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Hire Boats and the new diesel tax


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There seems to be a little confusion amongst some with regard to hire craft and the new red diesel tax so I thought I would make this post to answer any fears about being ripped off by higher fuel charges.

A hire boat will be treated just like any other “private pleasure†boat by HMRC so will be charged duty at the new higher rate from Nov 1st.

The only exception will be if you are provided with a skipper, not a common occurrence but one that may happen. So if the yard charges more for your fuel rest assured that they’re not profiteering, it’s just more tax, sorry guys. Of course if you hire for a genuinely commercial project, e.g. film making or the like then you may also have an argument in your favour.

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However, there may be challenging times ahead. The 60/40 split that privateers are likely to declare is only a guide, but one that most will accept. It is based more than likely on your annual usage. So you gain in the Summer and loose some in the Winter, but for an annual basis 60/40 is probably fair. For hirers it is not yet clear who would have to make the declaration, the hirer or the boat yard. On top of that, most boat yards take a fuel deposit and at the end of the hire, top up the tank and then charge for the amount used. Would be a brave person who would try and declare, hirer or hire yard a 60/40 split for fuel that has plainly been used for a week in July or August. On a week by week basis the percentage split would alter significantly between say a week in October and a week in July. Remember a privateer may buy fuel in July that lasts them the rest of the season and most of Winter. A hirer has plainly used that fuel during the last week.Will this lead to lower declarations in Summer and therefore higher fuel charges, with higher declarations in Winter and lower fuel charges, therefore adding even more to the cost of high season bookings. Is it possible that the hire yards will change over to a fuel inclusive type deal, whereby they could then probably declare a 60/40 split on an annual basis?


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Hi Folks

Does it make a difference if I book a boat that still has space heating as this is not run off diesel... so would I pay more for fuel used as not getting any rebate or 60/40 split etc?

When we boat abroad the amount we are charged for fuel is unbelievable, often about a fifth of what the boat hire was, I'm really hoping its not going to totally wallop the cost of holidays :(

All the best


P.S I really think a move to include fuel in the cost would be much better, but I see some canal operators who did include it from next year aren't, so perhaps it has/is sadly working the other way?

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Keith, one thing there is no confusion about is that the purchaser is the person responsible for the declaration and in this case the hirer is purchasing and is invoiced the fuel specifically, i.e. not as an inclusive part of the hire, so the hirer is responsible for the declaration, full stop, there is no provision for “I am not sure†so somebody else should make the declaration.

I know I keep banging on about it, but the 60/40 split is the way to go, HMRC would not have suggested it as the “norm†if they were not prepared to accept it, they simply do not do stuff like that. What they are in effect saying is look guys we’ve done the best we can for you here, if it’s for a cruiser with the usual kit just say 60/40, we can’t be bothered with this so make life easy for us all and use the suggested split. I strongly suspect that many yards will just give you a pre printed 60/40 split form to sign anyway.

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