HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has insisted that the tax benefits enjoyed by top civil servants were past of a scheme that is "quite a common practice by employers".
Responding to the Daily Telegraph's report, the department said:
– HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
We can't discuss individual cases. However, cars provided by an employer that are available for employee use are a benefit in kind for the employee and are taxable. These rules have been in place for 37 years.
Employers may choose to pay the tax due on the benefit. If so any such payment will constitute an additional benefit - which will also be taxable on the employee.
This is quite a common practice by employers and is a matter between employer and employee. HMRC makes sure all the tax due is paid.