Vehicle Tax Laws

Car and Motor Vehicle Tax Laws

A valid tax disc must be clearly displayed if you wish to drive a vehicle on the road, or park a vehicle on a public road. If you fail to do so you may be breaking the law under the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994.

Frequently asked questions.

What is the penalty for not displaying a valid tax disc?

Driving Without Road Tax:

  • Fine up to £1,000 or 5 times the annual road tax fee, whichever is the greater amount.  You may also be liable to pay back duty.

Causing or allowing someone to drive without road tax:

  • Fine to a maximum of £1,000 unless the vehicle can carry more than 8 passengers, when the fine rises to a maximum of £2,500.

Failure to display road tax:

  • Fine up to £200.

Using a vehicle when declared off road (has a Statutory Off Road Notification - SORN):

  • Fine up to £2,500

Using a vehicle when liable to pay road tax at a higher rate:

  • Fine up to £1,000 or 5 times the difference between the tax rates calculated at the annual rate.  You may also be liable to pay back duty.

How much does a tax disc cost?

Cars and light goods vehicles registered before 1 March 2001
The rate of vehicle tax is based on engine size for cars and light goods vehicles registered before 1 March 2001.

Private/light goods (TC11)


Engine size (cc) 12 months rate 6 months rate
Not over 1549 £140.00 £77.00
Over 1549 £225.00 £123.75

  
Cars registered on or after 1 March 2001
The rate of vehicle tax is based on fuel type and CO2 emissions for cars registered on or after 1 March 2001.
The rates are split into bands depending on CO2 emissions - the lower the emissions, the lower the vehicle tax.
CO2 emission details are shown on the car’s V5C registration certificate, or you can find emission details online.
The following 2 tables contain the ‘standard’ rates of vehicle tax for cars that are already registered.

Petrol car (TC48) and diesel car (TC49)

Band CO2 emission (g/km) 12 months rate 6 months rate
A Up to 100 £0.00 Not available
B 101-110 £20.00 Not available
C 111-130 £30.00 Not available
D 121-130 £105.00 £57.75
E 131-140 £125.00 £68.75
F 141-150 £140.00 £77.00
G 151-165 £175.00 £96.25
H 166-175 £200.00 £110.00
I 176-185 £220.00 £121.00
J 186-200 £260.00 £143.00
K* 201-225 £280.00 £154.00
L 226-255 £475.00 £261.25
M Over 255 £490.00 £269.50

*Includes cars with a CO2 figure over 225g/km but were registered before 23 March 2006.


Alternative fuel car (TC59)

 
Band CO2 emission (g/km) 12 months rate 6 months rate
A Up to 100 £0.00 Not available
B 101-110 £10.00 Not available
C 111-120 £20.00 Not available
D 121-130 £95.00 £52.25
E 131-140 £115.00 £63.25
F 141-150 £130.00 £71.50
G 151-165 £165.00 £90.75
H 166-175 £190.00 £104.50
I 176-185 £210.00 £115.50
J 186-200 £250.00 £137.50
K* 201-225 £270.00 £148.50
L 226-255 £465.00 £255.75
M Over 255 £480.00 £264.00

*Includes cars with a CO2 figure over 225g/km but were registered before 23 March 2006.

 
First year rates - cars registered on or after 1 April 2010

These rates are for a vehicle’s first tax disc when it’s first registered.
All tax discs after that are charged at the rates shown in the ‘Cars registered on or after 1 March 2001’ table above.

Petrol car (TC48) and diesel car (TC49)

 
Band CO2 emission (g/km) 12 months rate 6 months rate
A Up to 100 £0.00 Not available
B 101-110 £0.00 Not available
C 111-120 £0.00 Not available
D 121-130 £0.00 Not available
E 131-140  £125.00 £68.75
F 141-150 £140.00 £77.00
G 151-165 £175.00 £96.25
H 166-175 £285.00 Not available
I 176-185 £335.00 Not available
J 186-200 £475.00 Not available
K 201-225 £620.00 Not available
L 226-255 £840.00 Not available
M Over 255 £1065.00 Not available


Alternative fuel car (TC59)

 
Band CO2 emission (g/km) 12 months rate 6 months rate
A Up to 100 £0.00 Not available
B 101-110 £0.00 Not available
C 111-120 £0.00 Not available
D 121-130 £0.00 Not available
E 131-140 £115.00 £63.25
F 141-150 £130.00 £71.50
G 151-165 £165.00 £90.75
H 166-175 £275.00 Not available
I 176-185 £325.00 Not available
J 186-200 £465.00 Not available
K 201-225 £610.00 Not available
L 226-255 £830.00 Not available
M Over 255 £1,055.00 Not available


Other vehicle tax rates

Light goods vehicles (TC39)
Registered on or after 1 March 2001 and not over 3,500kg revenue weight

Vehicle 12 months rate 6 months rate
Light goods vehicle £220.00 £121.00


Euro 4 light goods vehicles (TC36)
Registered between 1 March 2003 and 31 December 2006 and not over 3,500kg revenue weight.

Vehicle 12 months rate 6 months rate
Euro 4 light goods vehicles £140.00 £77.00


Euro 5 light goods vehicles (TC36)
Registered between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2010 and not over 3,500kg revenue weight

Vehicle 12 months rate 6 months rate
Euro 5 light goods vehicles £140.00 £77.00


Motorcycle (with or without sidecar) (TC17)


Engine size (cc) 12 months rate 6 months rate
Not over 150 £17.00 Not available
151-400 £37.00 Not available
401-600 £57.00 £31.35
Over 600 £78.00 £42.90


Tricycles (not over 450kg unladen) (TC50)


Engine size (cc) 12 months rate 6 months rate
Tricycle not over 150 £17.00 Not available
All other tricycles £78.00 £42.90


Trade licences


Vehicle 12 months rate 6 months rate
All vehicles £165.00 £90.75
Bicycles (only) not over 450kg £78.00 £42.90
Tricycles (only) not over 450kg £78.00 £42.90


Where do I purchase a vehicle tax disc?

Tax discs may be purchased online via the DVLA’s vehicle online service, or in a participating post office (please note, not all post offices can issue a tax disc).

How long will my tax disc be valid?

You can purchase a tax disc for 6 or 12 months.

What documents do I need to purchase a tax disc?

To obtain a tax disc you will need:

  • A valid MOT certificate (if the vehicle is more than 3 years old)
  • A valid insurance certificate
  • Proof of ownership of the vehicle which will either be the log book (V5) or the reminder that the DVLA has sent you.


Are any vehicles are exempt from requiring a tax disc?
(Information taken from .Gov.UK)

Yes, some vehicles are exempt and do not have to pay for a tax disc, however, vehicles that are exempt from vehicle tax still need to display a ‘free’ tax disc. Instead, a nil cost tax disc is issued that will need to be renewed each year. Such vehicles are: 

  • Vehicles used by a disabled person. Claim disability exemption when you get your vehicle tax disc. Find out if you’re eligible and how to claim.
  • Disabled passenger vehicles - vehicles (apart from ambulances) used by organisations providing transport for the disabled.
  • Mobility scooters, powered wheel chairs and invalid carriages (They must have a maximum speed of 8mph on the road, and be fitted with a device limiting them to 4mph on footways)
  • Historic vehicles/ Classic vehicles. You don’t have to pay vehicle tax on vehicles made before 1 January 1973 (‘historic vehicles’).
  • Electric vehicles. 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.
  • Mowing machines. The mower must be designed, constructed and used just for cutting grass. It does not include tractors used to tow gang mowers.
  • Steam vehicles. You don’t have to pay vehicle tax on any steam-powered vehicle.
  • Vehicles used just for agriculture, horticulture and forestry.This includes tractors, agricultural engines and light agricultural vehicles used off-road. It also includes ‘limited use’ vehicles used for short journeys (not more than 1.5 kilometres) on the public road between land that’s occupied by the same person.


Is a private vehicle ever exempt from requiring a tax disc?

It is very rare and only in extremely exceptional circumstances that a private vehicle may be driven without a valid tax disc:

  • If you need to travel to an approved MOT test centre for a pre–booked MOT, (pre–booked meaning the time and date of the MOT test has been booked in advance). If using this exemption, you will be challenged on the legitimacy of your journey.
  • While the MOT is being carried out, the tester may be required to take it on a public road; however this exemption is only a possibility if the tester is driving the vehicle and nobody else.
  • If the vehicle fails its MOT test and the vehicle needs to be taken to a garage to have the work carried out that resulted in the failure. However, this can cause additional problems – please see Can I drive my vehicle if it fails it's MOT?


Do I need a tax disc if my vehicle is parked on the road but not being driven?

Yes, if your vehicle is parked on a public road (includes outside your house) then you must display a tax disc as if you were driving the car. Failure to do so will result in the same prosecution if you were driving the vehicle without a valid tax dics.

Do I need a tax disc if my vehicle is off the road?

If your vehicle is ‘off-road’ you can make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) to the DVLA, specifying where the vehicle is being kept. If eligible, the SORN will be valid for 12 months and must be renewed after this time, even if you have no intentions in using the vehicle. Failing to obtain a SORN will result in a fixed penalty fine. If you decide to use the vehicle during the SORN period you must notify the DVLA and apply for the correct tax disc for your vehicle.

Can I transfer my tax disc to my new car?

No, tax discs are not transferable as they are specific to a vehicle registration number, however you can apply for a partial refund of unused tax from the DVLA using form V14.

Do I get a grace period to drive my vehicle once my tax disc expires?

No, contrary to some beliefs, this is a myth. You can apply for your new tax disc up to two months in advance, but there is no grace period to drive the vehicle once your tax disc expires.

I have ordered my new tax disc online but it wont arrive in time – can I still drive my vehicle?

Regardless, if you drive a vehicle without displaying a valid tax disc you risk being fined.
Since 17 July 2013, when you renew your vehicle tax or when your new car is taxed for the first time, you now have up to 14 days to display the new tax disc on the vehicle. Under the old rules, you had just 5 days to do this.
For renewals, this extended period will only apply when your application to renew your tax disc is made before the previous one expires. If the application is made after the current disc expires, then the vehicle will be treated as untaxed and the 14 day rule will not apply. Purchasing a tax disc on line can take up to 5 days so make sure you allow sufficient time.

If my tax disc has expired will my insurance be invalid?

Quite possibly yes. Not having a valid tax disc alone does not warrant an insurance company refusing to pay out after an accident (or other reason for a claim), however if the vehicle does not have a valid tax disc because it is not road worthy (in which case it may not have a valid MOT either) then they can refuse to cover you in the event of a claim.

 

The above information is true and correct as of August 2013 and relates to England and Wales.
For specific rules and variations relating to car tax in Northern Ireland visit the NI Direct Government Services website, and for Scotland visit the DirectScot Public Service website for Scotland.


 

 

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