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

Resident parking permits: how do they work and can you get one?
parking permit
Tips & advice

Resident parking permits: how do they work and can you get one?

With a residents parking permit you can park your car in the Controlled Permit Zone where you live. But you need to apply for one first…
28 Jan 2022
What are 4D number plates and are they legal?
Ross Hollis at perfectlyprintedplates.com
Tips & advice

What are 4D number plates and are they legal?

Everything you need to know about so-called ‘4D’ number plates, including whether you’re allowed to have them on your car
25 Jan 2022
Car valuations: how much is your car worth?
Hand building piles of coins
Tips & advice

Car valuations: how much is your car worth?

If you're buying or selling a car, you'll want to know how much it's worth. So what’s the best way to find the true value of a used car?
17 Jan 2022
E10 petrol explained: checker tool, UK prices and is it OK for your car?
Petrol pump
News

E10 petrol explained: checker tool, UK prices and is it OK for your car?

What is E10 fuel and will your car run on it? Here’s everything you need to know about E10...
14 Dec 2021

Most Popular

What are 4D number plates and are they legal?
Ross Hollis at perfectlyprintedplates.com
Tips & advice

What are 4D number plates and are they legal?

Everything you need to know about so-called ‘4D’ number plates, including whether you’re allowed to have them on your car
25 Jan 2022
Best electric cars to buy 2022
Best electric cars
Electric cars

Best electric cars to buy 2022

There are more electric cars than ever to choose from, so we've picked some of the best you can buy in the UK now
10 Jan 2022
New 2022 Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 hits the road for the first time
Lamborghini Countach - front
Lamborghini Countach

New 2022 Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 hits the road for the first time

Lamborghini’s reborn Countach pictured on the move ahead of it arriving with customers
25 Jan 2022