Car tax checker

Vehicle Excise Duty is commonly known as road tax or car tax. Check when your car tax is due and find out how much you need to pay or whether you might be exempt.

gocompare author
Abbie Laughton-Coles
Updated 9 January 2023  | 3 min read

Car tax checker

Enter your registration number into the box below to get results of the vehicle's MOT, including due date, MOT history, advisories and road tax status:*

*Results are only available for tests done in England, Scotland or Wales since 2005. Your results should be available as soon as the MOT centre has recorded the test.

Result



What’s car tax?

Car tax, or Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), is a legal requirement for all road users, but you may not have to pay for it if you’re exempt for an approved reason.

You must apply for it when you purchase a new or used car, and then annually from then on.

The money you pay goes towards maintaining and improving UK roads.

Do I need car tax?

If you use your vehicle on public roads, even if it’s just parked, it’s highly likely you’ll need to pay road tax.

If you’ve just bought a car, you’ll need to make sure you get it insured and have valid car tax before hitting the road.

It’s illegal to drive without either and even if you’re exempt from paying for VED, you still need to apply to tax your vehicle.

Car tax exemptions

You’ll need to tax your car if you use public roads, but you may not have to pay if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have a statutory off-road notification (SORN)
  • Your car was made before 1 January 1982
  • You have a zero emission electric vehicle which doesn’t have to be connected to a source of power when moving
  • The car is used by a disabled person and the vehicle is registered in their name or their nominated driver’s name (find out more about restrictions)

How much is car tax in the UK?

It depends on the age and type of vehicle that you’re driving.

It’s good news if you own an electric car, as you won’t have to pay road tax because they don’t produce CO2 emissions.

For petrol, diesel, and hybrid cars, how much you’ll be required to pay is linked to the age of the vehicle and its CO2 emissions. For instance, greener vehicles, like newer hybrid cars, will have a lower rate of tax to pay, whereas older diesel vehicles will be in a higher tax band.

Vehicles registered on or after 1 April 2017 pay an initial rate in the first year which is based on CO2 emissions, which changes to a standard rate from the second year on.

Vehicles registered between 1 March 2001 and 31 March 2017 will pay an annual rate that remains the same and is based on emissions and fuel type.

If your car was registered before March 2001, you can still find out its road tax rate.

First-year rates for cars registered after 1 April 2017[1]

Road tax must be paid when the vehicle is first registered and will last for 12 months.

The tax rate will then change to a standard rate when you next pay it.

Current first-year rates for cars registered on/after 1 April 2021 are:

CO2 emissions Diesel cars (TC49) that meet the RDE2 standard and petrol cars (TC48) All other diesel cars (TC49) Alternative fuel cars (TC59)
0g/km £0 £0 £0
1 to 50g/km £10 £25 £0
51 to 75g/km £25 £120 £15
76 to 90g/km £120 £150 £110
91 to 100g/km £150 £170 £140
101 to 110g/km £170 £190 £160
111 to 130g/km £190 £230 £180
131 to 150g/km £230 £585 £220
151 to 170g/km £585 £945 £575
171 to 190g/km £945 £1,420 £935
191 to 225g/km £1,420 £2,015 £1,410
226 to 255g/km £2,015 £2,365 £2,005
Over 255g/km £2,365 £2,365 £2,355

Standard rates from the second year onwards are[1]:

Fuel type Single 12-month payment Single 12-month payment by Direct Debit Total of 12 monthly payments by Direct Debit Single six-month payment Single six-month payment by Direct Debit
Petrol or diesel £165 £165 £173.25 £90.75 £86.63
Electric £0 N/A N/A £0 N/A
Alternative £155 £155 £162.75 £85.25 £81.38

Hybrids and vehicles that run on bioethanol and liquid petroleum gas are classed as having alternative fuel types.

If your car has a list price of £40,000 or higher, you’ll have to pay an extra £355 per year for five years from the second time the vehicle is taxed, unless it’s a zero-emission car.

Cars registered 1 March 2001-31 March 2017

The amount of tax you pay is based on the fuel type and CO2 emissions. You can find this information on the car’s V5C registration certificate.

Petrol cars (TC48) and diesel cars (TC49)[1]

Band and CO2 emission Single 12-month payment Single 12-month payment by Direct Debit Total of 12 monthly instalments by Direct Debit Single six-month payment Single six-month payment by Direct Debit
A: Up to 100g/km £0 £0 N/A N/A N/A
B: 101 to 110g/km £20 £20 £21 N/A N/A
C: 111 to 120g/km £30 £30 £31.50 N/A N/A
D: 121 to 130g/km £135 £135 £141.75 £74.25 £70.88
E: 131 to 140g/km £165 £165 £173.25 £90.75 £86.63
F: 141 to 150g/km £180 £180 £189 £99 £94.50
G: 151 to 165g/km £220 £220 £231 £121 £115.50
H: 166 to 175g/km £265 £265 £278.25 £145.75 £139.13
I: 176 to 185g/km £290 £290 £304.50 £159.50 £152.25
J: 186 to 200g/km £330 £330 £346.50 £181.50 £173.25
K**: 201 to 225g/km £360 £360 £378 £198 £189
L: 226 to 255g/km £615 £615 £645.75 £338.25 £322.88
M: Over 255g/km £630 £630 £661.50 £346.50 £330.75
**This includes cars that have a CO2 emission figure above 225g/km that were registered before 23 March 2006.

Alternative fuel cars (TC59)[1]

Band and CO2 emission Single 12-month payment Single 12-month payment by Direct Debit Total of 12 monthly instalments by Direct Debit Single six-month payment Single six-month payment by Direct Debit
A: Up to 100g/km £0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
B: 101 to 110g/km £10 £10 £10.50 N/A N/A
C: 111 to 120g/km £20 £20 £21 N/A N/A
D: 121 to 130g/km £125 £125 £131.25 £68.75 £65.63
E: 131 to 140g/km £155 £155 £162.75 £85.25 £81.38
F: 141 to 150g/km £170 £170 £178.50 £93.50 £89.25
G: 151 to 165g/km £210 £210 £220.50 £115.50 £110.25
H: 166 to 175g/km £255 £255 £267.75 £140.25 £133.88
I: 176 to 185g/km £280 £280 £294 £154 £147
J: 186 to 200g/km £320 £320 £336 £176 £168
K***: 201 to 225g/km £350 £350 £367.50 £192.50 £183.75
L: 226 to 255g/km £605 £605 £635.25 £332.75 £317.63
M: Over 255g/km £620 £620 £651 £341 £325.50

***This includes cars that have a CO2 emission figure above 225g/km that were registered before 23 March 2006.

How do I tax my car?

There are a couple of different ways to pay for your road tax:

  • Online – You can pay online by debit or credit card, or you can set up a Direct Debit
  • Over the phone – You can complete your road tax application by ringing 0300 123 4321, but you won’t be able to set up a Direct Debit this way
  • At the Post Office – You can pay over the counter at a local branch that offers this service by cash, cheque, Direct Debit, credit or debit card

What documents do I need to tax my car?

If you’re applying for road tax online, you’ll need a reference number from one of the following:

  • The vehicle log book (V5C), which must be in your name
  • A recent reminder (V11) or a last-chance warning from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
  • If you’ve just bought the vehicle, you’ll need the green ‘new keeper’ slip from the V5C

You must apply for a new log book if you don’t have access to any of the above.

If you’re applying for road tax at the Post Office, you’ll also need to have a valid MOT certificate with you and an exemption certificate if you claim disabled vehicle tax. In Northern Ireland, you’re required to bring a paper copy of your certificate of insurance or a cover note, too.

How soon can I tax my car?

You must tax your car annually or when you buy a new or used vehicle. You can apply up to two months before your current road tax expires, for example, if you’re going on holiday and will be away when it’s due.

It’s possible to pay for your car tax every six or 12 months, or in monthly instalments, but it’s worth noting that paying for your road tax annually will always be the cheapest option.

How do I cancel my car tax to get a refund?

You may need to cancel your car tax for the following reasons:

  • You sell or transfer your vehicle to someone else
  • You declare a SORN on your car
  • It’s written off in an accident
  • It’s stolen
  • You move abroad and take your car with you

Whatever the reason, it’s important to let the DVLA know as soon as possible. If you declare a SORN, your road tax will be cancelled automatically, but if it’s for any other reason you’ll have to get in touch with the DVLA.

You can do this online and you’ll receive a cheque refunding any full remaining months of road tax that you’ve already paid for.

How to register your vehicle as off-the-road (SORN)?

If you don’t intend to drive or park your vehicle on a public road, you can register it as off-the-road.

This means you won’t have to pay road tax or insure it, although you may want to have cover in case of fire or theft.

This is easily done by applying online. All you’ll need is the 16-digit number on your vehicle tax reminder letter (V11) or the 11-digit number in your V5C.

You don’t need to renew the SORN annually and it will continue until you apply for road tax again.

Can I tax a car without a V5C logbook?

You’ll need to apply for a new V5C which costs £25 if you’re the current owner. Then you’ll need to tax your vehicle at the Post Office.

However, if you’re the new owner, you’ll need to get a new keeper slip from the Post Office or apply for the VC5 by post.

What happens if I drive without tax?

It’s against the law to drive on public roads without having your car taxed, whether you pay for it or are exempt.

If you’re caught without road tax, you could be fined up to £1,000 and your car could even be clamped.

Police use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) to detect cars that are driving without tax. The cameras are in fixed locations as well as within police and third-party vehicles, so you can get caught anywhere.

[1] Source: Gov.uk. Vehicle tax rates.