Q We have been operating a Commer articulated demonstration unit for
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several years in a "Goods" taxation class. In view of the fact that this vehicle is used only for demonstration, lectures, service schools and so on, I wonder if it should be taxed as a private vehicle. The unladen weight is 10 tons 8cwt ; the annual duty is in excess of £600.
At no time during its operation is it used to carry goods or burden for hire or reward. The only goods carried in the vehicle are items of exhibition or service instruction equipment. Could it therefore be taxed in the private class?
A The Excise duty payable on motor vehicles is charged according to the provisions of the Vehicle (Excise) Act 1971. Schedule 4 deals with the duty payable on goods vehicles. Here a goods vehicle is defined, in paragraph 9, as "a mechanically propelled vehicle constructed or adapted for use and used for the conveyance of goods or burden of any description, whether in the course of trade or otherwise."
The vehicle which you quote is obviously constructed for use for the conveyance of goods or burden. The Customs and Excise Department will undoubtedly take the view, as they obviously have done in the past, that the equipment carried for service instruction and items of exhibition material are "goods or burden of any description." In that case there seems to be no way in which your vehicle could be taxed as private.