Your recent article entitled ‘Company car system faces chaos’ (page 1, 16 August), gives a misleading impression.

I would like to reassure readers by explaining the situation relating to CO2 data for purposes of the new company car tax.

The new system for taxing company cars will link the tax charge to the car’s CO2 emissions instead of the business mileage.

Briefly, finding the right CO2 figure is straightforward for cars first registered from March 2001 as it is almost always shown in the car registration document (V5).

For cars registered between 1 January, 1998 and 28 February, 2001 employers (or company car drivers) can use the database the Revenue has commissioned from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). (For company cars first registered before 1 January, 1998 engine size is being used as a proxy for CO2 levels.) It can be found at

Single enquiries are free of charge. For multiple enquiries and those who require the whole database SMMT will make a charge. Details of costs are shown in the fleet contract form, which can be accessed from the introduction page for the CO2 database on the SMMT’s website.

We have asked employers to send us CO2 figures by the end of this year voluntarily so that we can get employees’ tax codes right under the new system before April 2002.

Incorrect tax codes would mean people paying too much tax, or worse, possibly being presented with a bill at the end of the year. We expect employers to take reasonable care to find accurate CO2 figures by identifying the car model correctly.

If reasonable care has been taken to identify the car and its CO2 emissions figure, employers should not worry if it later turns out the figure was not exactly right. So long as they can explain to us how they got the figure (a printout would be fine) we will be content.

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