Understanding your car tax is essential, and it is a legal requirement for each vehicle to have an annual mot test, with a valid mot certificate and a tax status. The UK has registered more than 35 million vehicles. With such a significant number of cars on the road, it's essential to understand the car tax system to avoid penalties.
If it's your first time taxing a vehicle, the easiest and most reliable way to verify your car's tax status is through the official government website. This website lets you obtain immediate information about a vehicle's tax status, MOT status, and other relevant details. All you need is your vehicle registration number to access these details, but it is important to understand them. Various tax bands exist; these bands determine the tax class for different vehicles in the UK.
What is the best way to find out if your car is taxed?
"Vehicle Enquiry” is the easiest and most reliable car tax checker. The vehicle enquiry page is on the official government website (gov.uk) and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Checking the tax status of any registered vehicle in the UK can be done on this site; all you need is the vehicle registration number (the number plate). It’s a convenient and user-friendly tool that provides immediate information regarding vehicle status, ensuring you stay updated with legal obligations related to owning a vehicle. You should also receive a tax reminder letter at your vehicle’s registered address 30 days before the due date.
A step-by-step guide to conducting a car tax check
Step 1: Visit the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) official website, vehicle enquiry page.
Step 2: Locate the provided field where you are required to enter your car's registration number and enter your car's registration number.
Step 3: Click the "Check" or "Submit" button to start the search.
Step 4: The system will display your tax results on the screen (this may take a few moments) and indicate whether it is taxed or untaxed.
Step 5: Review the information provided to ensure your car's current status matches yours. If your vehicle is untaxed, rectify this issue as soon as possible. Tax can be paid online or at your local post office.
What is the tax rate?
CO2 emissions, fuel type and engine size, are the considering factors of how much a vehicle’s tax rate is. You must pay this cost annually, but you can use various payment methods to do so:
- Pay in full (for 12 months),
- Pay in full (for 6 months),
- Pay through a monthly direct debit or credit card with a slight interest rate.
Tax bands are categorised by the authorities based on carbon dioxide emission levels, with zero-emission vehicles incurring no tax cost while higher-emission vehicles have higher costs. An example of a zero-emissions vehicle is an electric car. It is important to know that these rates within each band are subject to periodic review and may vary. The vehicle logbook contains information about the emissions of the car.
There are some exemptions for road tax. Firstly, electric vehicles are incentivised by having no road tax, as they are an eco-friendly transportation option and reduce emissions. This exemption aims to promote the adoption of electric cars. Regular petrol and diesel cars can also be exempt if declared unused, with a statutory off-road notification (SORN) registration on the government site. Finally, new cars typically have low emissions.
What is the name of the government agency that collects taxes on cars?
The government agency responsible for collecting taxes from cars in the UK is the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). This agency is part of the Department for Transport, which focuses on maintaining vehicle registration and licensing. This agency doesn’t just focus on vehicle tax collections but oversees various other vehicle ownership and administration aspects.
What are the benefits of having car tax?
Car tax is crucial in the overall functioning of the UK's road infrastructure and public services. Every car owner’s tax payment contributes to the upkeep of the road network, supports safety initiatives, promotes greener transportation, and helps maintain vital public services. It ensures that resources are available to address the needs of road users and create more sustainable and efficient public roads.
Car tax revenue supports road maintenance and improvements. This means resources can be put into pothole repairs and road infrastructure, delivering numerous benefits to car users. Having roads quickly repaired enhances the driving experience and reduces the risk of vehicle damage for drivers. Infrastructure development benefits car owners, ensuring safe and optimal commuting across the UK.
The authorities have designed car tax rates and tax bands to promote sustainable, eco-friendly driving practices. By incentivising low-emission and electric vehicles through lower tax rates, car tax contributes to reducing harmful emissions and mitigating the impact of vehicles on the environment.