Questions we answer in this guide
- What is vehicle tax?
- How is vehicle tax calculated?
- What vehicles are exempt from paying tax?
- What are the penalties for failing to tax your vehicle?
Along with insurance cover and MOTs, vehicle tax is another pre-requisite for most motorised vehicles if they're being taken out on the road.
How is vehicle tax calculated?
How vehicle tax is calculated and how much a vehicle owner must pay to tax their vehicle is based on a few different factors, most notably the CO2 emissions of a vehicle and the age of the vehicle, or rather the date the vehicle was first registered.
For cars registered after 01 March 2001, these emission details can be found in your vehicle log book (also known as V5C registration certificate).
Older vehicles, those with large engines or engines that run on diesel will all be subject to a higher amount of tax.
Vehicles except from tax
The following vehicles are all exempt from tax, be aware that you may still need to tax your vehicle, even if there is no money due:
- Disabled passenger vehicles and vehicles used by a disabled person The former are exempt – while the latter must apply for a disability exemption when they're applying for vehicle tax, assuming they are eligible. An exemption should be removed if the vehicle is no longer being used by a disabled person.
- Vehicles made before 01 January 1979 Any vehicle made before this date is exempt.
- Electric vehicles Not all electric-powered vehicles are exempt, and hybrid vehicles don’t fall under this description because they use both electric and petrol power. Fully electric vehicles priced at over £40,000 and registered after the 31st March 2017 are still subject to vehicle tax.
- Agriculture, horticulture and forestry vehicles So long as they’re kept primarily off the road, tractors and other vehicles used for these purposes are exempt.
- Vehicles with a statutory off-road notification (SORN) If you're not using a vehicle and are keeping it off the road, you'll still need to insure and tax it unless you've declared it as off the road. This is done via a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) made by post or online. A SORN will last until you tax the car again, sell it or scrap it.
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