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HMRC internal manual

Capital Allowances Manual

Plant and Machinery Allowances (PMA): meaning of plant and machinery: number plates

Do not accept a claim that expenditure on a car’s (or van’s etc) registration number qualifies for PMAs in its own right.

The physical number plate is a chattel that does not become plant or machinery unless and until it is attached to a car which is itself plant or machinery. Once it is attached it becomes part of the car and expenditure on it qualifies for PMAs as a part of the car.

Expenditure on acquiring a right to a registration number is another matter. You are most likely to meet this in connection with expenditure on acquiring a ‘personalised’ or ‘cherished’ number. That does not qualify for PMAs. A personalised number plate gives intangible rights of enduring benefit - the right to use a certain combination of numbers and letters when registering the car. Those rights are not plant and so you should not give PMAs on the expenditure to the extent that it reflects the acquisition of the rights.

However you should accept that the price of a car etc. that includes the cost of registering the car with a ‘normal’ number can all be qualifying expenditure.

You may get a capital allowance claim on a Hackney carriage (taxi) licence plate either on its own or, more usually, as part of the cost of the taxicab to which it is attached. The cost or value of the taxi licence plate represents both the actual licence plate itself, which is plant, and the right to trade, which is not. It is only the part of the cost that is attributable to the actual licence plate that qualifies for capital allowances as expenditure on the provision of plant or machinery. This will be a nominal amount.