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How to Tax a Car or Motorcycle

UK road fund tax is non-transferable on used motors at the point of sale. This guide explains how to tax a vehicle for the first time or after buying a second hand car.

TAX YOUR VEHICLE: To get a car, motorcycle, or other vehicle taxed you need a reference number from either:

  • A V11 (recent reminder) or a DVLA ‘last chance warning letter’.
  • The V5C (vehicle log book) providing it is in your name.
  • The V5C/2 green slip (new keeper’s details) from a log book if you recently bought the vehicle.

There are several ways to pay when taxing a vehicle in United Kingdom. You can either pay using a debit or credit card or you can set up a Direct Debit payment system.

You must tax your vehicle to use it on public roads in Great Britain. This applies even if there is no fee to pay (e.g. if a disabled driver has a vehicle exempt from road tax).

Note: You must meet all the legal obligations for motorists before driving the vehicle. There is a Welsh language version for those who need to know how to tax a car or a motorcycle in Wales.

Changing the Tax Class to or from Disabled

The process for taxing a car differs if you need to change the vehicle tax class, such as when:

  • A disabled person used the vehicle before you bought it.
  • You are a disabled person taxing your car for the first time.

Note: In cases such as these you will need to apply for vehicle tax at a Post Office instead of taxing it online.

Other Methods of Taxing a Vehicle

DVLA Vehicle Tax Service by Phone
Telephone: 0300 123 4321
24-hour service
Check a list of phone call rates.

Note: You will be unable to pay by Direct Debit if you apply for road tax over the phone.

How to Tax a Car at a Post Office

You will need to visit a Post Office that handles vehicle tax (e.g. one of the bigger branches). When you tax a car at a Post Office, unless your car is exempt, you will need to take either:

The Post Office will also need to see one of the following:

  • The vehicle log book (V5C) if it is in your name.
  • The V5C/2 (green ‘new keeper’s details’ slip) from the log book if you recently bought the vehicle.

You will need to get a new V5C log book if you do not have either of the required documents. In some cases, you also will need the valid MOT test certificate.

Note: It often takes a few days for MOT information to get updated at DVLA. Thus, you may not be able to tax a vehicle immediately after it passes the test. You will also need a vehicle insurance certificate or a cover note to tax a car in Northern Ireland.

Vehicles kept ‘Off the Road’

You will not need to tax a vehicle if you keep it off the road (e.g. in a garage or on a driveway). Even so, you must make a SORN declaration with DVLA to get it registered as ‘off the road’.

How to Tax a Vehicle without V11 Reminder

There are three ways to renew or get vehicle tax, even if you do not have the V11 reminder. You can use:

  • V5C registration certificate (logbook) providing it is in your name and you are the current keeper.
  • V62 application for a registration certificate as long as you are the current keeper of the vehicle.
  • The green ‘new keeper’ slip if you recently bought the car and still waiting to get the V5C in your name.

What if You Do Not have the V5C?

As the current keeper, without a V5C or the ‘new keeper’ slip, you would need to apply for a new V5C and tax the vehicle at a Post Office. It can take up to six (6) weeks to get a new V5C and the cost is £25.

As the new keeper, you must have a new keeper slip to tax your vehicle. Thus, you would need to apply for a new V5C (the form is also available at a Post Office).

Paying Online

To tax your vehicle online you need to have:

  • The eleven (11) digit reference number from the V5C (as the current keeper).
  • The twelve (12) digit reference number from the new keeper slip if you recently bought the car and still waiting to get the V5C in your name.
Paying by Phone

Providing you have the V5C (logbook) or the new keeper slip when calling, you can contact the DVLA to tax your vehicle by telephone (contact details above).

Check Vehicle Tax Online

There is an easy way to check if a vehicle is taxed using the online service. Keep in mind that it can take up to five (5) working days for a newly taxed vehicle to show up on the database.

How to Tax a Car or Motorcycle in the United Kingdom