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5 myth-busting facts about taxing your vehicle

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Enforcement, Features, Vehicle tax

By law, you must tax your vehicle if you’re using it or keeping it on a public road. If you’re keeping the vehicle off the road, you must either tax it or register it as off the road by making a ‘Statutory Off Road Notification’ (SORN).

If you do not tax your vehicle, you could find your vehicle clamped or impounded. You could also face financial penalties or court action. So, remember to tax your vehicle on time - it’s never been easier!

In this blog, we tackle several of the biggest myths about vehicle tax.


MYTH 1: I need to pay vehicle tax up front every year

Wrong! You can set up a Direct Debit when you tax your vehicle online (your vehicle must be insured and have a valid MOT in place if it needs one). By setting up a Direct Debit, you can spread the cost by paying your vehicle tax annually, 6 monthly or monthly - whatever works best for you!

Your Direct Debit will renew automatically when your vehicle tax is due to run out (providing you’re shown as the registered keeper and the vehicle has a valid MOT and insurance). So, there’s no need to worry! Find out more about setting up a Direct Debit for vehicle tax.


MYTH 2: I’ve just bought a car - I cannot tax my vehicle because I do not have a V5C registration certificate (log book) in my name 

If you’re the new keeper, you can use the green ‘new keeper’ slip from the log book to tax your vehicle straight away.


MYTH 3: My vehicle is exempt from vehicle tax, so I do not need to do anything

In fact, you must still tax your vehicle even if you do not need to pay anything.

Some types of vehicles are ‘exempt’ from vehicle tax, which means you do not need to pay, but you still need to tax the vehicle. The quickest way to do this is using our online service.

If you’re unsure if your vehicle is exempt from vehicle tax, read our guidance on GOV.UK. To tax your vehicle as exempt for the first time, for example as disabled, you need to change your vehicle’s tax class.



MYTH 4: I cannot drive a vehicle registered off the road, sometimes called a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN), to an MOT test

Wrong. If you’ve pre-arranged an MOT test you can drive a SORN vehicle to its appointment.


MYTH 5: I’ve not received a V11 vehicle tax reminder form so I cannot tax my vehicle

If you haven’t received your V11 vehicle tax reminder, you can use your V5C registration certificate (log book) instead. Your V5C will have a reference number which you can use to tax your vehicle.

If you’ve changed address, let us know by updating the address on your V5C. If your vehicle needs taxing in the next 4 weeks, you’ll need to tax your vehicle using your current V5C before changing your address.


Tax on time, tax online

Use GOV.UK to check if your vehicle is taxed. If you need to tax your vehicle, you can do so quickly and securely online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on GOV.UK.

Simply visit and read the information on the page. Check you have everything you need and click ‘Start now’. Answer the questions on each page and complete the required information to tax your vehicle - sorted. So, tax it, don’t risk it!


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  1. Comment by Ian Jones posted on

    It's not rocket, is it? so easy to do, no excuses!

  2. Comment by Frederick Bernard Lydon posted on

    Very Informative.

  3. Comment by Theresa Bennett posted on

    Very clear.

  4. Comment by C r cooper posted on

  5. Comment by Ray posted on

    Blog very good, clears the Myths up.

  6. Comment by Francis Servini posted on

    It would be useful for readers to know if they have to pay extra to spread the cost using direct debit or if the toal comes to the same annual amount.

    • Replies to Francis Servini>

      Comment by CJ posted on

      For monthly or 6 monthly direct debits there is a 5% surcharge, on annual renewals there is no surcharge

  7. Comment by John Taylor posted on

    Although I am already familiar with all this information, it is a good idea to alert those that are not.
    Well done!

  8. Comment by Steve posted on

    Why does it take 3-5 working days for the (user) system to show taxed/SORN; technically after taxing your vehicle you could be stopped as system showing 'untaxed/SORN' until system has been updated, surely the technology should be more instantaneous if paying by credit/debit card?
    This also causes delays if wanting to change the VRM; needs to be taxed/SORN with new keeper supplement then the arduous task of waiting upto 5 days for system to update, then change the VRM online approx. 30 seconds for a further wait of upto 5 days for DVLA to send new V5C then you can tax it....internal systems may operate independently to what end user use but hey.....its 2023 and we are in a digital era!

    • Replies to Steve>

      Comment by External Communications Team posted on

      Hello Steve, thanks for commenting on our blog.

      In most cases our service is updated within 48 hours excluding weekends and bank holidays. But it can take up to 5 working days in some instances because of the way the data is processed for example if the status of a vehicle has been changed our updated.

  9. Comment by David Robert Gibson posted on

    Please end VED, it is unfair and inequitable. Replace it with a portion of fuel tax, which inevitably will be proportionate to use of the public highway.

    • Replies to David Robert Gibson>

      Comment by steve posted on

      i agree ved is unfair on older more than 1.4 l family cars which may do lower miles than smaller car. petrol tax is fairer and custom elecrticity tax on EV chargers

    • Replies to David Robert Gibson>

      Comment by Buscarello posted on

      Problem with removing VED it would result in hundreds of vehicles left parked abandoned in the street.

  10. Comment by Shahnaaz Meghani posted on

    I make sure my car is ready for vehicle tax.

  11. Comment by Kevin Shortis posted on

    Very clear and concise. Well done.

  12. Comment by Bob Grebby posted on

    Congratulations, long overdue, in publishing this important data, to every vehicle owner

  13. Comment by Michael Wright posted on

    Very helpful - Thanks

  14. Comment by Ron Gretton posted on

    This type of reminder should be used more often as there is so many people going around spreading the wrong information. this should also be used by the driving license authority to remind drivers of the changes to the highway code. I still see drivers cutting up pedestrians at road junctions.

  15. Comment by Terry posted on

    is online service 24 /7 ?
    thought it was 7am until 7pm

  16. Comment by Sheila Cousins posted on

    Roads are full of pot hole urgently need replacing why are we paying

  17. Comment by Nicholas Tambakis posted on

    All of this is 'painfully' obvious by using one's common sense.

  18. Comment by Albert Trayner posted on

    Most helpful and constructive information. Well done!

  19. Comment by Khalid Ansari posted on

    Glad to see DVLA are positive & proactive in communicating with the public - well done

  20. Comment by Mike Hughes posted on

    We tax our vehicles so that they can be driven on a road that is not fit for purpose, which causes damage to our vehicles. Its a no win situation.

  21. Comment by John Stuart Cooper posted on

    Very helpfull

  22. Comment by Mr.J Cooper posted on

    I am restoring a 1963 v8 Daimlar but I have not yet registered it as sorn because I am restoring it . I would prefer to register it closer to when it is restored. Hope you can help Stuart Cooper

  23. Comment by Andrew Smith posted on

    I set up an Automatic Tax Payment scheme years ago and it is paid by Direct Debit for both My Car and My Wife's Car when due .

  24. Comment by KELVIN WAKEFIELD posted on

    Excellent article !
    EVERYONE should pay the due tax on their car and I have no sympathy for those who do not and are caught out. The penalty for not paying should be quadruple the tax they tried to avoid plus original tax and costs !
    I'm sorry but I still think the discontinuation of the tax disc was the wrong decision.

  25. Comment by Paul Berry posted on

    Taxing your vehicle is so easy now with lots of options.I did fall foul of the rule about still needing to Tax your car although its except from Tax but as soon as I realised my mistake I went online and did it immediately.

  26. Comment by Leslie Jones posted on

    More cameras should be inplace to spot doggers going to work etc and on routes they cannot avoid.I have never seen any checks in my life being done checking vehicle tax etc meaning wrong dooers are getting away with it.Fuel points and shopping areas could have cameras to catch the doggers.Main starting routes ie motorways or other main roads could have cameras.What I have mentioned would bring in more income to the DVLA.It's ok telling drivers but checks have to be made that they are complying.How about routine checks
    at a MOT station? some vehicles are parked on the highway because of no parking area is available and are not suposed to be on the road.

  27. Comment by John Leavy posted on

    Comprehensive information spelled out with clarity, something not always the case with Government bodies. Well done and no excuse for car owners not to tax their vehicle/s.

  28. Comment by CHARLES KEEN posted on

    For goodness sake! I've been taxing my cars for nearly 30 years without your reminder. Today is the 29th and my car tax is due on the 31st. I am very mindful of this and have the means to pay for it. Why do you not go around some of these no-go cities and have a purge on them? Less of this Big Brother e-mail reminder (seeing mine is due on the 31st). Send me a reminder/ reprimand if i've NOT paid for it by the 31st.

  29. Comment by Michael Pilling posted on

    You’re welcome to use the roads progressively over the year and spread the cost by direct debit.
    However we’ll be happy to charge you fees to pay progressively over the year (5%) when you use this service. It’s a tax on tax I’m paying with money I have already earned and paid tax on. How is that justified.
    Can I suggest that those paying annually up front can get a reduction of 5% too.

  30. Comment by Micheal Jones posted on

    Excellently put, if I can do it ...a non techno person anyone can..!!!
    Very simple steps to follow..

  31. Comment by Brian Knight posted on

    It would be a good idea if you published a newsletter to all those thousands of tax dodgers who are still on the road. We are having to subsidize them.

  32. Comment by Janet Loader posted on

    Very informative, so glad I read it.

  33. Comment by simon jefferson posted on

    Shame you cannot tax you car daily.. so if you sold it in the middle of the month you would get the half month back.... and if you buy in the middle of a month you only pay half tax for that month... its all on computer so easy to work out. Its a hearts and mind thing....