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Car tax

An old UK tax discAs with virtually everything else in the world, your car is taxed too. If you park your car on a public road or drive around on a public highway, then your car must be taxed. If you keep your car off the road (such as in a garage) it must still be taxed unless you have supplied a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) to the DVLA.

Car tax can be known as road tax, and was previously known as Vehicle Excise Duty. The amount you pay is dependent on a few things, but is mainly down to the amount of CO2 gas your vehicle emits.

For cars registered since 1st March 2001

Vehicles that were first registered post 1st March 2001 are taxed solely on their CO2 emissions, as you can see in the table below.

Tax Band
CO2 Emissions (g/km)
2013/14 standard rate
Less than 100
101 - 100
111 - 120
121 - 130
131 - 140
141 - 150
151 - 165
166 - 175
176 - 185
186 - 200
201 - 225
226 - 255
255 and over

Older cars, those registered before the 1st March 2001, have their car tax governed by their engine size. The is because official data on their CO2 emissions is not available, and would most likely show that they are major polluters anyway. For engine sizes below 1550cc, the car tax rate is £140 yearly, whilst those with an engine size of 1550cc or above are taxed at £225 yearly.

CO2 emission levels

The levels of CO2 that is emitted by a vehicle is officially recorded when the model is looked at by the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) as part of type approval. Type approval makes sure that a car meets a specific set of technical, safety and regulatory requirements. One part of these tests is the amount of CO2 gas emitted, and this is used as an official figure when determining car tax rate. This official figure for your vehicle's CO2 emissions is located in your V5C certificate.

There are many options available online to analyse car specs and compare different vehicles. This can be useful when you're looking to get a new car, but CO2 emissions can change depending on the model's specifications, so it is always best to get the official emission figures for a car from the dealer, or the V5C certificate if you are buying second hand.

How to tax your vehicle

The DVLA now enable you to buy and renew your car tax online, as well as by phone, or at a nearby post office. To do this, you will need to either have your V11 tax reminder letter, or your V5C certificate. You'll also need to be the vehicle's registered keeper, and be already registered with the DVLA. Your vehicle will need to be insured, and also have a valid MoT if applicable. You will of course also need the payment required too!

Tax tax tax - no matter what you do, you can't get away from it. To make sure you pay less road tax, choose an economical and environmentally-sound vehicle, and not only will you save on tax, but you'll save on fuel too.

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