Everything you need to know about checking car tax
In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know before you check car tax; from the new rules surrounding car tax, to how to set it up and why you’ll need it handy for test drives.
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Do I need to check car tax when buying a used car?
Up until 2014, conducting a car tax check would have made sense. That’s because vehicle tax could be transferred from one owner to another. However, new rules established that year meant that vehicle tax could no longer be transferred with ownership. Instead, the DVLA now refunds any months of unused car tax to the previous owner, once it’s exchanged hands.
Therefore, this means all used cars sold in the UK now come untaxed and you no longer need to check vehicle tax when buying a used vehicle. That being said, it’s still worth checking (more on this later).
I've just bought a used vehicle - how do I tax my car?
Remember those paper disks you used to insert into the window of your car? Well, as car tax rules changed over the years these ended up being phased out. Now you no longer need to wait for one of these paper disks to display in your car. Instead, a digital database has replaced all of this. Where the old paper-based system allowed for a 5-day grace period (to allow for your tax disk arriving in the post), you now need to ensure the car you’ve just bought is taxed before you drive it away.
Furthermore, if you’re dealing with a private seller, you’ll need to make sure the car is taxed before conducting any test drives. We’ll get back to this point shortly as it’s important.
How exactly do you tax your new car? Usually, if it’s a private seller, they will give you the green section of the car’s logbook. Called the ‘New Keeper Supplement‘ or V5C/2, it lists a 12 digit reference number you can then use to tax your car online or at any post office. If you buy your used car from a dealer, they’ll set your car tax up online before you leave with your new purchase.
Why does Car Guide still offer tax checker?
Given the change in rules surrounding car tax, you may be wondering why we still have a car tax check feature as part of our platform.
If you’re looking to test drive a vehicle being sold by private owner, you’ll still need valid road tax. Yes, that’s right, though it’s just a test drive, you still need to check if a vehicle has been taxed as you’ll be taking it out onto the road.
Of course, if you’re simply looking for a quick confirmation on a vehicle’s tax, you can run a free car tax check through the DVLA website and a few other providers. However, if you’re looking to learn more about the car you’re about to test, and are keen to learn about how it might perform in the future, sign up to Car Guide.
Not only will we tell you about a vehicle’s tax, we also offer some of the best insights out on the car checking marketplace backed up by real data, so you can make your purchase decision with more confidence.
Frequently Asked Questions
You won’t be able to tax your car if you don’t have V5c logbook or the green ‘new keeper’ slip. So if you are the current keeper or new keeper of the vehicle you will have to apply for a V5c in order to tax your vehicle. Read our guide here.