Car Tax Costs

Car tax, officially known as Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) or road tax, is a mandatory tax imposed on most vehicles driven on public roads in the United Kingdom. Enter your reg below to see how much it costs to tax your vehicle.

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Car Tax Costs

How is Road Tax Calculated?

The amount of car tax you pay depends on various factors, including the vehicle’s fuel type, CO2 emissions, and the date of its first registration. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of car tax costs in the UK, although it’s important to note that the rates and regulations may have changed since September 2021.

Tax Bands and CO2 Emissions

Car tax rates in the UK are primarily determined by a vehicle’s CO2 emissions. The government has categorized vehicles into different tax bands based on their CO2 emissions to encourage the use of greener and more fuel-efficient vehicles. Generally, vehicles with lower emissions fall into lower tax bands, attracting lower tax rates.

First-Year Rates

For vehicles registered after March 1, 2001, there is often a first-year rate in addition to the standard rate. This first-year rate is often higher and varies based on the vehicle’s CO2 emissions. After the first year, the vehicle transitions to the standard rate.

Standard Rates

Once the first year has passed, vehicles are subject to standard tax rates, which are based on CO2 emissions for most cars. The standard rates are typically updated annually and may vary depending on the government’s policies and objectives regarding vehicle emissions.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles

In an effort to promote environmentally friendly vehicles, alternative fuel vehicles, such as electric and hybrid cars, may benefit from reduced tax rates or exemptions. However, these incentives are subject to change, so it’s crucial to stay updated with the latest regulations.

Additional Factors

Apart from CO2 emissions, car tax costs may be affected by other factors, such as the vehicle’s list price and its date of first registration. Higher-priced vehicles and those registered after April 1, 2017, may face additional taxes or surcharges.

Exemptions and Discounts

Certain vehicles are exempt from car tax, such as historic vehicles registered before 1974 and vehicles used by disabled individuals. Additionally, there might be discounts available for electric vehicles and those used for specific purposes, such as public transportation.

Zoe Hicks Motorscan Expert

Our expert says

When considering car tax costs, it’s important to research and choose a vehicle with lower CO2 emissions. Opting for a vehicle in a lower tax band can significantly reduce your annual car tax expenses.

Additionally, staying informed about any changes in government policies and incentives for low-emission vehicles can help you make a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly choice.

Jonathan McDonald, Automotive Expert

What do I need to tax my vehicle?

1. Vehicle Registration Certificate (V5C)

Also known as the logbook, this document proves that you are the registered keeper of the vehicle. It contains important details such as the vehicle’s registration number, make, model, and VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).

2. Valid MOT Certificate

An MOT (Ministry of Transport) certificate is required for vehicles aged three years or older to prove that they meet the minimum safety and environmental standards. The MOT certificate is issued after the vehicle passes an annual inspection.

3. Valid Insurance

You must have valid motor insurance that meets the legal requirements in the UK. Ensure that your insurance policy covers the use of your vehicle on public roads.

4. Direct Debit or Payment Method

Decide on the payment method for your vehicle tax. You can choose to pay annually, biannually, or monthly. If paying by direct debit, make sure to have the necessary bank account details ready.

5. Valid MOT

If your vehicle is due for an MOT renewal, ensure that it is completed before taxing your vehicle. You will need a valid MOT certificate to tax your vehicle.

6. V5C Reference Number

This is a unique reference number found on your vehicle registration certificate (V5C) or on any previous tax reminder letters from the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency).

7. Exemption or Discount Criteria (if applicable)

If your vehicle qualifies for any exemptions or discounts, such as for electric vehicles or disabled drivers, make sure you have the necessary documentation to support your eligibility.

Once you have gathered all the required information and documents, you can tax your vehicle through various methods, including online through the DVLA website, by phone, or at a post office that provides vehicle tax services.


What do I need to tax my vehicle?

Frequently asked questions about Car Tax Costs

How much is my road tax?

You can find out the car tax amount by checking the vehicle’s CO2 emissions and first registration date. The UK government’s official website provides a car tax calculator where you can input these details to determine the tax cost.

You can use Motorscan’s car tax calculator by inputting the reg of the vehicle.

How often do I need to pay car tax?

Car tax can be paid annually, biannually, or monthly. Choose the payment frequency that suits you best, but ensure that you make timely payments to avoid penalties.

Are electric cars exempt from car tax?

Electric vehicles (EVs) may be eligible for discounts or exemptions from car tax. However, the specific incentives and rates for EVs can change over time, so it’s important to check the latest regulations.

Is car tax transferable when selling a vehicle?

No, car tax does not transfer with the vehicle. When you sell a car, the remaining tax does not carry over to the new owner. The seller can request a refund for any remaining full months of tax, while the buyer needs to tax the vehicle in their name.

Are there any exemptions for low-emission vehicles?

Yes, low-emission vehicles may qualify for reduced tax rates or exemptions. However, the specific exemptions and rates depend on the vehicle’s emissions and registration date. Refer to the official government websites for the most up-to-date information.

Can I pay car tax online?

Yes, you can pay car tax online through the UK government’s official website. Other payment options include direct debit or visiting a post office.

Can I set up automatic payments for car tax?

Yes, you can set up a direct debit payment for car tax, which allows for automatic deductions when the tax is due. This can help ensure that you don’t miss any payments.

What happens if I don't pay car tax?

Failure to pay car tax can result in penalties, fines, and even your vehicle being clamped or impounded. It’s crucial to pay car tax on time to avoid legal consequences.

Free Car Tax Check

How much is my Car Tax

At Motorscan, we understand that the regulations surrounding car road tax costs can be complex, so we offer in-depth expert guides and articles covering everything you need to know.

Discover a wealth of expert information that delves into the different variables that affect road tax costs and how its calculated, including fuel type, engine size, CO2 emissions, and registration date.

Our guides also explore the different rates and bands for various types of cars, whether petrol, diesel, electric, or alternative fuel. So, take the hassle out of the complexities of road tax calculations and explore our extensive range of resources for simple, straightforward advice!

Published July 10, 2023 by Zoe Hicks | Last reviewed June 27, 2024 by Jonathan McDonald