topics around the operational e-mobility inno2fleet is ready and helps with the implementation. From strategic consulting to the selection of hardware to the operational use at home, at work and on the road. inno2fleet electrifies fleets.

Matthias Poerting
Sustainability specialist with academic background in philosophy & economics | 4 years of consulting experience in mobility and infrastructure solutions.
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