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Vehicle Excise Duty - Motorhomes?


Derek Uzzell

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On Page 20 of July 2006's Caravan Club magazine advice is given about the rates of Vehicle Excise Duty (formally called the Road Fund Licence) relating to motorhomes. The article says that there are currently 3 rates of duty:- A. £165 if a motorhome has a Gross Vehicle Weight OVER 3500kg. B. £175 if a motorhome has a Gross Vehicle Weight UP TO 3500kg, has an engine capacity greater than 1549cc, and was first registered BEFORE 1 March 2001. C. £170 if a motorhome has a Gross Vehicle Weight UP TO 3500kg and was first registered ON OR AFTER 1 March 2001. The CC article states that all motorhomes are presently taxed as P/LGV (Private/Light Goods Vehicles) or P/HGV (Private/Heavy Goods Vehicles). P/HGV will relate to motorhomes over 3500kg Gross Weight and P/LGV to vehicles 3500kg or below. The article then says, "On the registration document and the tax disk....your motorhome is an LCV (Light Commercial Vehicle) and taxed accordingly." Conversely, my July-2005-registered 3500kg Hobby motorhome shows PLG on its original tax disk, has "PRIVATE/LIGHT GOODS (PLG)" on its V5C Registration Certificate and the VED renewal form I recently received quotes the duty payable as £175. I was aware that over 3500kg motorhomes fell into the Private/Heavy Goods Vehicle taxation category and that the rate of duty payable was (oddly) less than that of a P/LGV motorhome. But I thought that all motorhomes with a weight maximum of 3500kg or lower were currently classified as P/LGV whatever the date of first registration. What made me doubt this belief was that the chap at the Post Office to whom I presented my VED renewal documents told me that the P/LGV class only applied to vehicles registered pre-1/3/2001 and, hence, my motorhome was incorrectly classified. Now, I couldn't give a hoot about that unless I'm being asked to fork out £175 when £170 is the proper 'going rate'! A quick browse around the DVLA website didn't throw up anything helpful, but I did ask my friendly local motorhome dealer how his new 3500kg-and-below vehicles are categorised at first registration and what VED he pays on them. The answer was "PLG" and £175. What's the truth about this, please? (I've got a strong suspicion it was explored on the Old Forum and the answer is in the data that's no longer available.) Because I'm such a disbelieving soul I'd be really grateful if someone could point me towards an 'official' source of information that would resolve the matter.
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Derek, I believe you are right and the Caravan Club is wrong. If it's a motorhome (built or converted with facilities for living,washing,cooking and sleeping) the it's: - PLG up to 3500Kg and - PHVG over 3500Kg up to 7500 KG and completely different for those US road hoggers above 7500Kg. However, note that reduced speed limits apply to all motorhomes with and UNLADEN weight of over 3050 Kgs (that's just a conversion from the original legislation limit of 3 imperial tonnes). No motorhome below 7500 Kgs is taxed as a commercial vehicle. So there!
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Hi, Just to add a little more confusion to the matter my Rapido 924F is 3850 max weight and registered as PHGV when I renewed the tax in late March for to begin in April I paid £165!! I've just been out to the van to check. I believe that the rates were to change with the budget but when that applied from I don't know. I'll watch with interest. Bill Ord
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Mel said: and completely different for those US road hoggers above 7500Kg. Hi, sorry guys my road hogger RV 9.250 tonnes is classed as a PHGV tax £165.00 all M/H over 3.5 tonnes even the big 20 ton Monaco's are the same. Olley
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Good old CC strikes again, and confusion reigns, bad enough trying to follow the DVLA rules. Current budget increased duty to £195 on my VW T4. It is possible to access the DVLA site and check details on your vehicle, [or anyone elses if you have the necessary info!] B-)
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Brian, No, I think that's OK. The VED paid on my 3500kg 'PLG' Hobby was £170 when it was first registered in July 2005 and this tallied with the Rates of VED Form V149 current at that time. The last budget in April 2006 pushed up the PLG rate by £5 to £175. In March 2006 you would have paid £170 and in July 2006 it seems that (despite the wise words in the CC magazine) I have to fork out £175. No doubt there will be a correction in the next CC magazine!
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I have spoken to the CC person who wrote the item. She checked with both the DVLA wqeb site and with the Motorhome Information Service and is convinced the item is correct. It isn't. Where the item says: "On the registration document and the tax disc, therefore, your motorhome is an LCV and taxed accordingly." , I believe it should say: "Although on the registration document and the tax disc, your motorhome is shown as 'Private/Light Goods (PLG)', it is taxed as an LCV and not as a car. In virtually all other respects, however, your motorhome is treated by the law as though it were a car. Thus it is subject to the Class 4 MoT Test for cars and NOT the Class 7 MoT which applies to LCVs (this is the case for all motorhomes up to 7500 Kgs MAM/GVW)." I have written to her and will report any final outcome. Each to their own, but I really cannot imagine why anyone needs a 20 tonne motorhome, unless they are Michael Schumacher, etc.
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The confusion arises because there is a VED category "Light Goods Vehicles (vehicles not over 3,500kg) (registered on or after 1st March 2001)" and the VED rate for this is currently £170 per annum. In fact, sub-3500kg motorhomes appear to be clumped together in the "Private/Light Goods Vehicles (goods vehicles not over 3,500kg) ( registered before 1st March 2001)" category, irrespective of when they are first registered, and the VED rate for that category is currently £175. I'll contact the DVLA on this for a definitive answer including, with any luck, where the information can be found on-line.
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[QUOTE]Mel E - 2006-06-30 4:48 PM Thus it is subject to the Class 4 MoT Test for cars and NOT the Class 7 MoT which applies to LCVs (this is the case for all motorhomes up to 7500 Kgs MAM/GVW)." Each to their own, but I really cannot imagine why anyone needs a 20 tonne motorhome, unless they are Michael Schumacher, etc. [/QUOTE] Hi mel E all M/H, RV's irrespective of weight are class 4 MOT's this includes 20 tonne ones (lol) The only distinction the DVLA have ever made is on the type of licence required to drive one. Over 7.5 tonnes class "C" Olley
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Thanks for that Olley. I made the distinction because I just don't know the rules for over 7500KG motorhomes, except in respect of driver licensing, where, as you say you need Class C or (C+E for trailers). You also need a C+E for up to 7500 Kgs if the total allowed mass of m'home and trailer exceeds 8250 Kgs. But you didn't ask my other question - why would anyone want to haul 20 tonnes around?
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We have a Peugeot Boxer LWB / Autocruise. The registration document classes it as PLG. I have taxed it as PLG using the form sent by the DVLA for the last 3 years. As supplied the motorcaravan has had a chassis upgrade to 3700kgs. Now with all the ho ha about PLG and PHGV, I thought it would be a good idea to re-class the vehicle as a PHGV to save £10 or so each year. However, on checking the VOSA web site for further information on PHGV's, it would appear that an annual test from new would be required just as a normal HGV. Not only that but also, MOT tested at a Ministry site. There is very little information about if you need an operators licence? Is a tachograph needed? Anyway, as the 'van is comming up to three years old, I have just taken it for it's first MOT at the local garage. Passed without fault and they didn't say it was too heavy. No doubt if we get stopped at a ministry check point, they'll either put us right or prosecute.
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Sinners: I'm certain your deductions are wrong. Motorhomes (whatever their weight) are subjest to an annual Class 4 'car' MOT test with the initial test due at 3 years after the vehicle's date of registration. This is explained in earlier postings in this thread.
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Hi sinners, all phgv are treated exactly the same as a car ie. 3 years from new, class 4 MOT (same as a car) only problem is finding a garage with the gear to test it. The rolling roads and lifts are not rated at 10 tonnes. :-D So its either a specialist or possibly council, or Ministry. And no you don't need a tacho, and your driving hours are not controlled. As for why? ask a tenter why people lug around a 3.5kg M/H or a 1 tonne caravan, ask a caravaner why people like me have a toad? Its what you want or can afford. Its simply choice, I like the sheer living comfort of an RV, which a european rarely approches, and accept its limitations in tight spots, a backpacker can go places both of us can only dream of, and between him and the 20 tonne RV their are millions of choices and limitations. Be a bummer if we all thought the same, especially if we all bought RV's as the roads would be really crowded. :-D Olley
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Many thanks to Derek and Olley, I totally agree about personal choice. Regarding size, when I started coach driving, the best bits of know how that were passed on to me were "Don't go anywhere that you can't get out of" and " You can do anything you want, if you go slow enough"
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  • 2 weeks later...
As promised I contacted the DLVA at Swansea about this. They told me they could only advise on general VED-related matters, referred me to my local DVLA office and sent me some documentation they thought might help. Having studied the documentation, I've concluded that 'motorhome VED' is both simple and complicated! Let's return to Square One and remind ourselves of the article on Page 20 of July 2006's Caravan Club Magazine. The article was headed "VED and motor caravans" and went as follows: [b] [i]"QUESTION: I understand from the reply published in May's issue that variable VED applies only to those vehicles for which an official CO2 figure is published, which is tied into Type Approval, I believe. Motor caravans are generally based on vehicles which are not Type Approved, but what about those based on one of the smaller vehicles that are Type Approved, eg. some Citroen Berlingos? These have an official CO2 emissions figure, so would the specific VED figure for the car apply, or would it fall within the VED category applicable to motor caravans? ANSWER (from the CC's Information Officer): We asked the Motorhome Information Service (MIS), which said: 'All motor caravans are at present taxed as PLGV (Private Light Goods Vehicles) or PHGV (Private Heavy Goods Vehicles) and that will remain the universal case vis-à-vis emissions. The Chancellor has been making Vehicle Excise Duty (formerly Road Fund Licence) more environmentally sensitive over the past few years, introducing graduated charges in relation to carbon dioxide emissions, People often ask whether motorhomes are included in this and the short answer is 'no'. Motorhomes are 99% based on 'Light Commercial Vehicles' eg Fiat Ducatos or Mercedes Sprinters, so even when they become motorhomes, that is what they remain. On the registration document and the tax disk, therefore, your motorhome is an LCV and taxed accordingly. The rates in effect today are £170 for a vehicle registered after March 2001 but, believe it or not, if the vehicle was registered before that date, it will cost you £175 if the vehicle is over 1549cc engine size - which most are. What fewer people know is that a motorhome over 3500kg Gross Vehicle Weight or Maximum Technically Permitted Laden Mass is classed as a 'Private Heavy Goods Vehicle', which really is a misnomer, and the tax for that is £165! It's all a bit confusing, but it's very unlikely that we will see motorhomes treated like cars in the immediate future, as for the most part their base vehicles do not have the same emission test regime. Finally, in the opinion of MIS, motorhomes should have their own classification...then maybe we'd all understand.' The situation might well change for new vehicles in due course, once Type Approval comes in for this vehicle class. A banded VED system similar to that for cars could then be a possibility, although this is currently speculative.”[/i] [/b] How can motorhome VED be both simple and complicated? The simple bit is that the first paragraph of the Motorhome Information Service's advice is exactly right. ALL motor caravans are indeed being taxed at present either as PLGV (for which the VED is currently £175 annually if the vehicle has an over-1549cc motor) or PHGV (for which the annual VED is £165). So what's all this confusing stuff about LCVs, £170 and "registered after March 2001"? The DVLA's website and DVLA Form V149 (Rates of Vehicle Excise Duty) suggest that the PLGV Taxation Class applies only to vehicles "registered before 1st March 2001". However, DVLA Form V355/1 (Notes About Taxation Classes) expands this definition, saying that the PLGV Class also applies to up-to-3500kg vehicles registered from 1/3/2001-onwards that do not fall into the scope of the four new taxation classes that were introduced from that date. Three of those new Classes (Petrol Car, Diesel Car or Alternative Fuel Car) relate to passenger vehicles in the Type Approved "M1" category weighing not more than 3500kg revenue weight, with the VED in each Class varying according to the CO2 emission figure (measured as part of the Type Approval process). The fourth new Taxation Class effective from 1/3/2001 is called "Light Goods Vehicle" and the annual VED is currently £170. The LGV Class is defined as "light goods vehicles registered since 1.3.01 and type approved as N1 (mainly light vans, revenue weight not exceeding 3500kg)". Let's assume a new up-to-3500kg motor caravan is to be registered today. If it hasn't got Type Approval then it can't be assigned to any of the 4 new Classes I've just mentioned, because it's the Type Approval process that defines whether the vehicle is a "M1" (and what the CO2 emissions are) or a "N1". So the only place to put it is in the PLGV Class where the annual VED is £175. But what if our example motorhome has Type Approval? Well, my 2005 3500kg Hobby has, but it was still assigned to the PLGV Class and (because the vehicle has a 1998cc motor) I currently pay £175 VED. The Hobby's Type Approval European Certificate of Conformity (ECOC) defines it as a "M1" (which means it can't go into the LGV "N1" Class), but there are no data on the ECOC relating to CO2 emissions (which makes it impossible to assess the appropriate M1 VED charge). The ECOC also says it's a "motorcaravan". In fact, as far as the UK vehicle-registration process is concerned, all motor caravans are exempt from the rules relating to Type Approval. So, even though the Hobby is Type Approved and has an ECOC, this is of no overpowering interest to the DVLA and it's the blanket motor caravan exemption that takes priority and causes the vehicle to be registered as PLGV. I think it likely that all coachbuilt motor caravans, when given 'whole vehicle' Type Approval, will shed all traces of any Goods Vehicle origins and will be classed as M1 passenger vehicles. Potentially (if the motor caravan is up-to-3500kg weight and CO2 emissions data are available) this could bring them into the VED M1 'car' Classes: in practice, because of the DVLA's motor caravan Type Approval exemption, they'll continue to be classed as PLGV for VED. The original question to the CC asked about VED on motor caravans based on car-type vehicles (ie. M1 Class), but what happens if the base-vehicle had N1 Type Approval to begin with? Clearly that vehicle would normally be put into the £170 LGV VED Class, but can it still be an 'LGV' after conversion to a motor caravan? I'm pretty sure not. Registering a new motor vehicle involves completing DVLA Form V55/4. This form has a large number of boxes on it, many of which can be filled in only if Type Approval data are available. But two boxes are critical for successfully registering a vehicle as a 'motor caravan' - Box 7 (Type of Body/Vehicle) into which you put "MOTOR CARAVAN" and Box 44 (Is the vehicle exempt from Type Approval?) into which you put "YES". If a vehicle has Type Approval the DVLA asks you to transcribe on to Form V55/4 data taken from the ECOC, but it's the Body=Motor Caravan and Exempt=Yes that causes an up-to-3500kg motorhome to be assigned to the £175 VED PLGV Class. When I asked a motorhome dealer how he filled in Form V55/4, he emphasised the importance of Box 44 and added that, to avoid the DVLA assigning an incorrect Taxation Class, he always filled in Box 2 (Taxation Class) as "PLGV" or "PHGV" (according to the motorhome's weight) even though the DVLA's instructions are to leave that box blank. Presumably, if you obtain a N1 Type Approved vehicle (a current-model Ford Transit panel-van for example) that is already registered as LGV (£170 VED) and convert it to a motor caravan, you should re-register it with the DVLA and the VED Class would change to PGLV and the annual VED to £175. (Otherwise you might have problems with insurance.) And vice-versa I suppose, in the unlikely event of you converting a PGLV-registered N1 panel-van-based motorhome back into goods vehicle format eligible for the LGV Taxation Class. Anyway, that's the best I can do: motor caravan VED is simple but complicated and my brain hurts!!
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