The twin-cab pickup makes a U-turn: What happened?

In an announcement made on 19 February, the government confirmed that twin-cab pickup vehicles with payloads of 1 tonne or more will continue to be treated as goods vehicles for both capital allowances and benefit-in-kind purposes.

This is an example of what has become known as a ‘U-turn’. On 12 February, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) had updated its guidance on the tax treatment of twin-cab pickups following a 2020 Court of Appeal judgment. The guidance had confirmed that, from 1 July 2024, twin-cab pickups with a payload of one tonne or more would be treated as cars rather than goods vehicles for both capital allowances and benefit-in-kind purposes.

The updated treatment was extremely unpopular because goods vehicles attract more beneficial tax treatment than cars. For example, a business buying a goods vehicle is able to claim more tax relief, in the form of capital allowances, than if it were to buy a car. Similarly, if an employee were provided with an employer-owned vehicle, the income tax and employer’s National Insurance charge on the benefit-in-kind would be lower on a goods vehicle than on a car.

The government says that it has listened to carefully to views from the farming and motoring industries and has U-turned because the 12 February guidance update “could have an impact on businesses and individuals in a way that is not consistent with the government’s wider aims to support businesses”.

The U-turn means that that the capital allowances and benefit-in-kind tax treatment of twin-cab pickups with payloads of 1 tonne or more will continue to be aligned with the VAT treatment. For more information, see: Update on HMRC Double Cab Pick Up Guidance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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