Why can’t I tax my car online?

Last updated March 17, 2023

Taxing your car online via the gov.uk website is usually a straightforward process. However, in rare circumstances, you may find that you cannot tax your car for one reason or another.

Of course, car tax is a legal requirement if you intend to drive your vehicle – or even park it on a public highway. Therefore, discovering you cannot tax your vehicle online puts you in a difficult situation.

So, what are your options for taxing your car when the usual online channel is off the table?

In this guide, we will explain the various information and documentation you’ll need to tax your car. We’ll also cover some of the barriers you may encounter – and how to overcome them.

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Why am I unable to tax my car online?

You will not be able to tax your car online with your V5C/2 (also known as the ‘new keeper slip’) if the car has not yet been registered in your name. If you have not sent this form back to the DVLA, provided incorrect information, or sent it to the wrong address, you will not be able to tax your car online.

Here are some other reasons why you may be unable to tax your car online:

  • You do not have the 12-digit reference number from the V5C logbook, ‘new keeper slip’ or V11 reminder (or the reference number you do have is recognised as ‘invalid’ by the DVLA’s software).
  • Your vehicle is not currently insured.
  • Your car’s MOT is due for renewal within the next month. Use our free MOT check tool to check your MOT expiry date.
  • You are attempting to pay for your car tax more than 2 months ahead of its renewal date. You can check your vehicle’s tax status and when your next payment is due with our free car tax check tool (link: https://www.webuyanycar.com/free-car-check/car-tax-check/).

The DVLA’s system may not recognise your V5C/2 reference number due to a renewal in the process, especially if you have recently purchased a new vehicle. When this happens, you may need to request a replacement V5C logbook to wait until you receive your new V5C/2 number to try again.

If you think this delay may cause you to miss a car tax payment deadline, you should contact the DVLA to notify them and request advice on this matter.

What are the other ways to tax your car?

If you find that you cannot tax your car online, you may have more success applying to tax your vehicle by post or by visiting your local Post Office branch.

What documents do I need to tax my car?

You should be able to tax your car by using a reference number from any of the following documents:

  • A recent V11 reminder.
  • Your vehicle’s V5C logbook (this must be in your name).
  • The green ‘new keeper slip’ from your vehicle’s V5C logbook (if you have just bought the vehicle).

If you do not have any of these documents, you will need to obtain a replacement V5C logbook from the DVLA before you can tax your vehicle. The DVLA charges a fee of £25 for this service.

If you have bought a car without a V5C logbook – or received an outdated copy of the logbook with the vehicle, you will also need to request a replacement before you can tax the vehicle.

You can find a more detailed explanation of the process to follow in our guide ‘How to replace missing car documents’.

Car tax issues and how to resolve them



If your vehicle does not currently have a valid MOT certificate, you will not be able to tax it. Some members of online automotive forums have also reported difficulties taxing their vehicles online when their MOT is still valid, but about to expire.

You can check whether your vehicle has a valid MOT by entering its registration into our free MOT check tool.

The solution: Get MOT certified

Book an MOT test at an approved garage in your local area. Driving your car to a pre-booked MOT test is one of the few exceptions to the UK road tax legislation. Once your vehicle (hopefully) passes its MOT test, you must tax it before driving it again.

Want to make sure your car is up to scratch ahead of its MOT? Our comprehensive MOT checklist includes all the official test criteria to help you prepare.


Previous owner was exempt from vehicle tax

Another online forum member stated that they had purchased a car from a disabled driver that they believed was exempt from vehicle tax – and reported being unable to tax the vehicle through the gov.uk website.

The solution: Changing your vehicle’s tax class

In some circumstances (such as that highlighted above), drivers may need to change a vehicle’s tax class. This is often necessary for changing a car into or out of the disabled class.

You cannot change your vehicle’s tax class online, but you may apply to do so by post, or at your local Post Office, depending on your reason for doing so. Please refer to the gov.uk website for a more detailed explanation.


Invalid reference number

If you are unable to tax your vehicle online using the reference number in your V5C logbook, this can indicate that you are holding an outdated copy of the logbook.

The solution: Order a replacement V5C logbook

Order a replacement V5C logbook from the DVLA. There is a charge of £25 for this service. Once the replacement logbook arrives, you should be able to use the new reference number to tax your vehicle.

What if I bought a car without a V5C logbook?

If you have recently bought a car without a V5C logbook, you may be wondering how to tax it. After all, some of the usual methods are not available to you:

You cannot use a V11 tax reminder form, as to receive one, the vehicle would need to be registered in your name. You cannot use a V62 application form to request a replacement V5C logbook in the usual way, as again, the vehicle would need to be registered in your name.

Unfortunately, you cannot use the green new keeper’s slip either, as this comes with the logbook.

The solution: Visit your local Post Office

Luckily, there is a workaround for this specific problem. First, visit your local Post Office branch and take the following documents with you:

  • Your insurance certificate.
  • The vehicle’s MOT certificate (if applicable).
  • A completed V62 form – and a cheque for £25 (you can also pay by debit card).
  • A copy of your driving licence (or other identification).

The Post Office clerk may tax your car for you there and then if you can provide them with the previous owner’s name and address. Presenting the receipt or invoice for the vehicle you want to tax may also be helpful.

However, it is at the clerk’s discretion whether they allow you to tax your vehicle in this way. Therefore, if you are at unsuccessful at one branch, you should try again elsewhere.


Full Guide: How to tax a car without a V5C logbook.


If you cannot tax your car at a Post Office, there is another option at your disposal. You should register the vehicle as SORN with the DVLA – and then request a new V5C logbook by filling out a V62 form.

You can find a full explanation of the process to follow for requesting a replacement V5C logbook in our guide, ‘What is a V62 form?’

Please bear in mind that you will not be able to drive your car on the road until your new logbook arrives. Although the DVLA states that a V5C logbook can take up to 4 weeks to arrive, online automotive experts who have frequently used this service have reported that replacement logbooks typically arrive within 2 weeks.

Once your new logbook arrives, you should be able to tax your car online, by post – or at your local Post Office branch. We would recommend taxing your car online if you can, as this is the fastest and simplest method.