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Vehicles Exempt from Road Tax

This section lists the types of vehicles that are free to tax, including historic vehicles built or first registered more than forty years ago.

Check the eligibility criteria for historic vehicle tax exemption and how to apply to stop paying for vehicle tax in the United Kingdom.

ROAD TAX EXCLUSIONS: Vehicle tax is exempt on certain types of cars and automobiles. That means you do not have to pay it.

You may also qualify for free vehicle tax if you are a driver with a disability.

Note: But, you still have to apply for road tax even if your vehicle has an exemption.

Note: There is a separate page available that explains how vehicle tax exemption works [cerbydau sydd wedi’u heithrio o dreth cerbyd] in Welsh language (Cymraeg).

Vehicles used by Disabled People

As a disabled person, the time to claim the disability exemption is when you apply for the vehicle tax. Check the qualifying criteria for vehicle tax exemption and how to claim it.

First Time Application

Take your Certificate of Entitlement and your insurance certificate to the dealership if you are going to tax a new vehicle.

You should change to free vehicle tax for a used vehicle at one of the larger Post Office branches. You can also call them for further assistance:

Post Office
Telephone: 0345 722 3355
Are 0345 numbers free?

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) produce further guidance notes explaining how to apply for free disabled tax (INS216).

Note: You should tax your vehicle in the usual way to renew vehicle tax exemption (e.g. online or by telephone).

Get a Refund on Current Vehicle Tax

If you decide to cancel vehicle tax and get a refund the process becomes automatic. You would also get a refund for any full remaining months after applying for exemption (sent to the address that the DVLA have on file).

Note: In some cases, you may need to change your vehicle’s tax class and remove an exemption from it. So, a typical example for this situation would be when a disabled person no longer uses it.

Disabled Passenger Vehicles

Some organisations used vehicles with adaptations to provide transport for disabled people. As a rule, these types of vehicles are exempt from road tax. But, the exclusion does not apply to ambulances.

Invalid Carriages and Mobility Scooters

There are limits to exempt invalid scooters, powered wheelchairs, and mobility scooters. To get an exemption, they must have a maximum speed of 8mph when used on the road. They should also have a device fitted that limits them to 4mph if used on footways to be road tax exempt.

Historic Vehicles

To be vehicle tax exempt, historic vehicles are those made before the 1st of January 1981. Their qualification for exemption took place from the 1st of April 2019 (extra details below).

Electric Vehicles

EVs (electric vehicles) do not get an automatic road tax exclusion. As a rule, the supply of electricity must come from an external source. It can also come from an electric storage battery if it is not connected to any source of power while moving.

Electric Vehicles Priced over £40,000

You may need to pay an extra tax for a vehicle (including motorhomes) with a list price (before discount) over £40,000 (excluding zero emission vehicles).

Note: Another section lists all the different vehicle tax rates and provides further information about engine size, fuel type, and CO2 emissions.

Mowing Machines

Road tax exemptions do not apply to all types of mowers and grass cutters. To qualify, the mower must have a design, a construction, and usage ‘only’ for grass cutting. The immunity does not apply to tractors which get used to tow gang mowers.

Steam Vehicles

There is no requirement to pay vehicle tax on any kind of steam-powered vehicle.

Agricultural and Horticultural Vehicles

The list includes agricultural engines and tractors used in agriculture and forestry. Most light agricultural vehicles used off-road also qualify. It can also includes some ‘limited use’ vehicles used for short journeys.

Important: In general, the journey should not be more than 1.5 kilometres. It should only be on the public road between land occupied by the same person.

Free Road Tax and MOT for Historic Vehicles

The information in this section explains vehicle tax exemptions for historic vehicles, also called classics, built before 1981. Further details explain MOT exemptions for vehicles built or first registered more than forty (40+) years ago.

The actual date that a vehicle was built, or when it was first registered, affects its eligibility and whether you would need to pay vehicle tax and get an MOT.

Classic Vehicles Not Requiring an MOT

There is no need to get an MOT for your vehicle if:

  • It was built or first registered more than forty (40+) years ago.
  • There have been no ‘substantial changes’ made to it in the last thirty (30) years. Typical examples include changes to the way the vehicle works (e.g. replacing the axles, body, chassis, or engine).

Note: The Department for Transport (DfT) produces further guidance on historic (classic) vehicles and how they meet the MOT exemption criteria.

Historic Vehicles Exempt from Road Tax

There is no need to pay vehicle tax on a vehicle that was built before the 1st of January 1981. The same exemption applies to vehicles first registered between the 1st and the 7th of January 1981.

You would need to put your vehicle into the ‘historic tax class’ (tax exemption) to stop paying road fund tax (see below).

There is no need to apply to stop getting an MOT each year. Even so, you must check the vehicle is safe to drive and keep it in a roadworthy condition.

Note: Using a vehicle in a dangerous condition can result in three (3) penalty points and a £2,500 fine.

Vehicles NOT Exempt from Vehicle Tax

The vehicle would lose its exemption from road tax if it is used:

Note: You can contact the DVLA if you need confirmation on whether your vehicle will get an exemption from road tax.

Eligible Vehicle Types

The most common kinds of vehicles that you can apply to be made exempt include:

  • Cars
  • Motorcycles
  • Tricycles
  • Vans

You can also apply for certain buses and other large vehicles to be made exempt, such as:

  • Buses used for community or voluntary purposes.
  • Private Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs). But, they must not be used for driver training or designed or adapted for transporting goods.

Certain types of specialist vehicles may also qualify for tax exemption, such as:

  • Agricultural machines and mowing machines
  • Electric vehicles
  • Mobile cranes and pumps
  • Road rollers, works trucks and digging machines
  • Snowploughs and gritting vehicles
  • Steam vehicles

  • Renewing Historic Vehicle Road Tax

    The DVLA send out vehicle tax reminder letters before road tax is due to expire. You should renew your historic vehicle tax in the usual way for taxing a car, but there would be no need to pay the fee.

    Note: Driving an untaxed vehicle (e.g. not taxed on time) is illegal and can result in a DVLA-imposed fine up to £100 or £1,000 if the case ends up in a court of law.

    Vehicles Exempt from Road Tax in the United Kingdom