In Barry John Graham v HMRC [2019] TC7313, the First Tier tribunal agreed that a sole trader had done enough to establish that three cars were not “made available for private use” and could claim input tax on their purchase.

The trader employed his son and daughter, who could use the cars for business purposes.

The tribunal dismissed arguments that:

The judge was satisfied that the cars were not made available for private use and allowed the input VAT to be claimed.


Unless a car is specific to a business, such as a driving school car, taxi or hotel courtesy car, the bar is set very high for a trader to claim VAT input tax. It is not enough for a trader to show that no private use was made of the car; they must show that it was not “made available” for private use. This will usually require both legal and practical restrictions on private use.

It is also worth noting that the three cars were expensive models, including a Porsche. The input tax in question was £20,805. The trader justified this by saying that they were necessary as part of his business profile, charging £5,000 a day for computer services.

Links to our guides:

Car or van for VAT?
Private use of goods: VAT and Lennartz
Fuel scale charges (VAT)
Input VAT claim allowed on purchase of car

External link:

Barry John Graham v HMRC [2019] TC7313