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Understanding company van tax

Looking for a new work van? Find out all you need to know about company van tax, including 'Benefit-in-Kind', the classification of a van for HMRC purposes, and the exemptions to be aware of.

Company van tax explained

Company van tax is actually much more straightforward than car tax rates, with one tax band for all vans, pick-up trucks, and other light commercial vehicles (LCVs).

There are some nuances of company van tax to be aware of, which we outline below, including:

  • Benefit-in-Kind tax (BIK) and how to calculate the amount owed
  • The classification of a ‘van’ by HMRC
  • Company van tax exemptions
  • Private use and ‘insignificant private use’
  • Zero-emission van tax

Do you pay tax on a company van?

You are required to pay tax on a company van that is owned or leased by an employer and is used by an employee for personal travel. This is a ‘perk of the job’, and is known as Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) tax.

However, if the van is solely used for work purposes, company van tax will not need to be paid.

What is a van for HMRC tax purposes?

When is a ‘van’, a ‘van’? According to HMRC:

“A vehicle constructed primarily for the conveyance of goods or burden, whose design weight does not exceed 3,500kg.”

Double cab pick-up trucks, (for example with a four-seat, four-door arrangement), must have a gross vehicle weight of one tonne or more to be accepted as a van for BIK tax purposes.

4x4s and multi-purpose vehicles are normally classified as cars, however, there are some commercial variants that could be eligible for company van tax exemption if they meet certain criteria.

Work buses and minibuses transport people rather than goods. Therefore, they are not classed as ‘vans’ and are not eligible for company van tax exemption.

To be sure, check out HMRC’s classification of car-derived vans and combi vans, and refer to the van’s V5C registration document for its European classification:

  • N1 or N2 is classified as a van
  • M1 or M2 is classified as a car

Company van tax Benefit-in-Kind (BIK)

In a nutshell, company van BIK is the tax you will need to pay to HMRC if you use your company van for private use regularly.

A company van can be kept at home, and employees can use the van to commute to and from work, and for work purposes, but much more than that is classed as private use, and is taxable.

Private use‘ is considered as journeys that are not connected to your work duties, for example, using the company van in the evenings and during the weekend, or making journeys such as the school run.

If your employees use the company van for private use, you are legally obliged to tell HMRC. Many vans are fitted with tracking software, but it’s recommended your employees keep a record of their mileage for business and personal use too.

Company van tax – insignificant private use

If your employees use the company van to grab a coffee and a newspaper on the way to work, this is deemed as ‘insignificant private use‘, and is not taxable.

Likewise, using the company van for the occasional trip to the doctor during the workday would be deemed as ‘insignificant private use’.

Do you pay tax on a company van?

Company van tax calculator

So, where it is payable, and how much is company van tax?

The current fixed BIK rate for company vans is £3,600 (2022/23).

However, you don’t pay this amount in full each year. To calculate your company van tax, you need to refer to your personal income tax band.

  • If your personal income tax rate is 20%, you’ll pay 20% of the BIK rate. For example, £3,600 x 20% = £720 per year.
  • If you sit within the 40% personal income tax rate, you’ll pay 40% of the BIK rate. This works out as £1,440 per year.

From 6th April 2023, company van tax will be increasing. 

Basic rate taxpayers currently paying £720 will pay an additional 10% (£72 a year). Higher rate taxpayers face a £144 increase. 62% of 1,000 van drivers Autotrader surveyed were unaware of this rise set out in Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement.

There are a couple of ways to reduce the BIK rate you pay

  • If an employee can’t use the van for 30 consecutive days
  • If an employee pays you to use the van privately
  • If more than one employee uses the van (you can split the BIK rate between the employees who use the van)
  • If the van is a zero-emissions vehicle

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Company van fuel tax calculator

If you pay for the fuel used in your employee work vans, this comes under the banner of a ‘benefit’ or ‘perk’ and is therefore taxable.

To calculate company van fuel tax, multiply your income tax rate by the fuel tax rate. For the financial year 2022/23, the fuel tax rate is £688.

  • If your personal income tax rate is 20%, you’ll pay 20% of the fuel tax rate. For example, £688 x 20% = £137.60 per year.
  • For those within the 40% personal income tax rate, you’ll pay £688 x 40% = £275.20 per year.

You can reduce the amount of company van fuel tax you pay if:

  • Your employee cannot use the van for 30 days in a row.
  • Your employee pays you back for all their private fuel.
  • You stopped providing fuel during the tax year.

Electric company van tax

There are no tax benefits for plug-in hybrid vans, but zero-emission vans do come with greater tax incentives.

The BIK rate for all-electric company vans was reduced to zero in 2020. When reporting this on your P11D, it’s 0% of £3,600 = £0 (2022/23).

Tax allowance for company van

There are tax allowances for company vans.

For example, if you run a limited company and you lease a company van, you can claim the lease costs back against your profits, reducing the amount of corporation tax you pay.

The cost of purchasing a van can also be claimed as a business expense against your tax bill.

Checkatrade members get exclusive discounts on vans, find out more.


Is company van tax changing?

Company van tax is amended with the yearly budget. You can check the up-to-date figures on the gov.uk site.

Does a van count as a company car?

HMRC classifies vans and cars differently for the purposes of tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs), therefore it’s important to make the distinction between work vans and company cars within your business.

Can an employee use a company vehicle for personal use?

An employee can use a company vehicle for personal use, but this use is taxable under ‘Benefit-in-Kind’ taxation unless it’s classed as ‘insignificant private use’.

Looking for great deals on a company van?

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Join Checkatrade now

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