The new car tax rules explained

Carlton Boyce / 17 February 2015

You will probably be aware that the rules around your car’s tax disc have changed, but do you know what this really means for you?



The headline news is that you no longer have to display a tax disc, so if you haven’t already done so you can take it out and throw it away!  But what are the other changes?

The tax disc is no longer transferrable

When you buy or sell a car, the tax disc (or ‘Vehicle Excise Duty’, as it’s also known) is no longer sold with the car. The seller needs to ‘cash’ it in and the buyer needs to then tax it for him/herself. This ensures that every car has a current MOT certificate and is insured at the point of sale but it does add another layer of complexity to what is already a potentially stressful time.

Beware of scam emails claiming to be from the DVLA. 

Taxing your car online or by ‘phone

The easiest and quickest way to tax your car is online. You’ll need a credit or debit card to pay along with either:

  • A V11, the form the DVLA sends you to remind you that it’s time to tax your car; or
  • The car’s V5C log book; or
  • The New Keeper’s Supplement, or V5C/2, if you’ve just bought the car.

The process is straightforward and the car’s MOT and insurance status is automatically checked. However, when you take out car insurance it can take a few days to update the database. You can check the Motor Insurance Database (MID) yourself – or you can still go to the Post Office and do it the old-fashioned way with your certificate!

You can also tax your car using the 24-hour telephone service by calling 0300 123 4321. You’ll need the same documents as doing it online.

Read our guide to driving after you turn 70.

Taxing your car in person

Yes, you can still go to the Post Office and tax it in person. Handy if you want to pay using a cheque or cash. You’ll also get a receipt (but still no tax disc…), which some may find reassuring.

Reminders

The DVLA still issue a reminder by way of a V11 form, so you shouldn’t forget to renew your car, even without a disc in the window to look at!

Or, you might want consider paying by direct debit: you can pay monthly, six-monthly, or annually and once it’s set up it’s a painless and easy way to make sure you don’t forget.

Beware of emails which offer you a refund on car tax and ask for your bank details. Read our guide to the car tax scam.

SORN

You might have heard of SORN, or Statutory Off Road Notification, the process by which you tell the DVLA that you don’t need to buy car tax because your car is not being used or stored on a public highway.

You must do this, and re-tax your car when it goes back on the road, or risk a fine. It can, however, be a useful way of saving money on that cherished classic that is only used in the summer!

Do you worry about having your driving licence revoked?


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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.