Operated by the UK government, the DVLA is responsible for the registration of drivers and vehicles. The taxes they collect are used to:

  • Decrease the UK’s number of vehicle-related crimes
  • Reduce the likelihood of tax evasion
  • Help enhance road safety
  • Promote and support environmentally friendly programmes

Any drivers who do not pay car taxes are driving illegally, unless they have been exempted from paying it. Road taxes are paid each year on every single vehicle that is not exempted.


What is Car Tax?

This is a tax all citizens must pay to legally drive or park on a public road most vehicles in the UK. It may also be referred to as Vehicle Excise Duty.

Owners of undriveable vehicles can apply for SCORN. This signifies your car is off the road and exempts you from paying car tax on the vehicle.


Legal Requirements for Driving in the UK

In addition to paying car tax, UK drivers must meet several other legal requirements, including:

  • Making certain the vehicle is registered
  • Meet the driving age requirements
  • Have the proper driving licence
  • Have a valid MOT (Use this link for MOT History)
  • Have insurance on the car

All drivers are required to make the DVLA aware of any changes in circumstances, including:

  • A change in address
  • A name change
  • Being diagnosed with certain medical conditions
  • If the vehicle has been sold
  • If alterations are made on the vehicle
  • No car tax disc
    Get more information on DVLA change of ownership


Car Tax Disc

Previously in the UK, car tax discs were required to be displayed in a vehicle’s windscreen at all times. To make it easy for enforcement to ensure a tax disc had been renewed, the tax date was required to be visible at all times. Today, the DVLA has upgraded their system, electronically recording car tax payments and eliminating the need for car tax disc. As a result, taxes are automatically updated when paid and tax discs are no longer required to be displayed.

Additional information on tax discs can be found on the DVLA website.


How are Car Tax Rates Calculated?

Typically, car tax rates depend on the vehicle’s engine size or its CO2 emissions.

Car tax rates on all cars registered prior to 1 March 2001 are based on the vehicle’s engine size. Car tax rates on all cars registered after that date are based on the vehicle’s CO2 emissions and fuel type. If the date your car was registered is not available, it will be calculated using the old system.

The DVLA allows you to calculate your tax rate online here. You can also contact the DVLA and speak to an advisor regarding any questions you may have.


Check Car Tax Due Date

You will need the vehicle registration number to run an online tax and MOT check. See car fuel, emissions and CO2 data outputs, costs to tax your vehicle and a free MOT reminders service. 


Who is Exempt from Paying Car Taxes?

Some people are not required to pay car tax, regardless of what type of vehicle they own. However, they are still required to apply for car tax. After it is applied for, the exemption will be offered.  Individuals who may be exempt include those who own:

  • Electric vehicles
  • Steam vehicles
  • Vehicles used for forestry, agriculture, and horticulture
  • Historic vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1976
  • Powered wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and invalid carriages with a maximum speed of 8mph on the road
  • Vehicles used by a disabled individual
  • Disabled passenger vehicles, including those used by organisations to transport disabled individuals

If your vehicle is not being driven on the road, you are not required to pay car tax. You must register that the vehicle is off the road.


How to Pay Vehicle Tax

Several options are available for paying your vehicle tax.  However, you will need to have certain information available when paying, such as:

  • Your V11 or a DVLA last chance warning letter
  • Your V5C or the vehicle logbook registered in your name
  • Your V5C2 or the new keepers detail slip, if you just purchased the vehicle
    See more about change of address DVLA forms


Payments can conveniently be made via the online portal using your credit/ debit card or through direct debit. You can also make your payment through any Post Office that handles vehicle tax. You can, then, set up direct deposits using your building society or checking account. To complete your payment, you will need your V5C or V5C2.

If you do not have these documents available, you need to apply for a new log by post or phone.

You should not bring your MOT test certificate. Due to the up to 2-day delay in updating the certificate, you may not be able to tax your vehicle directly after passing the test.


Cancelling Car Tax and Getting a Refund

If you need to cancel your car tax, you should be eligible for a refund on all the remaining full months you have already paid for.

You will need to contact the DVLA and cancel your car tax if your car has been:
See about free car checks from DVLA

  • Written off by your insurance company
  • Removed from the road and issued a SORN
  • Scrapped
  • Stolen
  • Sold to another party
  • Exported outside the UK
  • Registered as exempt from vehicle tax


You must contact the DVLA via telephone to cancel your road tax. Your direct debit will be cancelled at the same time. Then, you will be issued a refund for any remaining months on your car tax.  If your refund cheque does not arrive in the post within six weeks, you will need to contact the DVLA at 0300 790 6802 for assistance. They will be able to provide an update and give you an estimate of when your refund will arrive.


I have not received a tax disc. Where is it?

Tax disc are no longer issued. Your tax becomes valid as soon as it is paid and is recorded electronically.

I need to cancel my road tax. How do I do this?

Contact the DVLA via telephone to cancel your car tax.

I haven’t received my car tax refund. Where is it?

if 6 weeks have passed since you cancelled your car tax, contact the DVLA at 0300 790 6802 for an update on its status.

Can I tax without all of the correct documentation?

Documents needed to tax a car include one of the following:

  • The V11 tax reminder issued by DVLA
  • ‘Last chance’ issued by DVLA
  • V5C Registration document (commonly known as the log book)
    In these instances, the vehicle will be registered in your name in order to buy road tax
  • The green ‘new keeper supplement’ section from the log book (if you have just bought the vehicle and it is not registered with your name and address
  • Credit or debit card to make payment although a Direct Debit can be set up


I don’t have any of this documentation. Can i tax the car?

Usually not and you’ll need to make a SORN declaration, apply for a new log book via the V62 application form and send a payment for £25.00 to DVLA.

There are a few exceptions. Learn if you can tax a car without the V5 log book or tax reminder (when the vehicle is not registered in your name).

I’m not sure if my car is already taxed. How do I find out?

You can contact the DVLA or use the DVLA’s online portal to learn your car’s status. You will need to know the vehicle’s make and registration plate number to obtain this information.