3 signs your vehicle counts as commercial

Apr 30, 2022 | Business expenses

Sometimes you have a vehicle that’s set up more like a car than a commercial vehicle – what are the differences between the two?

It’s hard when you’re trying to find the right solution for your business while at the same time getting a vehicle that’s actually going to work for you.

You might be tempted to get the flashiest thing you can, but if it doesn’t meet the right criteria then it ain’t commercial. And you’ll pay more tax.

Let’s look at the three main things that can class your vehicle as commercial.



For a vehicle to be classed as commercial, it must have a gross weight of 3.5 tonnes  – this is to give it the necessary strength to move around goods.

It will also need to have an expansive loading area – this basically means a dedicated space where you can easily load items into the vehicle.

However, this is the classification for a more typical van – a car-derived van is a bit different.

These vehicles are much more like a car on the outside, but inside they still operate as a van. They can weigh upwards of 2 tonnes to classify as commercial.


Type of vehicle

Normally, you’ll want to choose a vehicle that suits your needs – there’s only a need for a flatbed lorry if you’re hauling around large things.

For smaller loads, or as part of a fleet, different types of vehicles obviously have their own advantages.

HMRC has a list of the different types of commercial van. Although this is a few years old now, it does give you a rough idea of the kind of thing you’re looking for.

We recommend that you talk to a professional who can look at what you want, and work out whether it’s gonna be suitable for your needs.



Another clear way of determining whether your vehicle is commercial or not is what kind of windows it has.

If it has rear windows, and they’re not tinted, it won’t be commercial and will be seen as a transporter for people rather than goods.

A LandRover Defender, for example, is a car-derived van. It has the capacity to carry a large amount of weight, but to all intents and purposes is a 4×4. The fact that it has tinted windows and an accessible boot changes its status to a commercial vehicle.


The benefits of commercial vehicles 

It’s worth your time looking into getting a commercial vehicle, not just for the practical benefits, but also for the tax relief – you can claim these as capital allowances.

Vans and car-derived vans qualify under the annual investment allowance (AIA), which is really beneficial to your business. It’s the perfect time to make use of the AIA, too, as it’s been temporarily increased to £1 million until 31 March 2023. After this, it’s set to go back down to £200,000.

If you know you want a vehicle for your business, there may be alternatives you can look at to help you with the commercial status.

If you’re still stuck on how you can actually buy your vehicle, we wrote a blog about that too. You can read that here.


Still need some help?

Are commercial vehicles still confusing as fuck? We get it. There’s a lot of information out there, and not all of it makes sense.

Give us a ring and we’ll sort you out.

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