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Say it With Wheels: Our 'How to Gift a Car' Guide

Gift giving is one of many ways we can show loved ones that they are appreciated. That is why when gifting an item as substantial as a car, you must take time choosing the right vehicle - one that will see the lucky recipient through many life events.

While there are important factors like make, colour and practicality to consider, it is worth remembering that there are certain tax rules in the UK that you must follow before investing in this special present.

To assist you through this gift giving process, we have created a handy guide to ensure you pick the best motor for your loved one.

Note- although we can provide general advice on inheritance tax, we advise that you follow up on this with a solicitor if you believe there may be any tax issues with your purchase.

When to gift a car



> Birthday – especially a 17th or 18th birthday 

> Passing a driving test

> Graduation

> Anniversary or wedding present

> Retirement 

> Replace an old car 


Choosing the Car

Colour is very important to get right, it's usually a personal touch that doesn't go unnoticed

When choosing the right car for the recipient, we would recommend you first set yourself a budget, as this will narrow your search and help you focus on the key features the vehicle needs to have. After this you can consider performance and style and if necessary you could drop hints to help determine the recipients ideal colour or make. We asked people working within our network and they all agreed, "colour is very important to get right, it's usually a personal touch that doesn't go unnoticed." So if you know the person's favourite colour or can find a way to confirm it, this will earn your brownie points.   

How to buy a car for someone else

The process of buying a car for another person is the same as our the normal purchasing process, but you must be even more considerate of timings, so that you can ensure the car is ready for the surprise occasion. Here are some considerations from our dealers when you gift a car with us:

  1. Communication is more covert; we ensure nothing is sent in the post to your home address and we avoid phonecalls to your home - if the recipient lives there too.
  2. Customers tend to avoid financing a car as a gift, so you can easily register the car in the gift receivers name if you're paying for the vehicle outright.
  3. When insuring the car, we often advise our customers to put it in their name while adding the recipient as a named driver, so they have no worries about driving the car right away.

''For the handover, we often have the car under a cover with a bow around it''

Transferring ownership of the car



One option is to buy the car in your name and then transfer ownership. The most important thing to do once you have bought the car, is to inform the DVLA as soon as possible. You can do this most easily online: You need the 11 digit reference from the V5C log book or fill out the V5C logbook and post it to them – your car dealer can help you with this.

Once this has been sent off, remember to give the green ‘new keeper’ section to the person you’re transferring the car to. Note that if you send the V5C you cannot then apply online.

Car insurance & vehicle tax

Before you or the recipient (if they are collecting the car from the dealership) drives off in the new car, the vehicle must be insured as well as taxed. If you are unfamiliar with the recent changes to car tax, be aware that tax cannot be transferred when you switch ownership, so the new owner must tax the vehicle before driving it. Don’t worry, it is easy to do and can be completed online:

Inheritance tax

You will not need to pay any tax on gifts given to family members or loved ones and there are no limits on gifts. However, large gifts may be eligible for inheritance tax if you pass away within 7 years of giving them.

To understand the implications you can find the full rules of inheritance tax online, however, we recommend contacting a solicitor if you have any concerns – inheritance tax is a highly complicated matter!

If you’d like to know more about gifting a car, then we would LOVE to help! Contact your closest Jardine Motors dealership for assistance.


Jardine Motors Group will work hand-in-hand with you to help you stay up to date with the motoring world. Whether you are looking to switch to an electric vehicle, take care of your car maintenance or find a new or used car, our knowledgeable experts are able to provide you with the best help and advice. ​


Book a virtual appointment with one of our sales or aftersales experts or pay a visit to your nearest Jardine dealer.

Have you ever received a car as a gift? Share your stories with us on Facebook or Twitter! 

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