Complete and easy guide to your car’s road tax

Most UK drivers know that they have to pay annual road tax if they use their car on the road, but these days it’s not as straightforward as it used to be. Even the name it goes by has changed over the years! Many of us still call it “road tax” or “car tax”, though its proper label now is “Vehicle Excise Duty”.

The name isn’t the only thing that’s changed:

  • Road tax windscreen stickers bit the dust in 2014 thanks to a centralised database.
  • The digital age has made online payments possible – no more standing in line at the Post Office with all your paperwork (unless you want to!)
  • Perhaps the biggest upheaval to the road tax is the differing rates of payment due, based on the date the vehicle was registered and its level of CO2 emissions.

It’s all rather confusing, so here’s some clarification about road tax rules throughout the UK.

How much is my road tax?

Road tax for cars registered after 1 April 2017

The first VED payment is due when you register the vehicle and is based on your vehicle’s CO2 emissions. This cover the first 12 months.

CO2 emissions (g/km)

*Standard diesel cars and petrol cars

All other diesel cars

Alternative fuel cars

0

£0

£0

£0

1 - 50

£10

£25

£0

51 - 75

£25

£105

£15

76 – 90

£105

£125

£95

91 – 100

£125

£145

£115

101 - 110

£145

£165

£135

111 – 130

£165

£205

£155

131 - 150

£205

£515

£195

151 - 170

£515

£830

£505

171 - 190

£830

£1,240

£820

191 - 225

£1,240

£1,760

£1,230

226 - 255

£1,760

£2,070

£1,750

Over 255

£2,070

£2,070

£2,060

*Standard diesel cars are those that meet the Real Driving Emissions 2 (RDE2) standard for nitrogen oxide emissions – your manufacturer can tell you if your diesel car meets this standard.

From the second year onwards, payments are slightly more standardised.

Fuel type

Single 12 month payment

Single payment by Direct Debit

12 monthly payments by Direct Debit

Single 6 month payment

Single 6 month payment by Direct Debit

Petrol or diesel

£140

£140

£147

£77

£73.50

Electric

£0

N/A

N/A

£0

N/A

Alternative

£130

£130

£136.50

£71.50

£68.25

Vehicles worth more than £40,000

Road tax payments are hiked by an extra £310 per year if the list price of your car is over £40,000. This applies for five years from the second time the vehicle is taxed.

Cars registered between 1 March 2001 and 31 March 2017

The rate of tax for petrol and diesel fuel cars registered between 1 March 2001 and 31 March 2017 is based on fuel type and CO2 emissions.

Band

CO2 emissions (g/km)

Single 12 month payment

Single payment by Direct Debit

12 monthly payments by Direct Debit

Single 6 month payment

Single 6 month payment by Direct Debit

A

Up to 100

£0

£0

N/A

N/A

N/A

B

101 – 110

£20

£20

£21

N/A

N/A

C

111 – 120

£30

£30

£31.50

N/A

N/A

D

121 – 130

£120

£120

£126

£66

£63

E

131 – 140

£140

£140

£147

£77

£73.50

F

141 – 150

£155

£155

£162.75

£85.25

£81.38

G

151 – 165

£195

£195

£204.75

£107.25

£102.38

H

166 – 175

£230

£230

£241.50

£126.50

£120.75

I

176 – 185

£250

£250

£262.50

£137.50

£131.25

J

186 – 200

£290

£290

£304.50

£159.50

£152.25

K

201 – 225

£315

£315

£330.75

£173.25

£165.38

L

226 – 255

£540

£540

£567

£297

£283.50

M

Over 255

£555

£555

£582.75

£305.25

£291.38

Cars registered before 1 March 2001

Vehicle tax is based on engine size for cars registered before 1 March 2001.

Engine Size (cc)

Single 12 month payment

Single payment by Direct Debit

12 monthly payments by Direct Debit

Single 6 month payment

Single 6 month payment by Direct Debit

Not over 1549

£155

£155

£162.75

£85.25

£81.38

Over 1549

£255

£255

£267.75

£140.25

£133.88

Which vehicles are free from road tax payments?

As you can see from the tables above, some vehicles qualify for free road tax based on their low or zero-rated CO2 emissions. But there are other times that your car might be exempt from road tax.

Disability exemptions

Vehicles owned or used by a disabled person may be exempt from road tax. Find out if you’re eligible.

Disabled passenger vehicles

Organisations that provide transport for disabled vehicles are exempt (except ambulances).

Mobility scooters

Mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs with a maximum speed of 8mph (on the road) are exempt if they are fitted with a device limiting them to 4mph on footpaths.

Do classic cars pay road tax?

Good news for classic car owners. From 1 April each year, if you own an historic or classic vehicle made more than 40 years before the 1 January of that year, you will automatically be exempt from paying road tax.

Do electric cars pay road tax?

To support and encourage drivers opting for the very cleanest cars, from 1 April 2017 all electric vehicles have been moved to Band A, which is exempt from road tax.

(The electricity must come from an external source or an electric storage battery not connected to any source of power when the vehicle is moving.)

Vehicles that are registered as “off the road”

You don’t need to tax your vehicle if it is registered as off the road. You must have completed a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

How do I find out what my car’s CO2 emissions are?

Keeping your road tax low might be a factor when you choose your next car, so how do can you find out what the emissions are on a vehicle?

The government has a useful online tool that tells you information about fuel consumption and emissions for both new and used cars, but if you already own a vehicle, you can find emissions details on the car’s V5C registration document.

Can you tax a car without insurance?

No. Your car must be insured when you tax your car, but thanks to the DVLA’s centralised database, you no longer have to physically have your insurance certificate with you when you buy your vehicle tax. The DVLA automatically knows if a car is insured and has an MOT.

How to buy road tax

  1. Online - You can pay your road tax online by debit or credit card or by Direct Debit. To set up a Direct Debit you will need your address and date of birth, plus information about your bank or building society’s name, account number and sort code.
  2. Telephone - You can also pay by credit or debit card (but not by direct debit) over the telephone with DVLA’s 24-hour vehicle tax service. Call 0300 123 4321.
  3. Post Office – You can pay for road tax or set up a Direct Debit at many Post Office branches. Take with you your payment (or bank account details to set up a Direct Debit), plus your vehicle log book (V5C) OR the green “new keeper’s details slip (V5C/2) from the log book if you’re the new owner.  You might also need your MOT test certificate.

Can I get road tax refunded if I no longer have the car?

If you no longer have the vehicle or it’s registered as off the road, you are entitled to a refund of road tax for any full months of remaining tax.  You’ll need to get in touch with DVLA to cancel your vehicle tax and tell them the reason you think you’re owed a refund.

If you’ve found this information helpful, why not get in touch for a quote for your car insurance?

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