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If you own a horsebox, you probably know how much we stress making sure you have the proper licence to operate your vehicle on public roads. Recreational owners, for the most part, do not need enhanced licences unless they are operating an HGV horsebox in excess of 7.5 tonnes. Yet that does not mean you have no worries. In fact, you might have even bigger problems thanks to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Multiple news outlets are reporting that the HMRC will be aggressively pursuing horsebox owners this year. They will be specifically targeting those whose tax returns seem to show discrepancies when compared to additional information gleaned from third-party sources. What will they be looking for? HMRC is aiming to find owners who are purchasing horseboxes as business assets without reporting personal use of the vehicles.

Professionals are encouraging horsebox owners to make sure all their paperwork and records are in order in anticipation of the January 31 self-assessment deadline. Even owners who have done nothing wrong could face tax investigations if their documentation is not an order. Those who are under-reporting for tax purposes could be subject to stiff penalties should they be discovered.

Horsebox Licencing Requirements

If you are like most UK horsebox owners, the thought of HMRC breathing down your neck is probably more troubling than having to determine whether you need a horsebox licence or not. However, let’s talk about licencing while we’re on the subject.

The average horsebox owner using his/her vehicle for recreational purposes will not need a horsebox licence. Licensing requirements generally only apply to individuals operating HGV horseboxes or horsebox trailer and tow vehicle combinations in excess of 3.5 tonnes – for business purposes. Since an equestrian hobbyist does not earn the majority of his or her income from horse related activities, a special licence is usually not required.

Any transport of horses involving a commercial component does require a horsebox licence. This is true whether an individual is the main participant in the corporate element or has been hired by someone else who is the main participant. Corporate involvement can include earning the lion share of one’s income from horse related activities or accepting corporate sponsorships to fund such activities.

If you have any questions about whether or not you need a horsebox licence, feel free to contact the HGV Training Centre. We can walk you through all of the licencing requirements. Furthermore, we can provide the training you need should a horsebox licence be required. In the event you do not need a special licence, we would recommend you undergo horsebox training on a regular basis anyway.

Transporting horses is quite a bit different from driving your regular car down the road. The HGV Training Centre understands the differences and provides students with the knowledge they need to transport horses safely. For more information about our classes, contact us at your earliest convenience. We operate more than 45 facilities around the UK for your convenience.

Sources:

Bdaily Business News – https://bdaily.co.uk/articles/2015/01/16/hmrc-clamps-down-on-horsebox-owners

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