Having to pay vehicle excise duty (VED) - or as it's more commonly known - car tax or road tax, is necessary if you want to drive a car on the road in the UK, or even just keep a vehicle - whether it is used or not - on a public road. The way road tax is calculated has been revamped completely over the last few years and is still undergoing some changes which are due to be implemented in the next year or two.
In the past, taxing your car would involve a visit to the post office once or twice a year to tax your car. With fewer post offices and more people requiring road tax, you can now tax your car online, which will save you spending your Saturday morning queuing to buy it.
There are several different ways to pay your car tax: cash, debit card, credit card or even direct debit, however, these payment types will vary depending on whether you tax your car online or at the post office. Prior to October 2014, you'd pay for your car tax and in return, you would receive a tax disc that you'd display in your car window that verifies that your car has been taxed. As of October 2014, the car tax disc was abolished in favour of online systems.
Over the past decade, how car tax VED is calculated has changed a number of times. From April 2017, VED will be calculated based on the Co2 emission of the car, with only 0g/km cars being exempt from the tax. To find out more about the most recent car tax changes are our article on road tax, alternatively, read our article on cheapest cars for road tax.
The best way to bring down your road tax is to consider changing the vehicle you're driving. Changing to a car with lower Co2 emissions, or even a PHEV or EV will reduce or get rid of any cost associated to road tax. If you're driving one of the cars that are heading quickly towards the top of the road tax table - such as a 4x4 or a high-performance vehicle, then this may well work out being a far more economical option in the long run.
Something a lot of people forget is that if they are not driving their car for a while then they can declare it off the road and get a refund on their car tax. This is only applicable if the car won't be driven at all and is kept on private land - in a private garage, for example. If it is taken onto a public road or is seen parked on a public road at any time that it is declared as SORN, then the registered owner is liable to prosecution.
If you do need to get a refund, you can do so online via the GOV vehicle tax refund webpage.
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Disclaimer: The information in the article is for general purpose information only and should not be constituted as legal advice. This article has been produced by a third party and Jardine Motors does not take any responsibility for the completeness, accuracy, or reliability with respect to the website or the information provided. Article last updated September 2017.