The DVLA stopped using paper tax discs in 2014, but taxing your vehicle is still vitally important. Failing to renew your vehicle tax could leave you facing a hefty fine. If you need to check if a vehicle is taxed, it’ll only take a few seconds of your time.
Here’s a brief guide to checking if a vehicle is taxed, costs, penalties, and renewing your vehicle tax.
What is vehicle tax?
Vehicle tax, also known as vehicle excise duty, taxes the emissions produced by a vehicle. Unless it is considered exempt, every vehicle on the road must be taxed. How much tax you pay depends on the make, model, age and value of your vehicle.
If your vehicle is out of use, you need to apply for it to be classed as exempt. You can do this by applying for a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). If your vehicle is an HGV, you need to find out about the HGV levy suspension before applying for a SORN.
How do I check my tax renewal date and whether my vehicle is taxed?
The lack of paper discs can make it seem harder to know when a vehicle’s tax is about to run out. However, that’s not the case. You just need to visit the government’s check if a vehicle is taxed web page and enter your vehicle’s registration plate.
This is a free online vehicle enquiry tool that checks vehicles against the DVLA database. You can also use it to find out basic vehicle data and the cost of vehicle excise.
How much vehicle tax will I pay?
As mentioned, how much vehicle tax you pay depends on a number of factors.
For vehicles first registered between March 2001 and April 2017, the amount will depend on the car’s official CO2 emissions. Vehicles registered before March 2001 will be taxed on engine size, while those more than 40 years old are exempt from paying road tax.
Vehicles registered from April 2017 have the first-year rate based on CO2 emissions. More information about vehicle tax rates for vehicles registered on or after 1 April 2017 can be found on the government’s vehicle tax rates web page.
What are the penalties for driving an untaxed vehicle?
If you are caught driving a vehicle that is not taxed, you could face an on-the-spot fine of £80.
Meanwhile, the penalty for not taxing a vehicle without a SORN, could be far greater – as much as £1,000. If you are still driving a vehicle that has a SORN in place, the fine can increase to £2,500.
According to data from the Department of Transport, 1.6% of all vehicles on the road were untaxed in 2019. That’s more than 634,000 vehicles in total.
How do I renew my vehicle tax?
If you need to renew the tax on your vehicle, all you need to do is visit the government’s taxing a vehicle web page, and follow the simple steps.
Keeping a vehicle’s tax up to date is a really important part of owning and/or driving a vehicle. Even more so when you are driving that vehicle for work.
Make sure you know how to check if a vehicle is taxed and avoid any unnecessary penalties.