Today, most of us own at least one vehicle- be it a hatchback, a sedan, a Heavy Goods Vehicle or even a motorbike. Our vehicle is our most prized possession but, sadly, along with this asset comes a liability- the vehicle tax. It is essential for you to know every single thing about the vehicle tax before you go ahead with paying it in order to avoid any dues and penalties later. So, here is all that you will need to know during the course of the tax payment:

What is a vehicle tax?

What is a vehicle tax?

All the vehicles which are owned by an individual and run on the public roads have to be taxed in the United Kingdom. This database is maintained by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency or the DVLA, as is commonly known. There have been a series of changes in the rules regarding the taxation in the recent past. An exemption from the vehicle tax can be obtained if a vehicle is not being used, i.e., if it is off the road for any reason.

How to check if a vehicle is taxed?

You can check online whether a vehicle is taxed or not.

  1. Visit
  2. Enter the registration number of your vehicle or car and click on “continue”
Vehicle Registration Number

How to check if a vehicle is insured?

You can use ‘askMID’ to check if your vehicle is insured.

How to tax your vehicle?

Documents Required: Before proceeding with the payment of taxes, you’ll need the following essential documents:

  1. V85/1 for a heavy good Vehicle- the form for taxing aHGV
  2. V5C logbook- the registration certificate of your vehicle
  3. V5C/2 if the vehicle is new

If an individual doesn’t have any of these, then they need to apply for a fresh V5C. He / she will be required to fill out a V62 form, which can be purchased at a cost of £25. Additional documents required are:

  1. A valid MOT – it has to be valid from the date the vehicle tax begin or the date the vehicle tax was issued, whichever is later
  2. A valid Exemption Certificate – if an individual claims disabled vehicle tax
  3. A legitimate Reduced Pollution Certificate – if the vehicle has been customized for reduced pollution
  4. A valid GVT or PSVC – if either of these is required, it will be mentioned on the vehicle tax reminder

If an individual is in Northern Ireland, he / she will need to have a valid paper copy of either the certificate of insurance or a cover note. The insurance needs to be valid from the date the vehicle tax began or the date the vehicle tax was issued, whichever is later.

Once you have all the above documents, you need to look for a reference number. This number can be found on:

  • A reminder or warning letter from the DVLA- V11
  • Your vehicle log book
  • The new keeper’s details’ slip in V5C/2, if your vehicle is new

Means of Payment: How to Pay Vehicle Tax Online

Once you have all the information in hand, you can pay the vehicle tax online or through any of the numerous options available:

  • Credit Card (handling fee of £2.50 to pay for car tax with a credit card applicable )
  • Cheque payable to Post Office Limited
  • Postal Order
  • Debit card
  • Cash (but not by post)
  • Sterling travelers cheques
  • Direct Debit
  • Post Office Budget Card
Paying vehicle tax online

If you are not comfortable with paying the tax online, the UK government provides you with the option of getting in touch with the DVLA’s 24-hour tax service over a telephone call for alternatives. Their contact number is 0300 123 4321.

Another option is going to a post office dealing with vehicle taxes and setting up a Direct Debit for the payment of your tax.

Notifying the authorities about an off the road vehicle

It needs to be remembered that if your vehicle is off the road, you need to register it as one by declaring SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) and also inform the authorities to be exempted from paying the tax.

Getting a refund after the cancellation of vehicle tax

If you no longer have your vehicle or if it goes off the road somewhere in the middle of the year, for whatever reasons, then you need to notify the DVLA of the same. This way you cancel your vehicle tax and the accepted reasons for the same are few. However, if you do manage to convince the DVLA to cancel your vehicle tax, the following will be done next:

  • If you have been making the payments via Direct Debit, then your Direct Debit will be cancelled automatically
  • If the cancellation is made midway during the year, you will get a refund for all the full months left on your tax in roughly six weeks. This vehicle or car tax refund will arrive in the form of a cheque having the same details as on your vehicle’s log book.

You need to remember that no refund will be given for the payment fees or the surcharges on various payment modes.

Checking the taxation history of your vehicle

It is essential for one to have complete knowledge of whether the vehicle that you own or are soon about to own has cleared all its prior tax liabilities. Tax discs signifying this history are not in use anymore. However, to ease the process for the vehicle owners, the UK government provides you with the facility of checking your tax liabilities online using simply the registration number (the number on the number plate) of the vehicle.

It can also be checked if your vehicle has been registered as off the road or if the SORN has been declared.

The MOT Certificate

MOT is a compulsory annual test for all the vehicles in the UK, certifying that they meet the desired environmental safety standards. The MOT is valid only for a specific period but does not, in any way, mean that your vehicle is good to go throughout that period. It simply means that your vehicle met the desired standard at the time of the test. It is your responsibility to maintain the standards while the vehicle is on the road.

  • Checking the MOT status of your vehicle: It is essential for one to know the MOT status of their vehicle to ensure that no unnecessary penalties are imposed later when a check is done. This can be done by entering the vehicle’s details- mainly the make and the registration number- on the online portal of the vehicle enquiry service.
  • Checking the MOT history of your vehicle: The past results of an MOT test can also be checked online using the registration number of the vehicle. The history shows if your vehicle passed or failed the test, the mileage recorded at the time of the test, which part failed or had a problem at the time of the test and when the next MOT is due.

All these details are good to be kept handy while filing for your vehicle tax as you can unexpectedly be asked to present the MOT certificate to the authorities.

Direct Debit: The most preferred mode of payment explained

For those of you who don’t know, Direct Debit is simply a facility for the automatic payment of regular charges. It is merely an instruction from you to your bank to allow the organization receiving the regular payments to automatically withdraw the amount from your account with some prior notice to you. It is one of the most convenient ways for making the regular payments without much hassle.

For payment of your vehicle tax, you can set up a Direct Debit while paying online or by going to a Post Office. You need to pay a 5% surcharge if you decide to make the payments monthly or semi-annually but if you go for annual payments, there is no surcharge.

Details Required: You need the following details for setting up a Direct Debit:

  • Your Address and date of birth
  • Bank or building society name
  • Account number
  • Sort code

Once your Direct Debit has been set up, you will get a confirmation email or a post. The first payment is taken only once the vehicle tax has started and this can take up to 10 days. Post that, all the payments are taken on the first working day of the month in which the payment is due.

Renewal of the Vehicle Tax: Your vehicle tax, hence automatically gets renewed when it is due. However, if your MOT is due to run out at the time of the vehicle tax renewal, you will get a notification from the DVLA to get a new MOT certificate before the due date. As soon as you have the new MOT certificate, DVLA’s records will get updated, and your vehicle tax will be deducted when it is due. However, if you do not get the MOT certificate in time, you will have to tax your vehicle all over again.

Paying the Vehicle tax without a V11 Reminder from the DVLA

It isn’t essential for you to wait for a reminder from the DVLA for paying your vehicle tax. You can be a responsible citizen and pay the tax using the following documents:

  • V5C registration certificate or the logbook, in your name, if you’re the current keeper of the vehicle- use the 11 digit reference number listed on this document while paying the tax online
  • V62 application for a registration certificate, if you’re the current keeper- this is required while paying at the post office
  • V5C/2 green new keeper supplement, if you’re the new keeper without a V5C in your name- use the 12 digit reference number listed on this document while paying the tax online -

With the above details, you can pay the tax online, through phone by calling on 0300 123 4321 or at a post office which deals with vehicle tax.

Advance payment of the Vehicle Tax

If due to some reason you know that you will not be able to pay the vehicle tax when it is due, you can apply for it two months in advance, i.e., two months before the next payment is due.

Vehicle/Car Tax Rates

Vehicle Tax Rates

The rate of vehicle tax depends on when the vehicle was first registered.

  • If the vehicle was registered before 1 March 2001, the vehicle owner pays according to engine size.
  • If the vehicle was registered on or after 1 March 2001, the vehicle owner pays according to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and type of fuel used

The table below will help to understand the payable tax and the rates apply from 1 April 2015

Vehicles registered on or after 1 March 2001

Type of vehicle 12 Months 6 Months
Light Goods Vehicles
All Vehicles £230.00 £126.50
Band A (up to 100g/km)*
Diesel Car/Petrol Car Nil Not available
Alternative Fuel Car Nil Not available
Band B (101 - 110g/km)*
Diesel Car/Petrol Car £20.00 Not available
Alternative Fuel Car £10.00 Not available
Band C (111 - 120g/km)*
Diesel Car/Petrol Car £30.00 Not available
Alternative Fuel Car £20.00 Not available
Band D (121 - 130g/km)*
Diesel Car/Petrol Car £110.00 £60.50
Alternative Fuel Car £100.00 £55.00
Band E (131 - 140g/km)*
Diesel Car/Petrol Car £130.00 £71.50
Alternative Fuel Car £120.00 £66.00
Band F (141-150g/km)*
Diesel Car/Petrol Car £145.00 £79.75
Alternative Fuel Car £135.00 £74.25
Band G (151-165g/km)*
Diesel Car/Petrol Car £185.00 £101.75
Alternative Fuel Car £175.00 £96.25
Band H (166-175g/km)*
Diesel Car/Petrol Car £210.00 £115.50
Alternative Fuel Car £200.00 £110.00
Band I (176-185g/km)*
Diesel Car/Petrol Car £230.00 £126.50
Alternative Fuel Car £220.00 £121.00
Band J (186-200 g/Km)*
Diesel Car/Petrol Car £270.00 £148.50
Alternative Fuel Car £260.00 £143.00
Band K (201-225g/km)*
Diesel Car/Petrol Car £295.00 £162.25
Alternative Fuel Car £285.00 £156.75
Band L (226-255g/km)*
Diesel Car/Petrol Car £500.00 £275.00
Alternative Fuel Car £490.00 £269.50
Band M (Over 255g/km)*
Diesel Car/Petrol Car £515.00 £283.25
Alternative Fuel Car £505.00 £277.75
*These bands represent the CO2 emission levels for each band of vehicle

Vehicles registered before 1 March 2001

Type of vehicle 12 Months 6 Months
Private/Light Goods Vehicle (goods vehicles not over 3,500kg revenue weight)
Not over 1549cc £145.00 £79.75
Over 1549cc £235.00 £129.25
Not over 150cc £17.00 Not available
151cc up to 400cc £39.00 Not available
401cc up to 600cc £60.00 £33.00
Over 600cc £82.00 £45.10
Tricycles (including 3 wheeled cars not over 450kg)
Not over 150cc £17.00 Not available
All other tricycles £82.00 £45.10
Vehicles in Disabled Tax Class Nil Nil
Historic Tax Class Nil Nil

Vehicles registered between 1 March 2003 - 31 December 2006

Type of vehicle 12 Months 6 Months
Light goods vehicles that meet the EURO 4 standard £140.00 £77.00
Other vehicles
Rates of vehicle tax for light goods vehicles meeting Euro 4 and Euro 5 emission standards, lorries and other vehicles are listed in leaflet V149

Post April 2017

Post April 2017, car tax will change for new cars bought. The first year rates will change based on the carbon dioxide emissions of the vehicle and there will be a flat standard rate of £140 for all cars except those emitting 0 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer, for which the standard rate will be £0. Cars with a list price above £40,000 will attract a supplement of £310 per year for the first five years in which the standard rate is paid.

Contacting DVLA Vehicle Tax Service:

For your queries related to vehicle tax, you can contact on 03001234321. It’s a 24-hour service.

Whether an individual is in a HGV or a hatchback, a monster truck or a motorbike – DNS Accountants will get the vehicle tax sorted in no time.

Share this post

Sign up to our newsletter

Tax news for contractors freelancers and small businesses.