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How to tax your car

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Now that the tax disc has been put out to pasture, how do you go about taxing your car?

Car tax disc

So what happened to the car tax disc? 

The car tax - or vehicle excise duty as it's officially known - disc was introduced in 1921.

Since then it was a legal requirement to display one - even in the case of vehicles that have been exempt from paying the charge. But in October 2014, car tax discs were no longer issued.

The DVLA said this was a cost-cutting exercise and that getting rid of printing and postage costs will save £10 million each year. 

How will car tax evaders be caught now? 

The DVLA, the police and other enforcement agencies use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras together with their electronic vehicle register to check if a vehicle is taxed or not.

They no longer need to rely on physically checking a tax disc. 

How do I know if my car is taxed?

The easiest way to find out is by using the government's vehicle enquiry service.

All you need is your car's reg number and the make and it'll tell you when your car tax is due for renewal as well as when your MOT is up.

If you have your V5C reference number to hand, you can also get tax rates and other information.

I need to tax my car. How do I do it?

When your tax is up for renewal, you should get a tax reminder letter - known as a V11.

Just put this number into the online tax service and follow the steps. Job done.

If you don't have a V11 reminder, you can also use your V5C number or a V5C/2 supplement if you've just bought the car and don't have a V5C yet.

Alternative ways to tax your car

If renewing your tax online isn't for you, there are a number of other options available to you.

You can pay for your tax by phone - just call the DVLA on 0300 123 4321 and have your V5C or V5C/2 to hand.

Certain post offices also allow you to tax your car in person. Put your postcode into the Post Office branch finder and select "vehicle tax" as your preferred service.

To tax your car via the post office, you may need to show a valid MOT test certificate as well as your V5C or V5C/2.

How do I pay for my car tax? 

As before, you can pay for your car tax in one lump sum, either by cash, cheque, debit or credit card. 

You have the option of paying via direct debit. These can be either annually, biannually or monthly - there is a 5% surcharge for biannual or monthly payments.

Does the new system have any effect on selling a car?

Tax

Yes. In the past, when someone was selling a second-hand car they might offer it with, say, "six months MOT, four months tax".

But now it's not possible to transfer car tax. Instead the seller gets an automatic refund for any full months remaining, while the buyer not only has to insure the car but also tax it before they can legally drive it away.

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