25th May, 2021
Like it or not, being on top of paperwork is a pretty important part of owning a vehicle. We know how tedious it can be here at Scrap Car Network, which is exactly why we try and make it all as straightforward as possible when you decide – I need to scrap my car.
Before you get to that stage though, it’s still particularly important to make sure you keep up with the essential bits of admin, like tax and insurance, especially since it’s illegal to take the car on the roads without them. The good news is that sorting out tax is a pretty simple process, particularly if you’ve got all the right paperwork. Here, we’ve explained how to get the job done, whether you’re the current owner of the car, or you’ve just one. Let’s start with an obvious question…
Yes. All cars need to be taxed in order for them to be road-legal. The confusion around this question seems to have arisen from the fact that certain cars are exempt from actually paying tax, such as electric vehicles, and those used by people with disabilities. However, even if your car fits the definition of a tax-exempt vehicle, you’ll still need to apply for tax anyway, so that its tax-exempt status can be verified through official means. (Otherwise, there wouldn’t be much stopping pretty much anyone from unilaterally deciding that their car is tax-exempt, and you can see why the government wouldn’t be too keen on that!)
It’s worth noting that the law surrounding vehicle tax, and the way in which it’s calculated, changed in April 2017. The RAC has helpfully published an extensive guide to car tax bands if you need a little more detail.
You can choose to pay your vehicle tax either as a single lump sum for the year, or two six-monthly payments, or 12 monthly instalments. If you choose either of the latter two options, you’ll be charged an additional 5%. You can pay the DVLA in cash, cheque, debit or credit car, or if you’re paying at the Post Office, you can also make use of your Post Office Budget Card, Postal Order or Sterling travellers cheque.
If you’ve paid for your car tax on an annual basis, the government will send you a reminder when you’re approaching your next payment date. This reminder is officially called a V11 reminder, and it contains an important 16-digit reference number.
All you then need to do is visit the government’s official website, which will ask you for that reference number. Follow the steps on the screen, and Bob’s your uncle – you’ve taxed your vehicle.
If you don’t want to or can’t do it over the internet for whatever reason, you can alternatively give the DVLA a call on 0300 123 4321, and have that reference number handy. (Just be prepared to wait a while, as these phone lines are usually pretty busy!)
Alternatively, you can tax it at your local Post Office, as long as they deal with vehicle tax. But – you guessed it – you’ll still need that reference number.
If you’ve not had your V11 reminder yet but you think your tax may be about to expire, the government has a handy online enquiry service you can use to find out when the tax is next due.
Happily, you can still tax your car without a V11, as long as you’ve still got your vehicle logbook, also known as your vehicle registration document or V5C. If you’ve lost your V5C, you can use the V62 application for a registration certificate.
If you’ve not got that either, the solution is simple but may or may not be terribly quick – you’ll just have to apply for a new logbook, and tax your vehicle at a Post Office. A new V5C costs £25, which can be a bit of a pain to pay – but not quite as much of a pain as the fine you’d get if you were caught driving an untaxed car!
If you’ve just bought a new or pre-owned car, getting the tax sorted should be one of the first things on your list of stuff to do. These days, car tax doesn’t transfer between owners, so if the previous owner had any car tax remaining on the vehicle, that’s sadly not something you’ll benefit from. Instead, when the car’s ownership is transferred to you, the DVLA will cancel the car tax and refund it to the previous owner. From the date of the sale onward, they’ll expect that car tax from you instead, so make sure to get it all ironed out before you take the car out on the roads.
If you need any more details on that side of things, feel free to check out our more detailed post on car tax refunds.
If you’ve just bought a pre-owned car, you can use the V5C/2 green New Keeper Supplement from the previous owner’s V5C, which is a section they should have removed and given to you. (It’s otherwise known as a Section 10, recognisable by its green shade, and can generally be found on the right hand page on the inside of the logbook.)
That green New Keeper Supplement, or Section 10, will have a 12-digit reference number that you’ll need to provide the DVLA when taxing your car, if you don’t have a V5C in your name just yet.
So what if that Section 10 has gone missing, or the previous owner hasn’t given it to you? Sorry, bad news there – you can’t tax your vehicle without it.
That means you’ll need to complete a V62 application for a new registration certificate, at which point the DVLA will provide you with a new V5C at a cost of £25. You can do this online, or get the form at your local Post Office.
And that’s all there is to it! All pretty simple and straightforward – which is incidentally just the way we do things here at Scrap Car Network. Once your car’s driving days are done, you can always rely on us to get you the very best price when you scrap your car.
All you need to do is enter your car reg and postcode into the fields on our site, and we’ll get you an instant online quote before you can say cash for cars. It only takes a few seconds. Curious to find out how much your car is worth?