Frequently asked Questions.
A novated lease is a complicated product, but we are the experts and are here to help you answer whatever questions you may have. We have compiled the most frequently asked questions we receive about novated leasing and encourage you to have a read and if unsure, call one of our savvy novated lease specialists to get started.
We are the experts so you don’t need to be!
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The term novate means to transfer from one party to another. A lease is a finance contract used to fund the purchase of a car. A novated lease is when an employee enters into a lease to purchase a car of their choice and then novates, or transfers, the lease to the employer.
The reason employers offer novated lease to their employees is connected to the tax savings and cost benefits available, when a lease is novated to and employer, many of the ownership and running costs associated with the car can be paid for in pre-tax dollars, this provides tax savings for the employee.
For an employee to obtain the benefits of a novated lease, the employer needs to implement a novated lease program. A well implemented novated lease program will cover all aspects of the novated lease including:
- Availability of relevant and detailed information to all employees
- A fully maintained novated lease which includes management of all car running and operating costs including:
- Finance costs
- Insurance & registration (including CTP)
- Maintenance and service costs
- Tyres & windscreens
- Pre and Post tax calculation to provide the ability to use an employee’s contribution to reduce Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT)
- Management of Goods & Services Tax (GST) claims in order for employees to reduce cost by GST amounts
- Compliant and accurate Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) management and reporting
- Seamless payroll interface
Novated leases are specifically for the purchase of cars as defined by the Australian Tax Office (ATO). Generally speaking, employees will purchase cars of their choice that meet lifestyle and financial budget requirements, this may include:
- New cars
- Used cars with a market value more than $10,000 and generally not older than 15 years at the conclusion of the lease
- Cars currently owned outright by the employee or with an alternate form of finance
Unfortunately, as motor bikes are not defined as a car under the ATO definition, the benefits available for a car are not available for motor bikes under a novated lease.
- Once an employee’s lease is novated to an employer, many of the costs can be paid for in pre-tax dollars. By paying costs in pre-tax dollars the employees income or PAYG tax is reduced
- Once an employee’s lease is novated to an employer, all GST can be claimed and returned to the employee, this includes GST incurred on the purchase price of the car, and all other GST incurred in the running and operating of the car not otherwise claimable by individuals
- Once the employee’s lease is novated to an employer, any FBT is reduced to zero by the use of a post-tax contribution, this is commonly known as the Employee Contribution Method (ECM).
- Once an employee’s lease is novated to an employer, all ongoing car costs and expenses are combined into one salary deduction amount for the life of the lease providing a convenient and consistent means of car cost management
- Novated leases are considered a commercial finance product and therefore commercial interest rates apply which are generally considerably cheaper the consumer and car dealer-based finance products
- Generally speaking, cars purchased using a novated lease through a novated lease provider will be purchased at “fleet “pricing, not generally available to retail buyers
- At the conclusion of the lease, having received tax savings on all costs, any profit made over and above the residual value, as determined by the ATO is tax free to the driver.
A Finance Lease is the financial product used to assist employees to fund the purchase of a car. Once the Finance Lease is in place the contract is novated or transferred to the employer, thus becoming a novated lease. A Finance lease is defined by its term of 1-5 years, it has a fixed interest rate, fixed at the time of establishment and has a residual value at the conclusion of the lease.
A Residual Value is an amount owing at the conclusion of the lease and generally represents an estimate as to the future value of the car, under a Novated Lease the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has established guidelines as to the appropriate Residual Value to be used under a Novated Lease.
Lease term (Years)
RV % of amount financed
The true effect of a residual value on a novated lease will reduce the monthly lease rental and limit the benefit of a novated lease, it is for this reason the ATO has set the aforementioned guidelines.
At the end of the lease agreement, InsideEDGE will make contact with each novated lease holder to discuss the options however, there is obligation meet the residual value liability; this can be done by any of the following options:
- Payout the residual and own the car outright
- Refinance the residual value for a further lease term
- Trade the vehicle in for which the dealer will make payment of the residual value and purchase a new vehicle. It should be noted any shortfall between the cars market value and the residual value will need to be paid by the driver and any surplus will be paid to the driver with no further tax implications.
The finance lease is an integral part of the novated lease program and is arranged by InsideEDGE.
InsideEDGE use a panel of banks and financiers, this ensures the best product, terms and interest rates available are provided at all times.
No, a majority of novated leases in Australia are for employees who have little or no business use.
Yes, whether a car is used for extensive business use, occasional business use or no business use a novated lease will provide benefits to most Australian employees. It is important to note that driving to and from work is not considered “business use”.
Generally speaking, an employer will provide an employee with a car allowance if there is an expectation of business travel to be carried out in the employee’s car. Usually the car allowance is taxed at the same rate as the employee’s salary.
A novated lease is the most effective means of spending a car allowance and receiving the tax savings available in line with the business usage.
Further consultation with an InsideEDGE Novated Leasing Specialist will provide a clear understanding of the savings available and making the most of a car allowance.
Any time an employer provides an employee with a benefit it may have FBT implications. So, when an employer allows an employee to have a novated lease there are FBT ramifications. However, InsideEDGE structure novated leases in such a way that FBT is reduced to zero. This is achieved through a detailed understanding of each employees’ circumstances and constructing each employee’s novated lease with a combination of pre-tax and post- tax deductions. Under FBT legislation when an employee makes a contribution towards a Fringe Benefit, the benefit can be reduced by that contribution, it is the post-tax contribution that brings FBT to zero.
No, whether the Novated Lease holder travels 5,000 kilometres per year or 35,000 kilometres per year a Novated Lease will deliver tax savings. In the past FBT was calculated depending on how many kilometres were travelled since 2010 this has not been the case.
During a consultation with an InsideEDGE Novated Lease Specialist a discussion will be had as to how many kilometers are travelled, this is done to provide accurate estimates to annual running costs associated with the car.
Only in circumstances of high business use and through consultation with a novated lease specialist it may be determined the keeping of a log book will deliver the best financial outcome.
InsideEDGE provide flexibility and choice when selecting a car. The novated lease allows for finance on new and used cars and include all cars, wagons, coupes, four-wheel drives and utilities with less than 1 tonne carrying capacity.
Unfortunately boats, motorbikes, trucks and caravans are not eligible as they do not meet the ATO’s definition of a motor car.
InsideEDGE financiers will provide finance on vehicles up to a maximum age of 15 years at the end of the lease period (therefore a vehicle of 9 years old can be novated for a full term of 5 years, totaling 14 at the end of the lease period or a vehicle that is 11 years old can only be leased for a maximum of 4 years).
With vehicles of this age, there may be restrictions on how many kilometers are on the vehicle odometer at the time of purchase; this is considered by the financier at the time.
The exception to this rule is in the case of classic and collectable cars, InsideEDGE has special expertise in this area and is available to discuss any options being considered.
A novated lease can be taken over any of the following periods:
- 12 months
- 24 months
- 36 months
- 48 months
- 60 months
The following car operating expenses can be included in a novated lease:
- Lease rentals
- Routine servicing, ongoing maintenance
- Replacement tyres
- Registration renewal
- Car Insurance’s (Including Comprehensive, optional GAP cover and Redundancy Lease Protection)
- Extended warranties
- Car wash and detailing if budgets have been included
- Roadside Assistance (optional)
- Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT), including option to make an Employee (post-tax) Contribution (ECM)
- Management & administration fees
- GST credits & GST (ECM) debits
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) guidelines state that the following items cannot be claimed as part of a Novated Lease:
- Parking Infringements
The operating costs for a novated lease are determined on an individual basis; the choice of car and its age, the length of the lease and the expected annual kilometers all play a vital role in the calculation of the car’s costs and therefore the budgets that are set. The budgets calculated are based on the whole of lease costs in order to anticipate all costs during the car’s ownership. Once this is achieved the budgets should not need to change during the lease unless circumstances change.
An important aspect of any car ownership is to understand all of the costs associated with ownership and running of the car, once the operating costs are calculated and the lease rental determined the appropriate post tax deduction is used to bring the FBT to zero, the remainder becomes a pre-tax deduction. These figures form the basis of the payroll deductions and are determined by the employer’s payroll cycle, be it weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
At the commencement of a novated lease, a choice of fuel cards is available to assist with the purchase of fuel:
- Ampol Card
- BP Card
- Shell Card
It should be noted that various discounts have been negotiated and are passed on in full to each novated lease holder in line with the fuel expenditure.
In order to provide an efficient and widely accepted service and maintenance program InsideEDGE utilise the Smart Fleet network. This network represents all authorised manufacturer service outlets, tyre and windscreen replacement outlets and most recognised service centres.
- When the car requires servicing as per the manufacturer handbook, the car is booked into the drivers preferred authorised service center and advises the vehicle is managed by InsieEDGE Novated Leasing via the Smart Fleet program.
- The service center will seek service and maintenance authorisation via Smart Fleet on 1300 780 097 prior to commencing any work on the vehicle; this is to protect against over servicing and over charging and reduces the risk of paying for items which would otherwise be covered under warranty or insurance (in the case of a windscreen replacement).
This is applicable for all servicing, general maintenance (including batteries) and tyre replacements and repairs.
In order to provide an efficient and widely accepted tyre purchasing service InsideEDGE utilised the Smart Fleet network. The Smart Fleet network includes most tyre retailers and service centres providing tyres. When tyres are required, the car is booked into the chosen tyre outlet, identifying the car as part of the Smart Fleet network; the outlet will then contact Smart Fleet for authorisation prior to tyres being fitted. This ensures the correct tyres are fitted in line with manufacturer’s specification. This also ensures fleet pricing is provided ensuring no overcharging occurs.
New cars are sold with a new car warranty which may vary in duration depending upon the manufacturer. An extended warranty can be purchased and is an extension of the initial manufacturer’s warranty to match lease period or ownership intentions.
Lease protection insurance is an optional insurance made available by InsideEDGE.
It provides financial protection in the event of involuntary redundancy or disability for a period of up to 6 months. The current policy also includes an option to return the vehicle with a maximum claim amount of $15,000 AUD.
A requirement of the Novated Lease is that the vehicle remains comprehensively insured at all times.
INSIDE EDGE provides Comprehensive Insurance as part of the complete novated lease program. The Comprehensive Insurance provided by InsideEDGE insurers the car is covered at all times and the premiums are paid directly by InsideEDGE.
InsideEDGE has an extensive dealer network, operating Australia wide. The dealer network provides competitive pricing and the ability to source cars from interstate and regional dealers.
Through this network, InsideEDGE can obtain the best prices on trade-in cars and dispose of old vehicles; this ensures novated drivers receive the best price on new cars and their trade-in cars.
For information relating to our car buying service and vehicle disposal, please contact InsideEDGE on 1300 551 987.
Once salary deductions are authorised by the novated lease holder InsideEDGE receives the deductions in line with the employer’s payroll cycles, weekly/fortnightly and or monthly. Upon receipt of salary deductions, InsideEDGE holds all funds in trust in anticipation of the costs related to the day to day running of the car. novated lease holders can view all deductions and expenses via the InsideEDGE portal, a username and password are emailed to each driver soon after the establishment of each novated lease.
The portal can be found at www.iedge.com.au
Reconciliation occurs at the end of the lease or upon termination; positive or credit funds are returned to the driver via payroll, negative or debit funds need to be paid by the driver.
- Annual Registration/CTP renewal
- Comprehensive Insurance Annual premium (only if not using InsideEDGE insurance policy)
- Fuel costs while waiting for fuel card/s to be issued
- Insurance excess *
Under a novated lease, as the car is owned by and registered in the lease holder’s name, the registration renewal will be sent to the lease holder’s home address. In order to ensure the car remains registered at all times, the lease holder must pay the premium and seek reimbursement from InsideEDGE via the reimbursement form found at: www.iedge.com.au
For lease holders who have chosen to arrange their own insurance, the policy and premium will be sent to the lease holders home address, this lease holder must pay the premium and seek reimbursement from InsideEDGE via the reimbursement form found at: www.iedge.com.au
It should be noted reimbursement of insurance premiums are paid once sufficient funds are held in the individual novated lease holder account
Once a novated lease is established the chosen fuel cards are ordered with the car’s registration number for identification purposes, fuel not purchased with the fuel cards can be reimbursed by InsideEDGE using the reimbursement form found at: www.iedge.com.au
At the commencement of a Novated Lease the anticipated car costs are discussed and calculated, a provision for an insurance excess is not included, however in the unfortunate event of an accident requiring an insurance claim and the payment of an excess, the excess may be claimed if there is sufficient surplus funds or if an adjustment is made to increase the deductions. Once sufficient funds have accumulated the excess can be reimbursed using the INSIDE EDGE reimbursement form found at: www.iedge.com.au
The reimbursement process is to assist novated lease holders with the ability to ensure all car costs can be included with in their novated lease. The reimbursement process is primarily used to reimburse annual car registration and insurance premiums for those novated lease holders who have chosen to source their own insurance policy. The reimbursement process is also for novated lease holders incurring expenses outside the InsideEDGE fuel and maintenance programs on an adhoc basis.
In order to obtain a reimbursement an InsideEDGE form needs to be completed and sent through to InsideEDGE at email@example.com with a copy of the tax invoice and proof of payment. The reimbursement form can be found at: www.iedge.com.au
Reimbursements are made when sufficient funds are held in the novated lease account
For example: In the case of a novate lease on a second hand car that requires a set of replacement tyres in the first month, insufficient funds will have been received to cover the cost therefore the novated lease holder will need to make payment for the tyres and be reimbursed once sufficient funds have been collected.
As mentioned above, during the consultation to establish a novated lease considerable time and expertise is provided to accurately anticipate the costs associated with the running of each car under a novated lease. The sum of the budgets forms the basis of the payroll deductions. As each payroll deduction is received by InsideEDGE, funds are held in trust and in anticipation of the costs being incurred.
Once a novate lease is established, details of an encrypted, password protected client login is sent to the novated lease holder. These details allow personal access to the InsideEDGE website and client login area. This area provides details of deductions received and costs incurred during the novated lease.
At the commencement of a novated lease the anticipated car costs are discussed and calculated and budgets are agreed, this forms the basis of the payroll deductions. Under normal circumstances the budgets will match the costs over the life of the lease. It is unusual for this to not be the case, unless there is a change in driver or driving circumstances, such as a change in kilometers being travelled due to a move in home or office location.
In the event payroll deductions are not matching expenses in either surplus or deficit a re-costing of budgets may be necessary. Re-costings can be instigated by the novated lease holder or by InsideEDGE, depending on the circumstances.
InsideEDGE will contact novated lease holders where overspending of budgeted expenses is occurring (commonly fuel and maintenance). Generally, this is as a result of underestimating the kilometers driven per year or a change in driving patterns and/or circumstances.
InsideEDGE monitors the costs and balance to make sure maximum tax benefits are being achieved without accruing negative balances within the lease account.
When an employee with a lease that is novated to their employer leaves the employment, the novation agreement is cancelled and the lease and the car become the employee’s responsibility.
When an employee leaves a current employer, it is essential InsideEDGE are notified prior to the departure. This will cancel the employer’s obligation and commence the finalisation of the novated lease account.
The employee then has three choices and InsideEDGE will assist with understanding and carrying out the appropriate options:
- Re-novate the finance lease to a new employer
- Continue with the finance lease in the employee’s name via direct debit
- Sell the car and payout the lease
Once the novation agreement has been cancelled InsideEDGE will conduct a reconciliation of the actual costs compared to the payroll deductions collected. If there is a credit amount the amount will be paid to the previous employer who will pay the employee via payroll, the amount is taxed at the employee’s marginal tax rate. Any negative balance or shortfall will need to be paid by the employee to InsideEDGE. The reconciliation may take up to 45 days to complete as outstanding fuel and maintenance invoices need to be received from all suppliers and vendors.
INSIDE EDGE will assist an employee wishing to re-Novate the lease to a new employer. If the new employer does not have an existing program, InsideEDGE will assist to implement and understand the benefits of a program to all of its employees. In the event the employer has an existing program InsideEDGE will assist to include the lease in the existing program.
In the event an employee leaves their employment and does not have a new place of employment, InsideEDGE will provide a direct debit facility to enable the employee to continue to pay the monthly lease rental until new employment is found or for the remaining obligation of the lease.
The option to sell the car and payout a lease is always an option and InsideEDGE will assist with arranging payout figures on any lease upon request.
It should be noted a lease agreement is a finance contract with a fixed rate for a fixed term and if a lease agreement is too be paid out depending at what point the termination is required the payout figure may be higher than the market value of the car, careful consideration should be given to the option to pay out a lease before its “end of contract date”.
InsideEDGE will make contact at least four to six months prior to the end of a novated lease to discuss the alternatives available.
The options available include:
- Refinancing/roll over the lease for a further period of time.
If the employee wishes to retain the car for a further period of time at the conclusion of the original lease, InsideEDGE will assist the employee to refinance/rollover the residual value for a further lease period ranging from 1-5 year, depending on ownership intentions and age of car.
- Purchasing a new car and trade-in or sell the existing car.
Prior to the end of an existing lease, InsideEDGE will assist with the purchase of a new car in the same manner as the establishment of the existing lease, while the existing lease has a residual value, InsideEDGE will negotiate to trade the car to the new car supplying dealer to ensure the maximum value is achieved, at the delivery of the new car the dealer will trade the existing car in, payout the residual value and pay any profit over and above the residual value to the employee, it should be noted in the event of the car not being worth the residual value the employee will need to make up the shortfall.
When InsideEDGE establishes a novated lease, InsideEDGE observes the minimum residual value allowable by the Aust Tax Office, under normal circumstances most employees will comfortably achieve the residual value. When the ATO minimum residual values are implemented any profit over and above the residual value is tax free to the employee.
- Payout the car
At the end of the lease the employee has the right to offer to purchase the car at the residual amount plus GST and own the car outright.
In the event an employee takes extended leave for whatever reason and is not being paid, the novation of the lease will cease and the employee will be responsible for the lease and the cars running costs.
When extended leave is being planned, through contact with InsideEDGE, it is possible to increase deductions prior to the leave in order to prepare to meet the cars costs during the leave.
At the recommencement of employment upon notification, the novation agreement will be reinstated and the benefits continue as prior to the leave.
Any time an employer provides a non-cash benefit to an employee, there is a fringe benefits tax (FBT) obligation. InsideEDGE will discuss and calculate all FBT ramifications. It is important to note that in the calculation of any novated lease InsideEDGE applies the “employee contribution method” to reduce FBT to zero.
Under FBT legislation any time an employee makes a contribution to a benefit being supplied by an employer, the contribution will reduce the fringe benefit obligation. An employee may choose to make a contribution when the tax paid on the contribution is less than the FBT rate. In calculating the benefits of a novated lease, InsideEDGE will calculate the contribution required to bring FBT to zero and articulate the overall tax benefit of the novated lease.
Under FBT legislation there are two methods used to calculate the potential FBT associated with novated leases, the “Statutory Formula Method” and the “Operating Cost Method”
Statutory Formula Method:
The most common method for calculating FBT on a novated lease car is the “Statutory Formula”. This method is used for a majority of novated leases as most employees do not use their car for business purposes. In the event the employee has no business use or occasional business use the Statutory Formula provides tax savings and no log book or kilometer justification is required.
Operating Cost Method:
In the event an employee uses their car for business purposes the Operating Cost Method may deliver the best financial outcome, the operating cost method requires a log book to be kept for 12 weeks to establish and confirm the percentage of business use. This percentage is then applied to the total operating costs of the car and the FBT is calculated on the “private” portion of the costs. InsideEDGE will consult with each employee to provide information as to the most effective way to establish each novated lease. It should be noted that driving to and from work is not considered “business use”.
It should also be noted that as InsideEDGE are not the employee’s financial advisor, all information provided should be referred to the employee’s financial advisor to ensure all circumstances have been taken into consideration.
Business use will not hinder the benefits of a novated lease.
The difference between private use and a high percentage of business use is in the method of FBT calculation as detailed above.
Novated leases with a high percentage of business use may be best advised to use the ‘Operating Cost Method’ applied to their lease calculation, whereby the FBT payable is determined based on the private use percentage of the car.
It is a requirement of this method that a log book (as per the ATO standards) be maintained to record and substantiate business and private use of the car. This is required to be done over a period of 12 weeks which must represent the cars normal usage.
A Log Book Business Use Confirmation will need to be signed by a registered Tax Agent/Accountant and/or the employer. A new log book needs to be completed at least every 5 years.
For the calculation of the FBT, detailed records of the cars actual expenses are required (including lease rental, maintenance, fuel, insurance etc), under a fully maintained novate lease with InsideEDGE this information is recorded on the employee’s behalf.
The Operating Cost method is preferable when there is higher business usage; it is determined at the time of consultation and confirmed with the provision of the completed log book.
It is important to remember that in most instances travel to and from work is considered private travel not business use.
Prior to 2011 FBT calculations under the Statutory Formula were determined by the annual kilometers travelled. The legislation was changed and one statutory rate of 20% was implemented and still prevails today.
Prior to the legislative change, there was a commonly held myth that novated leases had no benefit if a minimum of 15,000 kilometers was travelled each year. This was incorrect and while the benefit was not as great there was still a benefit albeit reduced. This scenario does not prevail today and novated leases maintain the same benefit regardless of kilometers travelled.
As part of the Federal Government’s climate policy, a bill to remove FBT from electric vehicles with low-zero emissions has been approved.
The policy removes the FBT liability on electric vehicles that are Battery Electric Vehicles or Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles, with a purchase price below $89,332 until June 2025.
The bill covers Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), not Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs).
To understand the different types of electric vehicles in the market, consult our EV reference page: iedge.com.au or call one of our novated lease specialists today on 1300 551 987.
Generally speaking, individuals are not registered for GST and therefore not able to claim GST on the purchase price or running costs of a car as an “input credit”, under a lease that is novated to an employer and as most employers are registered for GST all GST is claimable. This represents a 10% saving on all ownership and running cost of the car.
The 10% GST savings available under a novated lease is one of the key benefits to employees, not available under any other form of car finance.
Under a novated lease the GST payable on the following items can be claimed:
- On the purchase price* of the car
- Lease rentals
- Comprehensive Insurance*
- Management fees
* The GST claimable on these expenses does not reflect as a straight 10% saving due to the additional taxes included within the bottom-line amount to which GST is not applicable.
A luxury car is a new car defined by the Aust. Tax office by its price and its fuel efficiency.
Cars with a Luxury Car Tax value over the Luxury Car Tax Threshold attract a Luxury Car Tax of 33%. The Luxury Car Tax is invoiced at the time of sale by the car dealer.
Luxury Car Tax (LCT), as determined by the ATO, is a tax applied to cars over a threshold and of certain fuel efficiency. A fuel-efficient car is defined as any car with a fuel consumption of 7 litres per 100 kilometres or less. For the financial year of 2023-2024 the threshold has been lifted to $89,332.
LCT is payable alongside GST at the time of purchase.
The ATO guidelines state that an employer cannot claim the full lease rental for taxation purposes of a car with a purchase price over the Luxury Car Tax threshold.
The lease of a luxury car will be subject to Schedule 2E, Division 42A of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (ITAA 1936) which deems the lease to be a “notional sale and loan transaction”.
When an employer treats a novated lease on a luxury car as a “notional sale and loan transaction” there is an increased cost to the employer. This is as a result of the employer meeting the cost of the lease rental however unable to claim interest and depreciation as a tax deduction over and above the Luxury Car Tax threshold. It is for this reason InsideEDGE will calculate and provide a Luxury Car Tax adjustment as part of the employee’s novated lease costs, the Luxury Car Tax adjustment will offset the additional cost incurred by the employer while maintaining the maximum benefit to the employee.