Registration agency and Fed­er­a­tion of Bri­tish His­toric Ve­hi­cle Clubs at log­ger­heads over planned tax ex­emp­tion changes

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Front Page - Tom Sey­mour

The DVLA has flatly de­nied sug­ges­tions from the Fed­er­a­tion of Bri­tish His­toric Ve­hi­cle Clubs that rules cov­er­ing which clas­sics qual­ify for His­toric Ve­hi­cle tax ex­emp­tion are be­ing over­hauled. The FBHVC – which rep­re­sents clas­sic clubs across Bri­tain – says that cars’ el­i­gi­bil­ity for the tax break will be judged by their registration rather than date of man­u­fac­ture, mean­ing that clas­sic own­ers may have to pay an ex­tra year’s road tax.

The DVLA has de­nied that it is mak­ing any changes to His­toric Ve­hi­cle tax ex­emp­tion, but the FBHVC main­tains that the DVLA has said oth­er­wise in re­cent meet­ings with its rep­re­sen­ta­tives. It is con­tin­u­ing to warn clas­sic car own­ers that the rules could be about to change.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor, Ge­off Lan­caster, says: ‘It’s pos­si­ble the DVLA’s PR team isn’t in­formed of the con­ver­sa­tions we have been hav­ing with those in charge.’

The DVLA has con­firmed that there have been no changes in the re­quire­ments to qual­ify for an ex­emp­tion from VED for his­toric ve­hi­cles.

The Fed­er­a­tion of Bri­tish His­toric Ve­hi­cle Clubs (FBHVC) had ad­vised its mem­bers that the DVLA had ditched a for­mal agree­ment that al­lows own­ers to change the age of the ve­hi­cle to re­flect the date of man­u­fac­ture rather than registration.

How­ever, the DVLA has de­nied that there have been any changes. An agency spokesman says: ‘There have been no changes in the re­quire­ments to qual­ify for an ex­emp­tion from VED for his­toric ve­hi­cles and DVLA is not judg­ing the age of ve­hi­cles based on the date of registration rather than the date of man­u­fac­ture.

‘In law, un­der a rolling ex­emp­tion, cer­tain ve­hi­cles con­structed be­fore the 1 Jan­uary 1977 are ex­empt from the pay­ment of ve­hi­cle ex­cise duty ( VED) and can be taxed in the his­toric tax class. If a ve­hi­cle was reg­is­tered af­ter 1 Jan­uary 1977 but man­u­fac­tured be­fore 1 Jan­uary 1977, it can be li­censed in the his­toric tax class pro­vided ap­pro­pri­ate dat­ing ev­i­dence is pro­duced con­firm­ing the date of man­u­fac­ture.’ FBHVC leg­is­la­tion di­rec­tor, Bob Owen, said that the Fed­er­a­tion had been told by the DVLA its rea­sons for chang­ing its poli­cies arose from the in­tro­duc­tion in 1976-1977 of the V55/1 form sys­tem of registration, com­pleted by the dealer at the time of first registration, which usu­ally co­in­cides with a sale.

In the FBHVC’s lat­est news­let­ter he wrote: ‘The DVLA say they do not record date of man­u­fac­ture be­cause the dealer signs a form say­ing the ve­hi­cle is new and un­used and that this must mean that it was man­u­fac­tured in the same year as the declaration.

‘That means, for in­stance, that a ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tured to­wards the end of 1976 but sold in 1977 must, ac­cord­ing to the DVLA, have been man­u­fac­tured in 1977. As a re­sult, they will not make the amend­ment to the V5C which en­ables the ve­hi­cle to be in­cluded in the his­toric registration class and qual­i­fied for nil rate VED.’

Fed­er­a­tion com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor, Ge­off Lan­caster, says that the DVLA’s de­nial came as a sur­prise: ‘It’s pos­si­ble the DVLA’s PR team aren’t in­formed of the con­ver­sa­tions we have been hav­ing with those in charge of the leg­is­la­tion. From our point of view, our state­ment in the news­let­ter still stands. We have had five mem­bers that have seen their ap­pli­ca­tions to up­date the age of their ve­hi­cle re­jected. One of those was on be­half of a club whose mem­bers had sev­eral af­fected cars.’

Lan­caster says he still hasn’t re­ceived a ‘sat­is­fac­tory res­o­lu­tion’ from the DVLA as to why th­ese ap­pli­ca­tions have been re­jected but he is hop­ing to shed new light on the is­sue in the next meet­ing with the DVLA which will be af­ter the new govern­ment is es­tab­lished.

He adds: ‘The Fed­er­a­tion has raised this both for­mally and in­for­mally over a pe­riod of at least two years.

‘ We have more re­cently re­ceived as­sur­ances that the prob­lem is now recog­nised and is un­der ac­tive con­sid­er­a­tion.’

A spokesman for the DVLA says: ‘ We have a re­la­tion­ship with the Fed­er­a­tion and we make sure we they are ac­cu­rately in­formed when changes are be­ing made that af­fect his­toric ve­hi­cles.

‘Ap­pli­ca­tions to up­date the V5C are based on a case by case ba­sis.’

1977’s clas­sics – like this Re­liant Scim­i­tar GTE – are the next cars due to be given tax ex­emp­tion, but the DVLA de­nies that it has made any changes to the cri­te­ria.

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