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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Car benefit: double cab pick ups

Section 115(1) ITEPA 2003

A vehicle of this sort normally has:

  • a front passenger cab that contains a second row of seats and is capable of seating about 4 passengers, plus the driver
  • four doors capable of being opened independently, whether the rear doors are hinged at the front or the rear (two door versions are normally accepted to be vans) and
  • an uncovered pick-up area behind the passenger cab.

There is nothing about these vehicles that renders them unsuitable for private use, so they will not come within the exception outlined at EIM23125 onwards.

So it is necessary to consider whether they are designed primarily for carrying goods or burden, so that they come within the exception outlined at EIM23115 onwards.

They present us with a challenge in terms of establishing the predominant purpose of construction (see EIM23120) as on the surface many of them appear to be equally suited to convey passengers or goods. However, when all factors relating to their construction are taken into account, a number of vehicles within this category do have a predominant purpose of carrying goods or burden.

It follows from the above that it is not possible on first principles to come up with a single categorisation for all double cab pick-ups. Nor is it possible to give a blanket ruling on any particular makes, as the standard vehicle may have been adapted in the factory, by the dealer, or once acquired. So each case will depend on the facts and the exact specification during the period when the vehicle is made available for private use.

Interpretation of the legislation (originally an interim measure for 2002/03 onwards)

From 2002/03, when deciding whether double cab pick-ups count as cars or vans, HMRC will interpret the legislation that defines car and van for tax purposes in line with the definitions used for VAT purposes. The position in respect of earlier tax years remains unchanged.

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.

Customs has been in discussions with the major manufacturers as to which of their models will no longer be regarded as cars. Potential purchasers can obtain advice about the payload of a particular model from the manufacturer or dealer. If they request any more information, you should refer them to this page on the HMRC website (full address: ).

You should not comment on how a particular vehicle will be treated. You should ensure that enquirers know that the website contains the latest information on the criteria used and that any changes or developments will be publicised there.

In case of difficulty see EIM23160.

Other vehicles

The 1 tonne rule only applies to double cab pick-ups, not to any other vehicle.

Other specific types of vehicle are dealt with at EIM23155.