How to check a car is taxed

Author Name – Jack Underwood

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If you are found to be driving without Vehicle Excise Duty (commonly known as either car tax, road tax or vehicle tax), this is illegal and you could be fined up to £1,000. In this article, we are going to answer a number of questions related to car tax to make sure you know everything there is to know, keeping you on the right side of the law. 

check a car is taxed

Driving without vehicle tax

It is vitally important that you know when your car tax is due. Besides general car maintenance, there are three major things that you should know about your vehicle. You should know when your MOT is due. It is illegal to drive without an MOT, so it is important that you get an MOT check booked before your MOT expiry date.

Secondly, it is illegal to drive without car insurance. Generally, car insurance will last for 12 months and this can either be paid monthly or in one lump sum. There is also an option to purchase car insurance on a daily basis.

Finally, you will also need to make sure that your vehicle is taxed. To check if your vehicle is taxed, this can be done online via https://www.gov.uk/. As well as checking if a car is taxed, you can also buy new car tax if your tax has either expired, or you have purchased a used car. To check whether your vehicle has valid car tax, please click on the link below. Please note, this link will take you to the Government website.

Related: Check if a car is taxed

Is it illegal to drive without car tax?

In the majority of cases, it is illegal to drive without car tax. However, there are a few exemptions. If your car is not taxed, but you are driving to a pre-booked MOT check, then this is allowed. It is important to be aware that the MOT appointment needs to be pre-booked for this exception to apply. Other exemptions may also be if you are a disabled driver. If you own an electric vehicle or a classic car, you may also be exempt. Even if are exempt, you will need to apply for car tax, even if you end up not paying for it.

Driving without car tax to an MOT check

You are allowed to drive to an MOT check without car tax, however, this only applies if you have a pre-booked appointment. You are not allowed to stop on your journey to the MOT test centre. You can book an MOT check at your local National Tyres and Autocare branch. You cannot renew your car tax without a valid MOT.

Taxing a vehicle after a SORN declaration

If you are no longer using your vehicle and it is kept off-road, you can apply for a SORN declaration. SORN declarations are perfect for drivers who are no longer be driving their vehicles. To find out how to apply for a SORN declaration please click on the following article: What is a SORN declaration?

Can car tax be transferred when buying a used car?

Car tax cannot be transferred from one user to another. For example, if you purchase a used car, you will need to make sure that the new vehicle tax is purchased before leaving the premises. Remember, car taxed can be purchased online. If you are buying a car from a dealership, the dealership will be able to help you sort out the car tax before you drive. Please note, as well as the car tax, you will also need to have valid car insurance for the vehicle.

Claiming back car tax

If you sell a used vehicle, you must ensure that you have notified the DVLA. After you have sent the V5C form to the DVLA, they will then be able to refund you any car tax you are owed (if you purchased the car tax for a year). 

The fines for driving without car tax

If you drive your vehicle without valid car tax then you will be fined. Initially, you will receive an £80 fine if you are driving a car that hasn't been taxed or declared as a SORN. If you do not pay the vehicle tax fine within 28 days, you could be fined more heavily, potentially up to £1,000. APNR is fitted to all police cars. ANPR stands for Automatic Number Plate Recognition and these cameras scan vehicles, these scans are then automatically placed into the DVLA database.

How long can you tax a vehicle for?

You can either tax a vehicle for six or twelve months. If you only drive your car for a short period of time, you can apply for a vehicle tax refund. This can be done via the Government website, for more information on car tax refunds, please click on the link below.

Related: Car tax refunds

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