The P11d benefits on company vans are generally much lower than company cars and where private use of the van is merely incidental to its business use by the employee, then there is no taxable benefit at all. But when is a van not a van?
In a recent tax tribunal case, the judge agreed that a VW Kombi van that had been converted so that it had two rows of seats for passengers was a company car not a van.
Under the employee benefit rules, a van is a vehicle where its primary construction is for the conveyance of goods or burden. Kombi vans and those similar have not previously been thought to fall into this category due to them being designed to carry both goods and people. Historically, HMRC has offered a concession from 2002/2003 onwards for vehicles of a very similar construction, double cab pickups (including both uncovered and covered models), if the payload capacity of the pickup exceeds a metric tonne. HMRC accepts that these vehicles can be treated as a van for benefit in kind purposes. The judge decided that the primary construction of the kombi van was not for the conveyance of goods alone but rather that its purpose was for the conveyance of both goods and people equally. This means that the Kombi did not meet the requirement to be considered to be a van and therefore for benefit in kind purposes it was a car. The same judge however decided that Vauxhall Vivaro vans converted so that they had two rows of seats were vans!
Similar rules apply for VAT purposes so contact us first if you want to check the correct tax treatment of the vehicle you are planning to buy.