Handling your car tax with the DVLA

The DVLA is the organisation which handles car tax issues in the UK. If you own a car, you need to know the facts about car tax and the DVLA.

If you operate a motor vehicle on UK roads – or even just plan to park it there – then you will likely need to pay car tax on it. More properly known as vehicle excise duty, and often incorrectly referred to as “road tax” (it is neither a fee for road usage, nor does it pay for the upkeep of roads), the cost of car tax is calculated differently depending on when exactly the vehicle was registered.

How much car tax must I pay?

For cars registered prior to the 1st of March 2001, the engine size determines the amount of car tax that will have to be paid. The amount of tax paid for cars registered on or after this date will be established  based on the carbon dioxide emissions of the vehicle in question, as well as the fuel type it uses.

Various permutations of light goods vehicles, as well as motorbikes and other powered conveyances, garner differing amounts of car tax.

It is an offence to drive a vehicle without displaying a current tax disc – even if the disc has been stolen or only just expired. Exemptions do apply if you are taking your vehicle for its MOT or to undergo necessary repairs if it has failed. In addition to this, your vehicle can be on the road up to five days from the end of the month with no valid tax disc as long as you made an online or telephone-based application for renewal before the current disc expired.

Renewing your tax disc

In order to renew your tax disc, you can contact the DVLA at any point from the 5th day of the month it is about to expire onwards. You can pay for your car tax by post, or at any Post Office which supplies tax discs. In order to do this, you will need to send or bring a completed V11 reminder form, a motor insurance certificate or a cover note, a valid (for the period on which the tax disc begins) MOT certificate, and any payment you need to make. If you don’t have the V11 reminder, you will instead need a V10 form.

It is also possible to pay online or over the phone in some circumstances. If you are the vehicle’s registered keeper, and your details are commensurate with those held by the DVLA’s database, it could be possible. You must also possess valid motor insurance, have a V11 reminder letter or your V5C registration certificate, have a valid MOT, and have a debit or credit card to hand.

Tax discs should arrive within five working days.

Tax disc refunds

If you seek a tax disc refund, you will need to fill out the DVLA’s V14 form and dispatch it to them, or form V33 if you don’t have the tax disc. The forms include all the details you need to ensure that your claim for a refund is valid. Refunds are generally received within six weeks.