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HMRC internal manual

VAT Input Tax

Motoring expenses: conversion of a commercial vehicle into a car

These changes will normally turn a commercial vehicle into a car:

  • fitting side windows and seats in a van to the rear of the driver; and
  • removing some seats from a twelve-seater vehicle.

A van can be adapted by either:

  • only fitting side windows; or
  • only fitting or removing seats.

When this happens you must decide whether the vehicle has been adapted solely or mainly for the carriage of passengers.

You should concentrate on the nature of the vehicle after adaptation. You must also think about the vehicle’s likely use.

These attributes suggest likely sole or main use as a passenger-carrying vehicle:

  • the relative amount of space available for passengers is bigger compared to that available for goods or other loads;
  • the seating arrangements or windows have been permanently changed. For example, the fitting of an easily removable canopy with side windows does not in itself create a car;
  • comfortable seating arrangements. Nailing a couple of boxes to the floor of a van does not amount to adaptation; and
  • lack of suitability of the vehicle for other, non-passenger carrying uses after the adaptation.

It may help to refer to any brochures showing the specification of the vehicle at the time it was bought. This will help you to work out:

  • the extent to which the vehicle has been modified;
  • the overall effect of any changes; and
  • whether the vehicle should be reclassified.