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Can I backdate my claim on my commercial vehicle?

Bought a van and didn’t claim to use personally, but now only commercial use

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Hi all - I'm a videographer who travels around the U.K. on various shoots. Last year I decided I needed a van as was running out of space in a standard car for gear and anyone else in the crew. I wanted to convert it to have some sort of living quarters for editing during the day (often I need to show footage to clients and review what's shot) and for staying away in or staying on site. I spoke to my accountant who said I can do it but not use it all for personal use if I want to put it through business and claim vat. After discussing with my wife we decided to take the hit and just pay for it personally in order to have the flexibility to use it ourselves when we wanted. So we bought it before Xmas however a huge curveball: we have got pregnant which has been a suprise as we've been unable to have children for over a decade! So it's great news but this means any personal use of the van is now on hold and I haven't had time to do a conversion, and instead am just using the vehicle for transport and carrying my gear. Is there a way I can backdate my claim even though this was paid for with my personal bank account? (Previously if I've accidentally used my personal account my accountant has advised to class this within my software as employee reimbursements). And if this can be done is there a way I could convert in the future?

thanks so much for helping with a rather unique situation! 

Replies (11)

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By DKB-Sheffield
25th May 2022 21:20

The basic, and somewhat obvious advice is "ask your accountant". That is why they are there, and TBH I'd be a bit (well very) miffed to find out my client had asked the question of a random set of people online - without asking me first!

Please confirm that you are working through a company? (Sounds like it giventhe mention of 'employee reimbursements').

If so... regardless of the 'cash paid' position, the vehicle would appear to be owned by you, not the company (I may be wrong). So on the face of it - it's unlikely you could claim for the initial purchase of the van in your company.

You could bring the vehicle into the company but should take advice as to whether that is feasible, and beneficial... cue your accountant!

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By Leywood
25th May 2022 22:13

+1.

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Replying to Leywood:
RLI
By lionofludesch
26th May 2022 06:36

+ another.

Who owns the van? Who is on the invoice? Who is it registered to? Who insures it? Whose account the money came from is not necessarily the same thing.

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By rmillaree
26th May 2022 08:27

Presuming its clear the purpose of purchsasing the vehicle was for business and that use continues i think it's unlikely that you would have an issue here making the "late claim" . Obviously some of the points mentioned aren't exactly helpful but i am pretty sure (memory again) the mere fact an invoice is in the directors name does not mean the claim cannot be made - the key point sems clear this van was boughtb for buisness use.

I suspect you may be on the wrong side of the line if you bought for "private purposes" and at a later date started using said vehicle after the "non buisness use" period was known to exist. From your post seems reasonably clear cut the primary purpose was for business reasons froim day 1 - being frank your acountant got it plain wrong if they said you couldn't put through the business and claim a reassnable % business use - that option was always available end of - whether it would have been overall tax efficient if there was van benefit charge less so obvious (perhaps if thats the case they guided you away from being more heavily taxed and perhaps that could have been taken as saying no can do!

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By lesley.barnes
26th May 2022 10:34

I'm not so sure the accountant got it wrong - we don't know what the discussions around the original plan for the van were. The OP does say that his plans have changed since he bought the van which I take to mean after he discussed it with his accountant.
There is mention of "converting it to have some sort of living quarters for editing during the day (often I need to show footage to clients and review what's shot) and for staying away in or staying on site" and "to have the flexibility to use it ourselves when we wanted" Is the original plan not going down the conversion from a van to a camper van.

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Replying to lesley.barnes:
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By rmillaree
26th May 2022 11:43

"I'm not so sure the accountant got it wrong "

per the op
" I spoke to my accountant who said I can do it but not use it all for personal use if I want to put it through business and claim vat."

Its plain wrong to say vat can't be claimed if there is private use of van - end of. Private use does not stop business % use being claimed.

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Replying to rmillaree:
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By gillybean04
26th May 2022 13:10

But is that what the accountant said?

Even OP's description of it can be read several ways. As always, wording can be interpreted in different ways by different people. "Claim VAT" for instance. Would the OP's company claim VAT? Or would they reclaim a proportion of it?

Or did the accountant simply say there would need to be business use (aka OP can't have a family camper for holidays subsidised at the taxpayer's expense simply by putting it through the limited company) and if it was all personal, they wouldn't be able to put it through the business expenses or reclaim any VAT?

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By dilby
26th May 2022 11:48

Thanks all. I've spoken to my accountant about it and to be honest they seem on the line about it; they've said to go for it but have said the hmrc could go either way on it in case of investigation which doesnt fill me with confidence! They are also super hard to get a hold of at the moment.

The main reason they said not to claim it for business was the BIK charge outweighed the vat reimbursement.

I had always plan to use and convert the van for commercial purposes, but also to use some of it privately. But since our news we will not be using it privately at all and the conversion will at least be delayed, which leaves it as a vehicle being used solely for transport purposes.

In regards to the invoice, yes its just got my name on it, although im not sure they ever even asked for a business. I bought it in person at a dealership. Insurance also in my name.

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Replying to dilby:
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By rmillaree
26th May 2022 12:17

Thanks for the update bilby that all makes sense ref update

" they've said to go for it but have said the hmrc could go either way on it in case of investigation which doesnt fill me with confidence!"

the vat manual confirms its not a complete no go area - albeit you would at a minimum want to ensure business has reimbursed you for this "out of pocket expense"

"HMRC will not reject claims out of hand if the relevant invoices are addressed to the employee rather than the business. We will accept alternative evidence provided the business shows us satisfactory evidence that it has paid for and incurred the VAT on these expenses."

https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/vat-input-tax/vit42100

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Replying to rmillaree:
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By gillybean04
26th May 2022 13:18

Are we discussing removal fees for having to move home due to your job? I thought we were discussing a vehicle that was acquired (and intended, at the time, to be acquired) by the individual rather than the business.

Intending to use it for business purposes says nothing to the intent of ownership.

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Replying to gillybean04:
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By rmillaree
26th May 2022 15:20

Thats for flagging up my numptiness gilybean04 that guidance was specifically with regard to removal fees- i somehow managed to miss that.

Here is a more appropriate link - unfortunately the notes here although more comprehensive - do not contain anything like the text of the prior link so that prior post should be ignored in its entirety - apologies to the op for any confusion casued there.

Hopefully they do evidence the fact that the vat office is not looking to automatically block genuine vat claims for business expenses simply due to the fact the vat invoice is not in the company name .

https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/vat-input-tax/vit31200

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