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Car Tax Check

Check car tax

Everything you need to know about checking car tax

Vehicle excise duty (VED), vehicle tax, road tax, car tax; there are lots of different terms for the tax that you have to pay in order to drive certain vehicles on UK roads.

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. 

We’ll tell you how to use or car tax checker which will tell you if any vehicle has valid road tax or if it’s currently flagged with the DVLA as SORN (which means registered as off the road)

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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, so it doesn’t matter if a car had it’s tax paid for 12 months or not.

Therefore, this means all used cars sold in the UK now come untaxed and you no longer need to check road tax when buying a used vehicle. That being said, it’s still worth checking (more on this later).

How much car tax you have to pay depends on the road tax prices for the vehicle you buy. When the vehicle is registered, the engine size/how much CO2 it emits and how much the car costs will all affect how much tax you pay. Some vehicle owners may pay nothing for their road tax (if the car doesn’t create any CO2 emissions) while other owners could pay more than £2,000 if they own a high-emission vehicle. You can check online at to see the current vehicle tax rates

Vehicles that have a list price of more than £40,000

Unfortunately, rules state that you will have to pay an extra £355 a year if the car or motor home has a list price (RRP) of more than £40,000. If the vehicle is a zero-emission vehicle, you will not have to pay this.

This rate will only have to be paid for the first years from the vehicle’s second anniversary.

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, they have been replaced by a digital database. 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 vehicle’s log book. 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 a 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. 

All you need to do is enter your vehicle registration number. Not only will we tell you about your car tax status, our vehicle history check also shows the mot status, MOT history, outstanding finance and if the vehicle has been stolen or scrapped. 

Frequently Asked Questions

You can use Car Guide to check if a vehicle is currently taxed and also whether it has an MOT. As part of the free car check with Car Guide you will get a lot of other useful information such as full MOT history and a list of components which are likely to fail on the next MOT. Check car tax here.

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.

If you are buying a car and unsure how much road tax is going to cost you, we are here to help. Car Guide running costs include road tax, servicing, repairs, MOT and fuel cost as part of the buyer’s report which we strongly recommend investing in before the purchase. Find out more here.

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