Car tax refunds: what you need to know

Last updated November 10, 2021

Car tax provides the government funds to maintain and improve our vast network of roads and motorways and pay contributions based on your car’s carbon emissions. Therefore, ensuring your car is taxed correctly is essential.

However, as car tax is usually paid in blocks of 6 or 12 months, it’s not uncommon for car owners to pay months in advance for coverage they don’t need. If this is a situation you’re currently in, you’ll be pleased to know that you can get a refund when you cancel your car tax, getting money back for any unused months.

In this guide, you’ll find out more about the DVLA car tax refund, as well as uncovering how you can follow the simple steps required to process your refund.

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What is a car tax refund?

A car tax refund (or road tax refund) is a way of reclaiming some of the money you have spent on a 6- or 12-month period of car tax coverage.

Refunds are commonly claimed when the taxed car has been sold or transferred to another owner, taken off the road and registered with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN), written off, scrapped or in rarer cases, stolen, exported or even registered as exempt from vehicle tax.

Refunds can only be given for full months of remaining tax coverage; for example, if you had paid for 6 month’s car tax coverage and are 2.5 months into that period, you may only claim a refund for the 3 whole months of remaining coverage.

How to tax your vehicle at the post office

Take the following documents to your nearest post office branch:

  • Your V5C logbook or your V5C/2 if you’ve just bought the vehicle
  • Your V11
  • Your V85/1 (if it’s an HGV)

If you don’t have any of these, you'll need to apply for a new V5C. Do this by completing a V62 form, which you can pick up at your Post Office. The cost is £25.

How to claim back road tax when you sell your car

When you sell your scrap or used car, you can claim back any outstanding road tax by notifying the DVLA.

Your tax refund will be automatically triggered when either:

  • you notify DVLA of the sale using the yellow section 9 of your registration certificate (V5C/3); or
  • the recycling centre issues your Certificate of Destruction

The DVLA will post a cheque to the registered keeper shown on the registration certificate (V5C) within six weeks. If you don’t receive a refund within this timeframe, contact the DVLA.

How to contact the DVLA

To cancel your road tax and claim a refund, you’ll need to contact the DVLA and inform them of your car’s change of status (providing it falls in-line with the eligible criteria listed above, under ‘how to refund car tax’). You can contact the DVLA by phone, email service or post, all of which are listed below. DVLA car tax refunds take up to 6 weeks to process, so be sure to allow adequate time before contacting them again regarding the application.

You can contact the DVLA by phone, email service or post, all of which are listed below. DVLA car tax refunds take up to 6 weeks to process, so be sure to allow adequate time before contacting them again regarding the application.

  • Phone

    You can call the DVLA regarding vehicle tax enquiries on 0300 790 6802.

    Phone line opening hours are listed as:

    Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm

    Saturday, 8am to 2pm

    There are various call charges listed on their website, so be sure to take a look before making a call.

  • Email

    The DVLA email enquiry service isn’t as straight-forward as a simple email address, however their website’s enquiry process is thankfully still fairly simple.

    Click here to access their enquiries page, and then simply select the options related to your car tax refund; that will take you to the relevant contact page, where you can send your email enquiry.

  • Post

    You can mail your enquiry to the DVLA at the following postal address; be sure to include details of your car’s change of status and your request for a car tax refund.

    • Vehicle Customer Services
    • DVLA
    • Swansea
    • SA99 1AR

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