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All vehicles registered in the UK and being driven on public roads must be taxed – and if you’re not using your vehicle, you should either send a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) to DVLA to let them know your car’s not currently on the road or carry on taxing it.

How are vehicles taxed?

How much your car tax costs depends on:

  1. The age of your vehicle – cars more than 40 years old are exempt.
  2. Your vehicle’s engine size – cars first registered before 1 March 2001 are taxed on engine size.
  3. The official CO2 emissions of your vehicle if your car was first registered between 1 March 2001 and 1 April 2017.

Car tax increases in April 2019

In April this year, vehicle excise duty (VED) was increased.

In the first year, the cost of your tax is based on the CO2 emissions your car produces –
cars that generate more CO2 will be charged more.

If your car was first registered on or after 1 April 2017, only the first year’s rate is based on CO2. From the second year onwards, you pay a standardised rate of tax, which is £145 for petrol and diesel cars or £135 for hybrid vehicles. There’s also a ‘premium car surcharge’ of £320 that applies to vehicles that cost over £40,000.

These charges don’t apply if your car has zero CO2 emissions.

How are emissions tested?

You can find the official CO2 figure for your car on your V5c registration document. This is measured by official tests that take place before a new model goes on sale.

Since September 2017, the on-road Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test had to be passed by
Euro 6 diesel cars before being approved for sale. From January 2020, this test will become more demanding when RDE Step 2 comes in.

If a new diesel car registered after 1 April 2018 doesn’t meet the latest RDE2 emissions standards, that first-year rate assumes the CO2 emissions are one band higher than indicated by official figures. This is to encourage car manufacturers to start to introduce cleaner diesels sooner.

Cars that meet RDE2 are expected to become available during 2019.

Refunds on car tax

DVLA stopped issuing paper tax discs from 1 October 2014. Following the abolition of the 93-year-old tax disc, it became possible to gain a refund on unused vehicle tax.

In the past, any unexpired tax remained valid when you bought a used vehicle. Nowadays, the DVLA issues automatic refunds on car tax for any full months left to the registered keeper when a vehicle is sold, scrapped or a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) is made.

Need advice on the CO2 emissions for your car?

Foster & Heanes offers car servicing, maintenance and repair for all makes and models of vehicles including classic and vintage cars. We can arrange free collection and delivery if you live near our Fleet or Dogmersfield service centres.


Chatter Alley 
RG27 8SS

Hesters Garage

Upper Street
GU51 3PE


St James Road
GU51 3QH

VW Autos

St James Road
GU51 3QH