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How to Cancel Your Vehicle Tax

Marin Perez
rush hour traffic

Updated 27 November 2018If you own a car, you probably have to pay car tax (Vehicle Excise Duty). However, there are some scenarios where you can cancel your vehicle tax. You may even be eligible for a refund on your vehicle tax, calculated from the date when you inform the DVLA of your vehicle’s change in circumstances.

When can I cancel my vehicle tax?

You can cancel your vehicle tax if your car has been:

  • Taken off the road and registered with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) to the DVLA
  • Sold or transferred to someone else
  • Scrapped
  • Stolen
  • Exported out of the UK
  • Written off by an insurance company
  • Registered as exempt from vehicle tax by the DVLA

You must tell the DVLA when any of the above situations occur as this is the only way to cancel your vehicle tax and apply for a tax refund. In fact, in most circumstances, your car tax will be cancelled automatically and your refund issued directly to you, once the DVLA has the details.

How do I cancel my vehicle tax online?

This one is easy. Just go to Vehicle Enquiries DVLA and select the option that applies to you:

  • Tax, including direct-debit enquiries, declaring a vehicle off the road (SORN) or refunds of tax
  • Buying or selling a vehicle
  • Changing vehicle or personal details, replacing any documents, including a V5C registration document
  • Importing or exporting a vehicle
  • You’ve received something from us such as a penalty notice or reporting something such as an abandoned or untaxed vehicle
  • Personalised registration numbers (including questions about an application or documents you have received)

Once you have done that, follow the steps, selecting the relevant option on each subsequent page and you will end up with an email template to fill in. Make a note of your reference number and don’t forget to check your spam folder for the response. Then you can wait for your cheque to arrive in the post.

How can I cancel the tax on a sold vehicle?

Once your vehicle is sold or transferred to someone else, you just need to notify the DVLA by post or email and they will automatically cancel your direct debit (if that’s how you pay) or send you a refund from the date when they receive your notification that the car is sold. The process is simple, quick and, hopefully, painless!However, in all cases, remember to check that the name and address on your log book are current, or your car-tax refund cheque will go astray!

How can I cancel my vehicle tax without a V5 document?

First of all, in case you aren’t sure, the V5 document is the vehicle’s official logbook. It is a legally issued document from the DVLA, and is your proof of ownership. The document contains specific vehicle and owner details. Moreover, it is also used to keep track of the registered keeper when the vehicle is sold on for new ownership.In an ideal world, you won’t have lost it, had it stolen, burnt it in a fire… but in the real world, these things happen all the time. So, if you need to cancel your vehicle tax but can’t find your V5 document… the first thing to do is get a replacement log book.

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How do I get a replacement vehicle log book?

You can apply by:

  • Phone: if you are the registered keeper of the car and your current name and address match those on the original vehicle log book. You will pay £25 and your replacement documentation will be with you in five working days.
  • Post: if anything has changed – your name, address, vehicle details – then you’ll have to apply by post to DVLA, Swansea SA99 1BA, enclosing a cheque or postal order for £25 made out to ‘DVLA, Swansea’. This is much slower, clocking in at around six weeks’ delivery time. So, you need to plan ahead, or your car-tax refund will shrink.
  • Online: download an application form here: apply for a vehicle registration certificate (form V62) and send it to the DVLA along with the green ‘new keeper’s details’ slip (V5C/2). You should have this form from when you bought the car. This method is free. However, if you also cannot find the V5C/2 document, then you need to include a cheque or postal order, as above.

Don’t forget, once you have got your hands on your new V5 document, you still need to go through the process of cancelling your tax and informing the DVLA of the change in your vehicle’s circumstances. Your car-tax refund will follow in about six weeks.  See below for more details.

How can I get a refund for my vehicle tax?

Once you’ve informed the DVLA about any of the above situations, your vehicle tax will be automatically cancelled. You’ll receive a refund cheque for the full months remaining on your vehicle tax.The refund amount is based on the amount of time left on your tax disc. The DVLA calculates the refund amount based on when it receives your request and the remainder of tax that you’ve already paid for. If you pay by direct debit, it will be automatically cancelled.

What won’t the DVLA refund?

You won’t receive a refund on:

  • The surcharge from direct-debit payments
  • The surcharge from a six-month payment
  • Any credit-card fees incurred

How long will it take to get my refund?

The DVLA says your refund will typically arrive within six weeks. If you haven’t received it by then, contact the DVLA. Sometimes, the DVLA may provide a refund cheque with incorrect information or names. If this happens, return the cheque to the DVLA, listing the errors and supplying the proper information. You should receive a replacement cheque within four weeks.

Road tax for cars registered from 1 March 2001 to 31 March 2017

The Government first introduced emissions-based vehicle taxation in 2001, when it created tax bands for cars that increased the amount of road tax paid depending on the emissions they produce. When the most recent road-tax changes took place on 1 April 2018, all cars previously registered had their tax frozen at the following rates:

VED car-tax rates from 1 April 2017

And if you have a newer car? The rates for cars registered with the DVLA after 1 April 2017 are calculated as follows.For the first year, for all cars, vehicle tax is based on CO2 emissions. After that, your car tax is dependent on your vehicle type:For cars with a list price of under £40,000, the rates are:

  • £140 a year for petrol or diesel vehicles
  • £130 a year for alternative fuel vehicles (hybrids, bioethanol and LPG)
  • £0 a year for vehicles with zero CO2 emissions

New vehicles with a list price (published price before discounts) of more than £40,000:

  • After the first year, the rate follows the above price listings according to vehicle type (petrol, diesel, alternative fuel or zero emissions) with an added £310 a year for the next five years.
  • After five years, the tax is based on standard rates (£140, £130 or £0, according to vehicle type).

So, you’ve cancelled your car tax, organised a refund and are waiting for your tax-refund cheque to arrive – all you have to decide now is what to spend it on.

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