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The income tax and NIC charges vary quite significantly depending on whether a vehicle can be defined as a ‘goods vehicle’.

The latest ruling, made by the Upper Tier Tribunal in March 2019, found that specific models of the Vauxhall Vivaro are goods vehicles and as such, any benefit in kind arising is calculated by reference to the ‘van’ benefit rules. In contrast, the VW Kombi 1 and Kombi 2 vans were considered to be cars and would be subject to the ‘car’ benefit rules. In most cases, the amounts of taxable benefit arising under the car benefit rules will be significantly higher than vans. Further, there is no concept of incidental private use when related to company cars, so whether you use it personally or not, a taxable benefit will arise.

Of course, there is much to be understood about the specifics of the vans in question and given that the most recent decision runs to 22 pages it is not expedient to go into detail here.

The case is likely to go to the Court of Appeal and so the case cannot be considered as final at this stage.

However, it is important that where, as an employer, you have or are providing your employees with vehicles such as and similar to the VW Kombi, we urge you to get in touch with your usual contact to discuss the matter in more detail.

Want to know more? Call us on 01392 260310 or email

About the author

Helen Gale

Helen qualified as a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation in 1995 and mainly deals with owner-managed businesses of various sizes. She previously worked at Haines Watts Bristol for over 12 years, before relocating to the Exeter office in 2019. Helen is responsible for overseeing the tax department and all tax-related activities to ensure compliance with HMRC regulations and providing clients with helpful information across the four offices in Exeter, Crediton, Okehampton and Launceston.

Heading up the tax department, Helen believes their role is to support colleagues and directly to provide clients with good advice, to deal with their affairs in a timely and efficient way and to build enduring relationships. We want our clients to feel valued and endeavour to meet their expectations.

Tax is a wonderfully illogical and highly complex subject and it’s ever changing. Rarely are there two days the same – it’s good that way!

In her spare time, Helen likes gardening, country walks and spending time with her family and friends.

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