Government Reverses Stance on Double Cab Pickup Taxation

Double-cab pickup

In a significant development for businesses and individuals utilising double cab pickups, the UK government has announced a U-turn on the tax treatment of Double Cab Pickups (DCPUs). This change, detailed in a recent update from HM Treasury and HM Revenue & Customs, marks a departure from previous guidance that had implications for both capital allowances and benefit-in-kind purposes.

Background of the Change

Initially, following a 2020 Court of Appeal judgement, HMRC updated its guidance to state that from 1 July 2024, DCPUs with a payload of one tonne or more would be classified as cars rather than goods vehicles. This reclassification had substantial tax implications for users of these vehicles, impacting both their capital allowances and the benefit-in-kind charges.

Government’s Response to Feedback

However, after careful consideration of the feedback from the farming and motoring industries, the government recognised that the proposed tax treatment change could adversely affect businesses and individuals. The feedback highlighted that the change was not aligned with the government’s broader objectives to support these crucial sectors of the UK economy.

Official Announcement and Implications

On 19 February 2024, HMRC announced the withdrawal of its updated guidance. This move ensures that DCPUs will retain their classification as goods vehicles, allowing users to continue benefiting from the historical tax treatment. This decision underscores the government’s commitment to avoiding tax outcomes that could negatively impact the UK’s economy, particularly the farming and van driving sectors.

Nigel Huddleston, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, emphasised that the law would be amended in the next Finance Bill to solidify this position, ensuring that DCPU vehicles continue to be recognised as goods vehicles for tax purposes. This legislative change is intended to prevent any adverse tax consequences that could inadvertently harm vital UK industries.

Benefits of the Reversal

The reversal means that:

  • The tax on the benefit-in-kind will not increase for employers providing these vehicles to their employees.
  • The capital allowances available in the first year of use will not be reduced for businesses purchasing these vehicles.

This decision promotes a consistent treatment of DCPUs across capital allowances, benefit in kind, and VAT purposes, simplifying the tax system and providing continued support to users of these vehicles.


The government’s decision to reverse its stance on the tax treatment of Double Cab Pickups is a welcome development for businesses and individuals across the UK. It reflects a responsive governance approach, prioritising the economic well-being of vital sectors over rigid tax policy adherence. As the legislation is formalised in the upcoming Finance Bill, stakeholders in the motoring and farming industries can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing their operational costs will not unexpectedly increase due to tax reclassifications.