The legal requirement to display a tax disc on a vehicle ended on 1st October 2014. However, drivers with a Northern Ireland address will still need to display their MoT disc.
You can apply online to tax or SORN your vehicle using your 16 digit reference number from your vehicle tax renewal reminder (V11) or 11 digit reference number from your log book (V5C).
What this means to you
To drive or keep a vehicle on the road you will still need to get vehicle tax and the DVLA will still send you a renewal reminder when your vehicle tax is due to expire. This applies to all types of vehicles including those that are exempt from payment of vehicle tax.
Buying a vehicle
When you buy a vehicle the vehicle tax is no longer transferred with it so you must tax your vehicle immediately before you drive it. You can do this by using the New Keeper Supplement (V5C/2) part of the vehicle registration certificate (V5C) online, by using the DVLA's automated phone service (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or at selected Post Offices – see Q911 for more information about these options.
Selling a vehicle
If you sell a vehicle and you have notified DVLA, you will automatically get a refund for any full calendar months left on the vehicle tax. If you fail to notify a change in the owner of a vehicle you could face a fine of up to £1000 and will still be liable for any speeding/parking fines and tax for the car.
Vehicle tax refunds
If you tell the DVLA you no longer have a vehicle or it's off-road, you'll get a refund for any full months of remaining tax. The refund is calculated from the date the DVLA receives the information and the payment will be sent to name and address in the vehicles registration document.
You must tell the DVLA if your vehicle has been:
Paying vehicle tax by Direct Debit
As well as paying your car tax every 6 months or yearly, you can now pay by monthly direct debit. Provided an MOT remains valid, the payments will continue automatically until you tell DVLA to stop taking them or you cancel the Direct Debit with your bank. Valid insurance should also be in place for vehicles registered in Northern Ireland.
The Direct Debit will be cancelled and payments automatically stopped when you tell DVLA that you no longer have the vehicle, or the vehicle has been taken off the road and a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) has been made.
If you do decide to pay by Direct Debit you will pay an extra 5%. So if your car tax costs £175 per year, you will pay an extra £8.75.
When the Direct Debit scheme can't be used
Paying by Direct Debit will not be available to:
- first registration vehicles
- fleet schemes
- HGVs (paying the Road User Levy)
Checking the tax status of a vehicle
You can check the tax status of any vehicle online. This can also be used for rental vehicles.
Just because you don't have to display a tax disc doesn't mean you can get away with not paying it, if anything you're more likely to be caught now than before. The DVLA has a digital record of payments and a paper tax disc is no longer necessary as proof. Automatic number plate recognition cameras will spot you if you haven't paid your tax.