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Adam Jolley

UK car and van tax bands explained

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Want to know your motor's tax band? We explain how the UK’s VED system works and what you can expect to pay.

Are you a van driver? Check your tax bands here.

Brand new cars

Since 1 March 2001, vehicle excise duty (VED), commonly known as road tax or car tax, has been set on a sliding scale according to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The lower a car’s emissions, the lower the tax payable.

In short, if you buy a gas-guzzler you can expect to pay through the nose for it, whereas an eco-friendly vehicle will be significantly cheaper.

VED tax cost for cars registered after April 2017

From April 2017, only vehicles with zero emissions pay zero VED in the first and subsequent years.

Cars not categorised at zero emissions, which is the majority of vehicles, have their VED calculated on the rate of their CO2 output.

After the first year, all motorists (except for owners of electric vehicles) face an annual flat fee of £140.

This system only applies to cars bought as brand new and registered after April 2017. The chart below gives more detail:

Car tax bands
CO2 emissions (g/km) First year rate STANDARD RATE
0 £0 £0
1-50 £10 £140
51-75 £25 £140
76-90 £100 £140
91-100 £120 £140
101-110 £140 £140
111-130 £160 £140
131-150 £200 £140
151-170 £500 £140
171-190 £800 £140
191-225 £1,200 £140
226-255 £1,700 £140
Over 255 £2,000 £140

Cars which cost over £40,000 new pay an additional rate of £310 per year on top of the standard rate, for five years.

VED tax cost for cars registered before April 2017

For cars registered before April 2017, the car tax scale is divided into 13 bands labelled A to M.

How much you pay depends on which band your car falls into.

Motorists can expect to pay anything from £0 to more than £1,000 depending on their car’s eco credentials.

The chart below gives more detail about each of the 13 VED bands for cars bought new pre-April 2017.

Car tax bands
Band CO2 emissions (g/km) Standard cost (Single 12 month payment) Cost for first year (Single 12 month payment)
A Up to 100 £0 £0
B 101-110 £20 £0
C 111-120 £30 £0
D 121-130 £110 £0
E 131-140 £130 £130
F 141-150 £145 £145
G 151-165 £185 £185
H 166-175 £210 £300
I 176-185 £230 £355
J 186-200 £270 £500
I 201-225 £295 £650
L 226-255 £500 £885
M Over 255 £515 £1,120

VED tax cost for cars or vans registered before March 2001

If your car was registered prior to March 2001, ignore all of the above – instead you’ll pay car tax based on engine size.

Tax for older cars
Engine Size 12 Months Cost (Single 12 month payment)
Less than 1550 cc £145
1550 cc and over £235

What tax band is my car?

Not sure which band your car falls into? Don’t worry.

To find out the emissions of your vehicle, new or used, visit the GOV.UK website.

It has a helpful tool which lets you search for CO2 data by manufacturer and model.

How do I pay car tax?

There are a number of ways to pay your car tax.

You can pay VED online, by phone, at a Post Office, or by post.

Online is your quickest and easiest option: you’ll just need the reference number from your V11 reminder or registration certificate (V5C) and a valid card with which to pay.

You can also pay by phoning 0300 123 4321, in person at Post Office branches that deal with vehicle tax, or by post to the address shown on the V11 (you should automatically receive this a few weeks before renewal).

The costs can vary within the same band depending on how you choose to pay your tax.

For example, it’s marginally cheaper to make a one off annual payment than in monthly instalments, so it’s worth checking this out a little further.

Tax bands for van drivers

The rules on tax are a little different for van drivers. Rather than being dependant on their CO2 emissions, van tax is a set fee depending on how old the van is.

It was announced in the 2017 Budget that van tax would increase on 1 April 2017. The amount of increase isn't known, but it's said to be less than £5.

The 2016/2017 tax rates for vans are: 

Vans under 3,500kg maximum weight
Type of van Registration period Standard cost (12 months)
Light goods vehicle After March 2001 £230
Euro 4 1 March 2003 - 31 December 2006 £140
Euro 5 1 January 2009 - 31 December 2010 £140
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