Car tax refunds and how to claim yours

If selling your car, you can no longer add road tax as an incentive. We guide you through the rules on refunding your road fund licence

Tax disc

In the recent past, if you were selling your car, you could offer the buyer a sweetener on the deal by mentioning how many months' road tax was left on the vehicle. If it had a 12-month tax disc in the window, there could be a couple of hundred extra quid in it for the seller, while buyers could negotiate a discount on a car that was due to have its road tax renewed in the coming months.

However, that's not the case today. If you sell your car, and there is outstanding road tax on it, you now get the remaining amount paid back to you in a car tax refund when you inform the DVLA that you no longer own it. This also applies if you have taken the car off the road (using a Statutory Off Road Notification, or SORN), if it's been written off by your insurance company, it's been scrapped, stolen, exported from the UK, or if it has been registered as tax exempt.

Remember, any remaining road tax will not transfer to the new owner with the car. It is the new owner’s responsibility to re-tax the vehicle when they take ownership of it. It’s also important the DVLA is informed straight away of the change of ownership or a £1,000 fine may be incurred by the original owner of the vehicle. You can do this online via the DVLA website and you’ll get an email confirmation.  

How much road tax can I get refunded?

Once you've told the DVLA that you no longer need road tax, it will be cancelled and you will automatically get a refund for any full months that are left remaining on your vehicle tax.

If you pay for your car tax by Direct Debit this will be cancelled automatically, while a cheque for the refund amount will be made out and sent to the name and address on the vehicle's V5C registration document. The amount reimbursed will be calculated from the date that the DVLA receives the confirmation of cancellation. As that's the case, it's best to notify the DVLA as soon as possible so you don't risk losing a months' worth of money unnecessarily.

If you've paid by credit card, paid a Direct Debit surcharge when you applied for the road tax, or paid the 10 per cent surcharge for the one-off six-month road tax payment, then these won't be refunded. Of course, if you own a car which is over 40-years old or a fully-electric car worth under £40,000, you will not be paying any road tax so you will not qualify for any road tax refund.

When will my road tax refund arrive?

You should receive a cheque for your road tax refund amount in the post after six weeks. If you haven't, then you need to contact the DVLA tax enquiries department. You can do this by calling the DVLA contact number 0300 790 6802, Mon to Fri (8am-7pm), or Sat (8am-2pm).

You can also E-mail the DVLA or get in touch by post at: Vehicle Customer Services, DVLA, Swansea SA99 1AR.

UK car road tax bands explained

Due to the sheer number of enquiries and cases the DVLA has to deal with, you may need to remain patient. It can take a few weeks for the DVLA to process an application, so you should wait for at least four weeks before you get confirmation that your vehicle is SORNed, and six weeks for a car tax refund, before getting in touch.

Have you had problems getting your road tax refunded? Tell us about it in the comments section below…

Recommended

Vehicle thefts down 14.5% last year
Police car
News

Vehicle thefts down 14.5% last year

Police data shows fewer vehicles were stolen in 2020 than 2019, with lockdown keeping drivers at home with their cars
9 Jun 2021
Locking wheel nuts explained: types, removal and lost keys
Ford Tourneo Custom wheel detail
Owning a car

Locking wheel nuts explained: types, removal and lost keys

We explain how locking wheel nuts work, and what to do when you lose your locking wheel nut key...
19 May 2021
Best cars to modify 2021 - our top options for DIY car mods
Best cars to modify - header
Owning a car

Best cars to modify 2021 - our top options for DIY car mods

If you have the itch for aftermarket parts and making your ride unique, these are the best cars to go for
25 Apr 2021
Engine remapping and car chipping: does it work?
Watchdog: Engine remapping
Tips & advice

Engine remapping and car chipping: does it work?

Everything you need to know if you're considering engine remapping or chipping work on your car
19 Apr 2021

Most Popular

New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle
Volkswagen T7 Multivan - front
Volkswagen Caravelle

New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle

The Volkswagen T7 Multivan MPV switches to the MQB platform and adds plug-in hybrid technology
10 Jun 2021
LEC launches affordable EV conversion for classic Mini
LEC MINI Electric
MINI

LEC launches affordable EV conversion for classic Mini

The conversion sees the Mini’s A-Series engine replaced with a dinky electric motor and a 20kWh battery for a range of 70 miles in the city
10 Jun 2021
New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time
Vauxhall Astra teaser 1
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time

The new Vauxhall Astra will get electrified powertrains and a more premium image
8 Jun 2021
New 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid launched with 1,006bhp
Tesla Model S facelift - front
Tesla Model S

New 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid launched with 1,006bhp

Range-topping version of the Tesla Model S officially unveiled, with a sprint time of 0-60mph in less than two seconds
10 Jun 2021
‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'
Gearknob
Opinion

‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'

Want to drive a manual car? You need to take your test in a manual car. So what happens once all driving-school cars are automatic EVs?
8 Jun 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Sportline - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and we've tested the full range on UK roads
10 Jun 2021
Audi updates line-up for 2022 with new tech and trim features
Audi S5
Audi

Audi updates line-up for 2022 with new tech and trim features

Almost every car in Audi’s line-up has received a tweak, with major updates including Amazon Alexa integration and a Sonos stereo
11 Jun 2021
'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'
Car manufacturing
Opinion

'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'

Steve Fowler points out the fresh issues facing global car manufacturing
9 Jun 2021
New 2021 Lexus NX arrives with firm’s first plug-in hybrid drivetrain
Lexus NX - front action
Lexus NX SUV

New 2021 Lexus NX arrives with firm’s first plug-in hybrid drivetrain

The new Lexus NX 350h features a standard hybrid set-up, while the NX 450h+ gets a plug-in hybrid powertrain capable of 40 miles of pure electric powe…
12 Jun 2021
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Car group tests

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300

The capable Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport goes up against its new Cupra Leon 300 sibling in this hot hatch battle
12 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen T-Cross Black Edition 2021 review
Volkswagen T-Cross Black Edition - front
Volkswagen T-Cross

New Volkswagen T-Cross Black Edition 2021 review

The small Volkswagen T-Cross SUV turns on the style in new Black Edition trim
11 Jun 2021
New Toyota Land Cruiser 300 revealed with six-cylinder petrol and diesel power
Toyota Land Cruiser - front
Toyota Land Cruiser

New Toyota Land Cruiser 300 revealed with six-cylinder petrol and diesel power

Six-cylinder engine line-up and clever new suspension tech for the new large Toyota Land Cruiser, but it’s not destined for the UK
9 Jun 2021
New Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet 2021 review
Mercedes E 300 Cabriolet - front
Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet

New Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet 2021 review

The soft-top Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet gets the same updates as the saloon and estate variants
10 Jun 2021
Mustang Mach-E: your next company car?
A red Ford Mustang Mach-E parked
Advertisement Feature

Mustang Mach-E: your next company car?

Thinking of getting a new company car? Here’s why you should consider putting the Mustang Mach-E on your shortlist
11 Jun 2021