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Road Tax FAQ

As UK drivers, road tax is something that affects all of us, and therefore it’s important to be fully clued up.

You may have a few burning questions surrounding road tax, so we’ve put together this comprehensive guide that will hopefully provide all the answers you need.


What is road tax?

First introduced to the UK in 1920, and formally known as Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), road tax is a form of tax that must be paid for most types of vehicles which are used, or parked, on public roads.


How is road tax calculated?

Road tax is calculated slightly different depending on the age of your vehicle.

If your car was registered before 1 March 2001, the amount of road tax will depend on the size of the engine. Whereas, if your car was registered on or after 1 March 2001, road tax will be calculated based on CO2 emissions and fuel type, and will fall into a certain tax band based on these factors.


Are some cars exempt from road tax?

Yes. If your car emits less that 100g/km of CO2, you will not have to pay a penny of road tax. This will usually apply to smaller cars, hybrids or electric cars.

It’s very important to remember that although you may not have to pay any road tax, you still need to apply for it like everyone else does, otherwise your car won’t be covered.


How often do I need to renew my road tax?

You must renew your road tax every year.


How will I know when my road tax is due?

Usually the DVLA will contact you and give you a reminder close to the time your road tax is next due. Alternatively, you can check online yourself at any time – simply input your registration number.


How do I pay my road tax?

You can either pay online, which is the most popular method, you can call the DVLA and pay over the phone, or you can pop into your local Post Office branch.

There are options to pay the full amount upfront, or can you choose to set up a direct debit to spread the cost.


Can I transfer road tax to a different car?

In the past, you could, but new legislation means that road tax cannot be transferred. You must cancel the road tax on your current vehicle, and then reapply for it for your new one.


Can I cancel my road tax and get a refund?

Yes, you can. You simply need to contact the DVLA and tell them if you no longer have the vehicle, or that it’s no longer on the road, and they will then refund you for any full months of remaining tax.


Am I allowed to drive my new car home without road tax?

No, you are not allowed to drive a car if it doesn’t have road tax, even if you’re just collecting it from the garage. If you’re buying a new car, arrange your road tax ahead of collection.

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What is the penalty for driving without road tax?

If you are found you be driving a car without road tax, you can face an initial penalty fine of up to £80. If you are taken to court over it, you could then expect to pay fines of up to £1,000.


It’s important to know where you stand with road tax and ensure your vehicle is suitably covered. Head to the GOV.UK website if you need any further information, or have any queries about road tax.