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The UK tax man is about to punch double-cab pickup drivers in the face

Upcoming changes to the benefit-in-kind (BIK) rules will see all double-cab pickups classed as cars rather than vans

Published: 15 Feb 2024

From 1 July this year, double-cab pickup drivers in the UK will pay more company car tax as the trucks lose their commercial vehicle status.

Yep, in a move that could take an axe to the UK’s growing pickup market, HMRC will no longer follow the VAT rules that class any pickup with a payload greater than one tonne as a van.

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In a recent missive, HMRC said: “From 1 July 2024 most if not all double-cab pickups will be classified as cars when calculating the benefit charge [that’s benefit-in-kind, aka company car tax]. This is because typically these vehicles are equally suited to convey passengers and goods and have no predominant suitability.”

Vans and commercial vehicles are much cheaper for employees than company cars, with pickup drivers previously paying a flat rate of £60 per month if they were in the 20 per cent tax bracket, or £120 per month if they earned more and paid 40 per cent tax.

Because pickups in this country mostly run on diesel, double-cabs will now be classed as rather heavily polluting cars and BIK bills will likely triple as a minimum. Yikes.

There will be a period of grace before you’re forking out that extra cash though. Those drivers still in a lease can apply the old rules until they trade in, after which the new rules apply. Alternatively, if you’ve just ordered a new pickup (even if it isn’t delivered until after 1 July), you’ll also get away with paying the lower rate – at least, until the vehicle is disposed of, the lease expires, or 5 April 2028 – whichever’s first.

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Anything ordered after 30 June 2024 will be subject to the new rules.

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