The recent Coca-Cola case suggests double cab pick-ups are now to be treated as cars; is this right or wrong? I am interested in the recent Court of Appeal decision in Coca Cola regarding whether certain vehicles are vans or cars. The case was reported and discussed recently by the ATT. The article might be read as suggesting that all vehicles with side windows and seats behind the driver should be treated as cars and not as vans. The writer points to HMRC’s Employment Income manual at EIM 23110 as HMRC’s view. The writer is not explicit on the point, but such a view would suggest that double cab pick-ups are now also to be treated as cars. However, HMRC guidance at EIM23150 explicitly points to double cab pick-ups being treated as vans, and HMRC have not changed their interpretation since the Coca Cola case began in the First-tier Tribunal. It seems to me therefore that nothing has changed regarding double cab pick-ups that meet the one tonne payload threshold. Any thoughts?
Arthur Weller replies:
If you look at this article on AccountingWeb, it indicates the Court of Appeal decided that a vehicle primarily suited to carrying goods qualifies as a van, whereas a vehicle that is multi-purpose and equally capable of carrying goods or people does not qualify as a van. The tax rules are more lenient for a van than a car, so it is to the advantage of HMRC to classify a vehicle as a car and not as a van. With regard to the references to the HMRC manual that you mention, I would suggest that HMRC have simply been slow at updating those pages, but they will eventually get round to it. Practically speaking, HMRC will almost certainly treat these vehicles as cars.