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It makes a big difference whether a double cab pick up is treated as Car or a Van for tax purposes, in summary:
- Benefit in Kind on Cars is linked to CO2 where as on a Van its Flat Rate (and could be zero if your private use is insignificant)
- Vans qualify for the Annual Investment Allowance, Cars have restricted Capital Allowances
- You can reclaim VAT on Vans but its much harder to reclaim VAT on cars
HMRC have some guidance in EIM23150….
Under this measure, a double cab pick-up that has a payload of 1 tonne (1,000kg) or more is accepted as a van for benefits purposes. Payload means gross vehicle weight (or design weight) less unoccupied kerb weight (care is needed when looking at manufacturers’ brochures as they sometimes define payload differently).
Under a separate agreement between Customs and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a hard top consisting of metal, fibre glass or similar material, with or without windows, is accorded a generic weight of 45kg. Therefore the addition of a hard top to a double cab pick-up with an ex-works payload of 1,010 kg will convert the vehicle into a car (net payload reduced to 965 kg). Under this agreement, the weight of all other optional accessories is disregarded. HMRC has also adopted this treatment.
A double cab with a payload in excess of 1000kg can still be classified as a car if the taxman dealing with the case decides it is a car. You may have to justify a genuine business need for the vehicle.
I spotted this case on the HMRC website the other day…
Elm Milk Ltd 2006 STC 792
A business bought a car for its managing director. It recorded a resolution that the car was for business use only. The managing director had another car that was used for private journeys.
The Court held that there was no reason why a car could not be made unavailable for private use by suitable contractual restraints, and that a company could enter into a binding employment contract with its sole director. Therefore, on the facts of the case, the car was available for business use only and input tax could be reclaimed.
The court held that HMRC had given too much weight to the physical constraints and insurance and should have focused on contractual constraints, the employment contract and board minutes.
The following case is also very interesting…
The ‘Shaw’ case
In the Shaw case the taxpayer bought two BMW X5 vehicles together, one for use in his farm business, the other for use privately. Mr Shaw also owned two other cars privately as well. HMRC [again] argued the case based on the social and domestic cover on the insurance policy, but Mr Shaw rebutted this by showing how the insurance policy for his combine harvester had ‘social, domestic and pleasure’ cover too! He added that the premiums for both the X5s and the harvester were lower as a result.
If there is No Private Use then there is no benefit in kind and no fuel scale charges.
So what should you do to prove there is no private use:
- Keep the car on the company’s business premises
- Keep the keys at the company’s business premises
- Prepare a Board Minute
- Makesure your contract of employment bans private use
- Keep a mileage log
- Insure the car principally for business use
Unlike Pool Cars you don’t have to prove it was available to other employees