DVLA IN TAX CHANGE ROW
Registration agency and Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs at loggerheads over planned tax exemption changes
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.