HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Definition of a Van

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Confused about what the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) considers a van? You’re not alone. HMRC’s definition of a van is a complex one. Generally speaking, a van is a vehicle that is designed for the carriage of goods and is constructed or adapted to carry a load of one tonne or more. However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule and this guide will help you determine whether your vehicle meets HMRC’s definition of a van.

The first thing to consider is the vehicle’s design. Vehicles that are designed primarily for the carriage of passengers, such as cars and buses, are not considered vans, even if they are capable of carrying a load of one tonne or more. A vehicle that is constructed or adapted for the carriage of goods is a van, even if it is not capable of carrying a load of one tonne or more. Therefore, vehicles such as pickup trucks and flatbed trucks are considered to be vans.

In addition to the design of the vehicle, you also need to consider its use. A vehicle that is used primarily for the carriage of goods is a van, even if it is not constructed or adapted for that purpose. For example, a car that is used to deliver goods is a van, even if it is not a pickup truck or a flatbed truck. However, a vehicle that is used primarily for the carriage of passengers is not a van, even if it is capable of carrying a load of one tonne or more.

hmrc definition of a van

Important points to remember:

  • Designed for goods carriage.
  • Constructed/adapted for 1+ tonne load.
  • Excludes passenger vehicles.
  • Includes pickup trucks, flatbeds.
  • Usage determines van classification.
  • Passenger use excludes vans.
  • Goods carriage defines a van.
  • Purpose over design.

These points should help you determine whether your vehicle meets HMRC’s definition of a van.

Designed for goods carriage.

The first part of HMRC’s definition of a van is that it must be “designed for the carriage of goods.” This means that the vehicle must be specifically built or adapted for the purpose of carrying goods, rather than passengers. Vehicles that are designed primarily for the carriage of passengers, such as cars and buses, are not considered vans, even if they are capable of carrying a load of one tonne or more.

  • Purpose-built vans: These are vehicles that are specifically designed and manufactured for the carriage of goods. They typically have a large cargo area and a low floor, making them easy to load and unload. Examples include panel vans, Luton vans, and box vans.
  • Converted vans: These are vehicles that have been adapted from a passenger vehicle to a goods vehicle. This can be done by removing the rear seats and installing a cargo area, or by adding a canopy or roof rack. Converted vans are often used by small businesses and tradespeople.
  • Pickup trucks: Pickup trucks are vehicles that have an open cargo bed at the back. They are popular with businesses and individuals who need to transport large or bulky items. Pickup trucks are considered to be vans by HMRC, even though they are not enclosed.
  • Flatbed trucks: Flatbed trucks are similar to pickup trucks, but they have a flatbed instead of an open cargo bed. Flatbed trucks are often used to transport heavy or awkward loads.

These are just a few examples of the types of vehicles that are considered to be vans by HMRC. If you are unsure whether your vehicle meets the definition of a van, you can contact HMRC for clarification.


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