With the new road tax changes coming into effect from October 1st, we wanted to make sure everyone knew exactly how it would affect them. By speaking with the DVLA, we’ve got what we believe to be the most complete guide to taxing your bike or car…

Despite no longer needing to display a paper disc, you’ll still need to buy vehicle tax to keep any car or bike on the road, and you’ll still receive a reminder from the DVLA. You can continue paying by debit card, credit card (with a £2.50 surcharge), or by cash or cheque in the Post Office. However, from November 1st you’ll also be able to pay by Direct Debit for as long as the vehicle has a valid MoT.

Vehicle tax can no longer be transferred with the vehicle if you sell it. If after 1st October you sell a vehicle, when you notify the DVLA you’ll automatically receive a refund for any full months remaining on that tax. You will now always have to buy new vehicle tax when you purchase a vehicle.


A vehicle’s status is easily checked by the Police and traffic wardens by running a query on a number plate, or through Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras dotted all around the country. Vehicles can still be declared as SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification).


Your road tax questions answered…

As a new keeper has to tax a vehicle from the first of the month, and the previous owner only gets a refund on the full months remaining, isn’t this just a way for the government to double its income?


John Hewson, DVLA Service Manager: “In many cases we will lose income as the vehicle will be on a dealer forecourt and therefore not taxed for a period. Overall we expect tax income to remain the same with no gain or loss.”


Can a change of vehicle ownership be carried out over the phone or online now?


Byron Lewis, DVLA communications: “Not yet but it’s something we’re going to introduce soon. You don’t need to be the registered keeper to tax, and from 1st October you can do it using the new keeper supplement of the log book”


What happens when a private buyer hands over cash for a motorbike or car late on a Sunday night? How can they get the vehicle home if the tax isn’t in their name. As the DVLA won’t know for a few days that a change has taken place, can we just ride or drive home without worrying about the ANPR cameras?”

John Hewson, DVLA Service Manager: “Legally the vehicle must be taxed before being driven and this can be done online or over the phone by debit or credit card – both are 24/7 services. The road fund licence ceases to be legally valid as soon as the vehicle is sold, and although our records do take time to update, the new buyer would be liable if they were identified.”


What’s the number to call?

Byron Lewis: “It’s 0300 123 4321 and is charged at local rate [on landlines and mobiles. It also counts as part of any inclusive mobile tariff]. It’s an automated system and takes a couple of minutes.




Are there any surcharges?

Wayne Stephens, DVLA Project manager:  There is [and always was] a £2.50 fee for using a credit card. The Post Office will still accept cheques.

Byron Lewis: “We’re keeping costs as low as possible, which is why the surcharge for Direct Debit [5% on bi-annual and monthly payments is 50% cheaper than for paying for two six-months discs now. [There will be no surcharge for Direct Debit purchases of 12 months tax].


If I don’t pay by yearly or six-monthly Direct Debit, how will I remember to pay?

Byron Lewis:  “We’ll still send reminders, but of course people can choose to print a confirmation email or get a receipt from the Post Office and keep it somewhere to act as a reminder – I use my kitchen notice board, works well for me…”


What’s the fine for failing to tax a vehicle?

Wayne Stephens: “Up to £1,000”


Can I still ride or drive to an MoT without tax?

Wayne Stephens: “Yes, as long as the MoT test is pre-booked.”


How can I pay for my road fund licence, or get a refund, if I don’t have a bank account?

Byron Lewis: “As now, you can pay by cash at the Post Office, and get a payable order from the DVLA if you refund the tax.”


There used to be a grace period when applying for a new tax disc as you waited for it to arrive.

Wayne Stephens: “There will no longer be a tax disc. The grace period was introduced to allow keepers to drive the vehicle whilst awaiting delivery of their tax disc. The legislation to display a disc has been removed from 1 October. There is no longer a grace period to tax your vehicle. New keepers must tax immediately at point of purchase.”


If I bought a car or bike, but had to return it as it was faulty, will I be able to get all of the tax back?

Wayne Stephens: “There is a process in place for cancelled sales. This remains unchanged and full refunds of tax can be claimed.”


With no tax disc, is there anything I can print to prove my vehicle has valid tax?

Byron Lewis: “You get a confirmation email which you can print off. If you tax over the ‘phone you get a confirmation reference number which you can note down, and at the Post Office you get a receipt.”


I liked the tax disc, why have you got rid of it?

Byron Lewis: “We don’t need it now that we have electronic records of vehicles. It’ll make it easier for businesess that run fleets; save drivers sending paperwork to the DVLA and will save taxpayers around £10 million a year.”


How can I check if a vehicle is taxed?

John Hewson: “You can check online at www.gov.uk/get-vehicle-information-from-dvla. The process is no different than MoTs or insurance, where the driver should be content they are in place before driving a vehicle. Our enforcement action is normally against the registered keeper and not the driver, but the driver does have a legal responsibility to ensure the vehicle is road legal.”


Who can I talk to if I want more information?

Byron Lewis: 

You can follow us on Twitter @DVLAgovuk or on Facebook at DVLAgovuk.

Further contact details for our Contact Centre are at www.gov.uk/contact-the-dvla or call 0300 790 6802

Tony Carter

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