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Road Tax Direct Debit Payments

This section explains how to set up vehicle tax Direct Debit payments and how to change or cancel them. It is a simple way to pay road fund tax by Direct Debit payment.

DVLA DIRECT DEBIT: The best time for setting up this type of payment system is when you are taxing a vehicle.

You can set up road tax Direct Debit payments either online or at one of the larger Post Office branches.

You do not need to be the registered keeper of the vehicle to set it up.

Pay Road Tax Direct Debit Cost

You can choose between three different frequencies of debit payments.

Thus, it is the frequency of the payments that determines the total amount vehicle tax rates that you will pay.

If you choose to pay monthly, or once every six (6) months, there is a 5% surcharge. But, if you make one single payment every year there will be no surcharge to pay.

Documentation Required

When you set up a DVLA Direct Debit payment system you are going to need some information such as:

  • Your full address (including postcode) and your date of birth.
  • The name, the account number, and the sort code of your bank or building society.

Note: Some bank or building society accounts need two signatures (e.g. joint accounts). You cannot use this type of account for setting up Direct Debit for road tax payments.

How DVLA Direct Debit Payments Work
  1. The DVLA will send confirmation when they have set up your Direct Debit payment system. This could be by email or by postal methods.
  2. They will not take the first payment until the vehicle tax is valid (i.e. from the start date). In some cases, the DVLA may take up to ten (10) days to take the payment from your account. Even so, you can still use a taxed vehicle during this period.
  3. All Direct Debit payments from this point on get taken on the first working day of the month that it is due.

Note: The DVLA send emails and correspondence letters about vehicle tax Direct Debit payments to the account holder.

Vehicle Tax Automatic Renewal

Once the vehicle tax Direct Debit is set up it will renew by automatic process when the road tax is due to expire. The DVLA will send an email or a letter informing you when the payment will get taken. Thus, you will not receive a V11 (vehicle tax reminder letter).

Note: Each time the tax gets renewed the vehicle keeper must have a V5C vehicle logbook. Do not tax a vehicle again yourself. Doing so means you will get charged twice.

Vehicle Keeper without a V5C

Direct Debits do not renew as planned if DVLA do not have a registered keeper for the vehicle in their records. But, you can give DVLA details of the registered keeper online.

Note: You should contact the DVLA if you do not get an email or a letter from them when the vehicle tax runs out.

No MOT or Vehicle Insurance in Place

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency keep records on vehicle MOT certifications. Thus, they will write to you if the MOT certificate will have expired by the time the vehicle tax is due to renew.

Your vehicle will need to pass an MOT test by the time the current testing certificate runs out. DVLA records get updated by automatic process once it passes. Following that, the car tax will renew on the date that it was due to run out.

That means you will not need to contact the DVLA or get your vehicle taxed again by yourself. But, you will need to tax the vehicle if you fail to get an MOT in time.

Note: The vehicle insurance law is different in Northern Ireland. You must have some insurance in place to renew the road fund tax.

How to Change Address, Email, or Name

You can change the address, email, or the name used on a car tax Direct Debit. But, you must inform the DVLA and you can do it by phone if you:

  • Moved your home address.
  • Started using a new email address.
  • Got married (or divorced) and want to update the details.
  • Find a mistake with your name or your address.

Name Changed by Deed Poll

It is not uncommon for people to change names by deed poll in the United Kingdom. If so, you can write a letter to the DVLA telling them:

  • Your address and your date of birth.
  • The bank or building society name, account number, and sort code
    used in the Direct Debit set up.
  • A copy of the deed poll.

Send all this information to:

SA99 1ZZ

Change Direct Debit Payment Frequency

There are three different options for road tax Direct Debit payment frequency. You get to choose between:

  • Paying every month (i.e. 12 installments)
  • Paying once every 6 months
  • Paying once each year

Note: The DVLA take payments on the first working day of each month. There is no option to change this to a different day of the month.

But, you can change how often the payment gets taken off the road tax Direct Debit. So, you could change from paying every 6 months to a monthly payment instead.

In this case, you would have to cancel the existing Direct Debit and then make sure the vehicle has tax. The next step would be to:

  1. Get the bank or building society to cancel the Direct Debit. Often, you can do this online or by phone. But, you may need to cancel it by post or in person at the branch.
  2. You can continue driving the vehicle until the date when the next Direct Debit payment would have been due.
  3. Get road tax for the vehicle on the date that the next Direct Debit payment was due. Use the eleven (11) digit number on the V5C (vehicle log book).
  4. Select the preferred vehicle tax Direct Debit option when the vehicle gets taxed. Thus, choose how often you want to pay (monthly, biannual, or once per year).

Changing a Bank Account or the Payment Method

In most cases, you can change the account that the Direct Debit gets taken from. To set this up you can either:

  • Contact the new bank or building society and ask them to move the Direct Debits from the old account.
  • Change it to another account that you already have or start paying by credit or debit card.

Paying Road Tax with a Debit or Credit Card
  1. The bank or building society will need to cancel the Direct Debit. You can use the vehicle until the date that the next payment was due.
  2. You can then tax the vehicle on the date that the next Direct Debit payment was due. Use the eleven (11) digit number on the vehicle registration certificate (log book).
  3. The final step would be to pay the vehicle tax using a debit card or a credit card.
Switching a Bank or a Building Society Account

Most UK banking institutions can move Direct Debits from an old account to a new one. In this case, you would not need to inform the DVLA or do anything further.

Note: The Current Account Switch Service moves current accounts between banks and building societies. The service is free-to-use and available to individuals, small businesses, charities, and trusts.

Moving the Direct Debit to an Existing Account

Some banks can move a Direct Debit from one account to another if both accounts are with them. You should check with your particular bank. Contact the DVLA if this is not possible or if the two accounts are with different banks.

What to do if a Road Tax Direct Debit Payment Fails

The DVLA will send an email to the Direct Debit account holder if a payment fails. The usual reason for this would be if there are insufficient funds in the account. They will try to take the payment once more within four working days. If the payment does not transfer, the DVLA email will inform you:

  • That the Direct Debit failed on two occasions and it got cancelled ‘permanently’.
  • That the vehicle is no longer taxed.

If the DVLA Cancel a Direct Debit

If the DVLA decide to cancel a road fund Direct Debit you will need the vehicle log book (V5C) to tax it. Following that, you should either:

  • Set up a new Direct Debit and ensure there are sufficient funds in the account.
  • Use a different payment method for vehicle tax (e.g. a debit card or a Direct Debit from another account).

Note: Under the UK driving laws it is illegal to drive a vehicle on public roads if it does not have road tax.

Failing to Respond to a Cancellation

You must either tax it or SORN a vehicle to inform the DVLA that it is off the road. Failing to do so will result in a fine of £80. You will also need to pay for any time that it was not taxed.

Note: Failing to pay the fine on time has serious consequences. The vehicle could get clamped or crushed. In some cases, your details will also get passed over to a debt collection agency.

Cancelling Vehicle Tax Direct Debit Payments

There are several reasons why the DVLA will cancel a vehicle tax Direct Debit. It will get cancelled if you tell them that the vehicle got:

It will also get cancelled if the vehicle has road tax exemption. Thus, if you inform the DVLA that:

Overpaid Road Tax

DVLA send a road tax refund cheque by automatic process for any full months left on the vehicle tax. They will calculate the refund from the date they get the information from you.

You might end up cancelling a Direct Debit a day or so before a monthly payment is due. In this case, the DVLA may still take the payment. But, they will send a refund within ten (10) working days if you cancel road tax Direct debit.

How to Pay Vehicle Tax by Direct Debit in the United Kingdom