Vehicle tax, or vehicle excise duty, is one of the mandatory expenses that all car and motorcycle owners must pay in order to keep their vehicle on the road. In the UK, the vehicle ‘tax disc’ is the physical representation of the fact that road tax has been paid up to date on a vehicle.
In December 2013, the UK Government announced that after 93 years vehicles will no longer be required by law to display a valid road tax disc. This is a result of a change that will see road tax data recorded electronically, allowing for vehicles on the road without tax paid to be detected by computer.
As a result of the change, vehicle owners will no longer have to pay for a full year or half a year of road tax in advance, and payments will be able to be made via direct debit. Users will still be allowed to pay for a full year in advance to save 5%, or they can choose to pay monthly.
Can I renew my road tax presently without a reminder?
Generally speaking, road tax, or vehicle excise duty, is payable at the end of the year when you receive a V11 reminder informing you that your road tax is due soon. It is possible, however, to renew your road tax without such a reminder.
You can renew your road tax online, providing you have the vehicle’s V5C owner certificate and that the information on the V5C is correct and up to date.
Alternatively you can renew your road tax in your local Post Office. In order to renew in a Post Office without a reminder you’ll need your V5C document, or a completed V62 certificate if you do not have the V5C. You will also need to take a copy of your insurance cover documentation, your valid MOT certificate, and a valid reduced pollution certificate.
What if I don’t intend to be using the vehicle?
If your vehicle road tax is up for renewal, or indeed if at any time you decide you plan not to use your vehicle for some time, then it is possible to apply for a ‘Statutory Off Road Notification’, or SORN.
A SORN is a document which allows you to avoid paying vehicle excise duty, or road tax, on vehicles which are not going to be used on the road, and which will be stored off the public highway.
To apply for a SORN you need to tick the box on your existing V11 reminder, if you have one, or alternatively you can apply for a SORN directly with your V5C by calling 0300 123 4321, or by visiting the Government’s ‘Direct Online’ service. The form required to apply for a SORN is the V890.
How much does road tax cost?
Road tax prices vary considerably depending on the type of vehicle you are planning to tax. Smaller engine sizes and older cars typically pay less, so that a car registered before 2001, with an engine less than 1549cc is billed at £140 for 12 months. Larger engine sizes of the same age are charged £225.
For newer cars, registered after 2001, the vehicle excise duty is based on emissions. For the most environmentally friendly ‘Band A’ cars, with the lowest emissions, road tax can be free. For the largest ‘gas guzzlers’, known as Band ‘M’ cars, the rate is £490 per year for petrol or diesel.