1 The Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme for energy-saving technologies
2 Boost your cash flow Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECAs) are a straightforward way for a business to improve its cash flow through accelerated tax relief. The ECA scheme for energy-saving technologies encourages businesses to invest in energy-saving plant or machinery specified on the Energy Technology List (ETL) which is managed by the Carbon Trust on behalf of Government. The ECA scheme provides businesses with 100% first year tax relief on their qualifying capital expenditure. The ETL specifies the energy-saving technologies that are included in the ECA scheme. The scheme allows businesses to write off the whole cost of the equipment against taxable profits in the year of purchase. This can provide a cash flow boost and an incentive to invest in energy-saving equipment which normally carries a price premium when compared to less efficient alternatives. So if your business pays corporation tax at 30%, every 1,000 spent on qualifying equipment would reduce its tax bill in the year of purchase by 300. In contrast, for every 1,000 spent, the generally available capital allowance for spending on plant and machinery 1 would reduce your business s tax bill in the year of purchase by 75. In other words, an ECA can provide a cash flow boost of 225 for every 1,000 it spends in the year of purchase 2. Improve your bottom line Businesses are often tempted to opt for lowest cost equipment. However, such immediate cost savings can prove to be a false economy. Considering the life cycle cost before investing in equipment can help enhance the cash flow benefits still further. Investing in energy-saving equipment can reduce running costs through increased efficiency, lower energy bills and reduced Climate Change Levy payments, which in turn helps reduce payback periods. So the next time you re thinking about a capital investment in plant or machinery, think life cycle cost not lowest cost. 1 25% a year on the reducing balance basis. 2 ECAs provide 100% tax relief, so there is no further tax relief in later years. The general rate of capital allowances does not provide 100% tax relief so there is a balance of spending to carry forward on the reducing balance basis for relief in later years.
3 Make sure you invest in new equipment which qualifies for the ECA 1. Check it s on the Energy Technology List The Energy Technology List (ETL) is comprised of two lists; the energy technology criteria list (ETCL) and energy technology product list (ETPL). The ETCL presents the energysaving performance criteria that ECA qualifying equipment must meet. Whereas the ETPL is a register of products that have been assessed as being compliant with ETCL criteria. Lighting and pipework insulation equipment are not listed on the ETPL; spending on lighting and pipework insulation plant and machinery which meets the appropriate criteria in the ETCL can qualify for an ECA. Businesses should therefore seek confirmation from their lighting or pipework insulation installer that the equipment complies with ETCL criteria prior to purchase. Component based automatic monitoring and targeting (AMT) equipment and combined heat and power (CHP) equipment are also not listed on the ETPL. However, in these instances businesses are required to verify ECA compliance by having their equipment design assessed and a DEFRA certificate of energy-efficiency issued. Further information on how to do this can be found at the ECA scheme website at For all other technologies, products are listed on the ETPL. The ETPL lists over 14,000 energy-saving products and you can check to see if your purchase qualifies by visiting Look out for the ETL symbol when procuring new equipment. The symbol shows that a product has been independently assessed against published criteria and is on the ETPL. Authorised User No. xxxxx Always remember to ask sales people about the ECA scheme and ETL. Does the equipment you are considering buying qualify for an ECA? Is it on the ETL? 2. Complete your business tax return Capital allowances and ECAs are claimed in a business s tax return. For tax purposes, your business also needs to keep records of the purchase of plant and machinery, including energy-saving equipment. Claiming capital allowances and ECAs is straightforward but it s worthwhile talking to your business s accountant at an early stage to let them know that your business has incurred qualifying expenditure. The accountant can let you know what records they need you to provide so that they can complete your business s tax return. Your business can claim an ECA on the cost of qualifying equipment, transportation of the equipment to the site and for direct installation costs. For more information visit Her Majesty s Revenue and Customs website at
4 3. Start saving from day one Purchasing ETL qualifying equipment can improve cash flow and lead to cost savings quicker than you think. Such equipment may not be as costly as you first thought. Consider the example given, if your business had the choice of purchasing either ETL qualifying equipment that costs 10,000 or equipment that does not qualify for the ETL costing 9,000, which would you choose? Both products provide the same basic functionality. The ETL qualifying equipment uses less energy to do the same job but has a price premium of 1,000. Most businesses would be tempted to opt for the lowest capital cost option, however, by utilising an enhanced capital allowance the net cost to your business for the ETL qualifying equipment would be 7,000 3, whereas for the non-etl qualifying equipment it would be 8, In short, in this example, the ECA bridges the price premium. This means, in the year of purchase, in net cost terms, the equipment that does not qualify for the ETL is actually 1,325 more expensive. In this example the total cost of ownership (including all available tax relief over a nine year period) for the ETL energy-saving equipment amounts to 126,460 compared to 180,212 for the non-etl equipment. That is a projected cumulative energy and climate change levy saving of 54,300. Comparison of the tax benefit, energy and climate change levy cost between ETL equipment and non-etl equipment Capital cost ( ) 11,000 10, } Price premium 1 Total capital expenditure Potential savings Year ETL equipment remaining capital expenditure ECA tax relief on ETL equipment Non-ETL equipment remaining capital expenditure Capital allowance tax relief on non-etl equipment ETL equipment cumulative energy and CCL cost Non-ETL equipment cumulative energy and CCL cost 200, , , , , ,000 80,000 60,000 40,000 20,000 0 Energy and climate change levy cost ( ) 3 Available tax relief would be 10,000 x 100% tax relief x 30% corporate tax = 3,000. Assumes a corporate tax rate of 30%. 4 Available tax relief would be 9,000 x 25% tax relief x 30% corporate tax = 675. Assumes a corporate tax rate of 30%.
5 What technologies qualify? If your business is thinking of investing in energy-saving plant or machinery then the following technologies are specified in the ETL. The ETL is periodically reviewed and technologies can be added or removed. Within each technology area there can be multiple sub-technologies. Air-to-air energy recovery Automatic monitoring and targeting (AMT) Boiler equipment Combined heat and power (CHP) Compressed air equipment Compact heat exchangers Lighting Motors and drives Pipework insulation Radiant and warm air heaters Refrigeration equipment Solar thermal systems Heat pumps for space heating Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) zone controls For more information visit Energy Technology List ECA SCHEME
6 Find out more about ECAs and the ETL Information for purchasers For businesses with questions about the ECA scheme or the ETL please visit or contact the Carbon Trust Advice Line on or For tax enquiries relating to the ECA scheme, please contact Nick Williams at HM Revenue & Customs on , or or visit eca-guidance.htm Information for manufacturers or suppliers Manufacturers or suppliers wishing to list products on the ETL should visit Alternatively, contact the ETL Product Administrator on or Energy-efficiency loans Small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in England and Scotland, or all businesses in Wales that have been trading for at least 12 months, could borrow from 5,000 to 100,000*. It is unsecured, interest-free and repayable over a period of up to 4 years. There are no arrangement fees and applying is straightforward. However, all businesses based in Northern Ireland that have been trading for at least 12 months may be eligible to apply for an unsecured interest-free loan from 5,000 up to 200,000*. For more information visit *Subject to eligibility. Regional variations apply. The Carbon Trust The Carbon Trust works with UK business and the public sector to create practical business-focused solutions through its external work in five complimentary areas: Insights, Solutions, Innovations, Enterprises and Investments. Together these help to explain, deliver, develop, create and finance low carbon enterprise. To find out more call the Carbon Trust Advice Line on or visit The Carbon Trust is a private company set up by government in response to the threat of climate change, to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy. The Carbon Trust is funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Scottish Executive, the Welsh Assembly Government and Invest Northern Ireland. The Carbon Trust manages the ETL and promotes the ECA scheme on behalf of the Government. This information is being made available to you as part of the Carbon Trust s general activity of promoting deployment of, and investment in, low carbon technology. The Carbon Trust does not give investment advice and you must take your own view on the merits of, and the risks attached to, any investment decision you may undertake. You may wish to obtain professional advice. Whilst the Carbon Trust has taken reasonable steps to ensure that the information contained in this publication is correct, it gives no warranty and makes no representation as to its accuracy and accepts no liability for any errors or omissions. Nothing in this publication is intended to or should be interpreted as an endorsement of, or recommendation for, any supplier, service or product. Any trademarks, service marks or logos used in this publication and copyright in it are the property of the Carbon Trust. Nothing in this publication shall be construed as granting any licence or right to use or reproduce any of the trademarks, service marks, copyright or the Carbon Trust s proprietary information in any way without the Carbon Trust s prior written permission. The Carbon Trust enforces infringements of its intellectual property rights to the full extent permitted by law. The Carbon Trust is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England and Wales Number Registered at 8th Floor, 3 Clement s Inn, London, WC2A 2AZ. Printed on paper containing a minimum of 75% de-inked post-consumer waste. Published in the UK: May The Carbon Trust All rights Reserved ECA272
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