In December, Genesis Accounting held a webinar for local government staff interested in learning more about the recently introduced FBT exemption for EV and PHEVs. There were several presenters and Riz Akhtar, CEO at Carloop, shared some interesting data showing where EVs are being garaged in NSW.
Genesis Accounting is a firm of Chartered Accountants that provide a wide range of tax consulting and tax software for councils across Australia. Pat McCarthy, Director, is an FBT specialist and works with over 130 councils around the country to help them manage this complex issue.
At the start of the webinar McCarthy explained which vehicles are eligible for the exemption and provided some examples of the ones found in most council fleets. He then provided some clarity on how the FBT exemption can be applied based on the wording in the legislation.
“Held and used” is a key phrase. It means vehicles that were delivered after 1st July 2022 are eligible. And similar wording, “the employer and the employee committed to the application or availability of the car for a period that began before 1 April 2025”, will also apply to the PHEVs which will provide confidence to fleet operators and novated lease buyers (and maybe translate to a sales rush on PHEVs in March 2025).
When announced, the Government said the FBT Exemption on EVs would last for three years with a review being conducted during the first 18 months. In McCarthy’s view, “Its ongoing until it’s not”.
The data from Carloop is being used by local governments to help them understand the demand from residents for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. There’ still some debate on the role of councils to provide residents with access to EV charging, though the data is very helpful for planning purposes.
The top 10 councils will the highest EV take-up as of November 2022 are:
- Northern Beaches Council
- City of Sydney
- Ku-ring-gai Council
- The Hills Shire
- City of Parramatta
- City of Ryde
- Blacktown City Council
- Inner West Council
- Hornsby Shire Council
- Willoughby City Council
Akhtar explained that most councils start with public charging at a Civic Centre and fleet charging at their depot. Though with growing adoption, residents will be placing more pressure on councils to support EVs, especially in LGAs with lots of apartments.
He advised against free public charging. “It needs to be a paid option,” said Akhtar. He explained that free EV charging stations get ignored, break down and are abused by EV owners as free parking spots.