Vehicles which need not be taxed

For reasons of fairness and to keep the law reasonable, there are certain exemptions from car tax (vehicle excise duty). The reasons for car tax exemption vary widely – cars used for certain purposes, within certain industries and which function in certain ways do not require their owners to pay for their tax disc.

Cars used by disabled people

Included amongst those vehicles which do not require a paid tax disc are vehicles used by disabled people who are either receiving the higher-rate version of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), or the War Pensioners Mobility Supplement.

These vehicles must be used only to serve the disabled person’s needs – if they have nominated a driver, and even if this driver is the registered owner of the vehicle, it cannot be used to their own ends. This does not mean, necessarily, that the disabled person must be in the car at all times when it is driven – another person could use it to do their shopping, etc – but uses unrelated to their requirements are forbidden.

Organisations who provide transport for people with disabilities will find these vehicles also exempt from car tax.

Mobility scooters, powered wheelchairs and other such means of conveyance are also exempt from VED, but they must be capable of moving no faster than 8mph on roads and be mechanically limited to 4mph on footpaths.

Renewing an exempt tax disc

Renewing a tax disc on a vehicle which is exempt due to its usage by a disabled person will require a Certificate of Entitlement, or exemption certificate DLA404, MHS330, or WPA0442. The surname, date of birth and National Insurance number of the certificate holder will also be required. The first time applying for exemption due to disability can only be done in a Post Office which issues tax discs.

Business and environmentally-friendly vehicles

Those operating vehicles for the purposes of business within certain industries will also find no need to pay vehicle excise duty. If a vehicle is used exclusively for the purposes of agriculture, horticulture and/or forestry, and is used off-road or only sees very short (no more than 1.5km) road journeys, no car tax shall be imposed. Lawn-mowing conveyances used only for cutting grass also escape.

Some specific types of vehicle are also exempt from car tax. Those powered by steam or electricity do not attract it, likewise vehicles created before the 1st of January 1973, referred to as ‘historic vehicles’. This latter classification used to apply to cars over 25 years old, but this definition is no more, having been altered due to the large number of cars remaining operational for more than a quarter of a decade.

Hybrid cars, as well, generally do not require payment for car tax as, since the banding for vehicle excise duty is based on carbon dioxide emissions, vehicles which emit negligible amounts of the undesirable gas can escape the fees altogether.

However, despite the exemption of these vehicles from requiring a payment for car tax, they must still display current tax discs when being used – they simply do not cost anything. A ‘nil value disc’ will be received upon applying