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What happens if you forget to tax your car?

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Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), more commonly known as road tax, is a legal requirement if you wish to drive or park your car on public roads. If your vehicle is found to be untaxed, there is a penalty that you could receive either by the police or by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The DVLA run regular random checks within their database of registered vehicles in the UK.

Below you can find out more information around road tax, including whether it renews automatically, how to find out if your car is taxed and also what happens if you forget to tax your car.

What’s the fine for an untaxed vehicle?

If the DVLA discovers that your registered car is untaxed, you will be sent a letter to your home address alerting you of an £80 fine and reminding you to tax your vehicle as soon as possible. If the fine is paid quickly (usually within 28 days), it will be halved, meaning you only need to pay £40. You won’t be given any points on your licence at this time.

If you fail to pay the fine, it could increase to up to £1,000 and you could be taken to court. The fine may also increase if you’re caught driving without tax on more than one occasion. The DVLA also has the power to clamp your vehicle so that it cannot be driven until the fine is paid.

Remember, even if you own a vehicle that is exempt from paying tax, such as an electric car, you still need to register to tax your car. Being exempt simply means that you pay nothing.


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Do you get a road tax reminder?

When you purchase or register a vehicle that’s new to you, you will need to set up VED. If you don’t do this straight away, the DVLA will likely send out a V11 reminder form. This form can be filled in so that your road tax is set up. You can also use this form to mark your vehicle as Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). This means that the car doesn’t need to be taxed because it isn’t being driven or parked on public roads. When this is the case, the DVLA needs to be alerted so that they’re aware the car isn’t being used, as well as your insurance provider.

A V11 form is generally only sent to people who renew their tax each year via a local Post Office branch or over the phone. The form is split into three sections. The first will show your name and address, registration number and the date the tax is due to expire. The middle section gives you the option to pay the tax, register the car as SORN or state that you no longer own the vehicle. The final section gives you the option to pay online, by phone or at a Post Office.

Will my road tax automatically renew?

Once your road tax has been set up as described above, it should automatically renew year on year, without requiring that you do anything else. A letter will usually be sent to you that states the renewal date as well as the cost. The price of road tax can change, so you should make sure that you understand the new price, as well as why it might have increased or decreased.

You should check that the correct amount comes out in the first month after the renewal date. This way, you’ll know that your car is definitely taxed and that you’re paying the right figure.

Does my car have road tax?

If you’re worried that your car isn’t taxed, there is a way to check this information on the government website. You should receive your answer within a few seconds, putting your mind at rest that your car is insured, taxed and has a valid MOT.

How to check if your car has road tax

The easiest way to check if your car is taxed is on the government website. You can use this simple form and the only thing you need to know is your registration plate number. The website will confirm the make and colour of your vehicle to ensure that it’s correct, before telling you whether your car is taxed, as well as when it expires. It will also let you know when your MOT expires, the fuel type, the CO2 emissions and when the last V5C logbook was issued.

You shouldn’t ever have to pay to find out this information. Some websites will ask for a fee and other companies claim that you can send a text message to a particular number to have this information sent to you. You shouldn’t need to pay as the information should all be available on the government website, so avoid using sites that require a fee.

When does my road tax run out?

You can use the above form on the government website to find out when your road tax is due to expire. As previously mentioned, you will likely receive a letter a few weeks before expiration so this will also alert you as to when it will run out. If your tax was set up online, it should renew automatically, so you don’t need to worry about applying for it again.

If you receive a V11 reminder form, this will tell you when the tax is due to expire, giving you plenty of time to ring the DVLA or renew it at a local Post Office branch.

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