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How to cancel road tax and get a refund

Road tax, officially known as Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), is an annual tax that UK motorists have to pay to drive on public roads. Like other taxes, the money collected goes into the Government’s central pot, with some being used to fund improvements to national and local transport infrastructure, as well as other traffic projects.

The rate of road tax you pay depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of vehicle you drive, its age and value. However, it’s also worth remembering that the Government adjusts its road tax rates every year in line with inflation.

Driving without tax is illegal and if caught doing so, you could be hit with a hefty fine.

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Reasons for cancelling road tax

Road tax can be a major expense. However, in some circumstances, you might be entitled to cancel your road tax – and even receive a refund for any outstanding cover.

According to the DVLA, there are only seven valid reasons for cancelling your road tax:

  • You no longer own your car. For example, if you’ve sold your Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) vehicle without or with road tax, sold your car to webuyanycar, or transferred it to someone else, you are no longer required to pay road tax for it.

  • You don’t use your car on the road. For example, if you have a classic car that you never drive on the roads, you don’t need to pay road tax for it. However, you’ll need to make a SORN for the vehicle first.

  • Your car has been written off. If your car has been written off and scrapped by your insurer, you must notify the DVLA.

  • You’ve had your vehicle scrapped at an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF).

  • Your vehicle has been registered as exempt from road tax. Fully electric cars and many historic vehicles over 40 years old are eligible for road tax exemption. If you are a disabled driver, you can also claim for disability exemption when applying for vehicle tax. However, you can only claim exemption for one vehicle at a time.

  • You’ve exported the car abroad. If you’re no longer driving your car on UK roads, you don’t need to pay UK road tax.

  • Your car has been stolen. You’ll need to notify the police, your insurance company and the DVLA.

Please note: If none of the above scenarios apply to you, you can’t cancel your road tax and get a refund.

How to cancel road tax

To cancel your road tax, you’ll need:

  • Your vehicle logbook (V5C).

  • The 11-digit number in the yellow ‘Sell, transfer or part-exchange your vehicle to the motor trade’ section in the logbook and/or the 16-digit number on your V11 reminder form.

  • Your registration number, name and address.

The quickest and easiest way to cancel is by using DVLA’s online service. Select the scenario that applies to you, then follow the on-screen prompts.

Depending on which option you choose, you may find that different processes apply:

  • If you are selling or transferring ownership, you need to provide the DVLA with the new owner’s details and send in some paperwork.

  • If you’re taking your car off the road, you’ll have to declare a SORN.

  • If you’re scrapping your car, you’ll also need to inform the DVLA.

  • If your car has been stolen, you’ll need to report the theft to the police, who will notify the DVLA themselves. You’ll also need to contact your insurance company and notify the DVLA if they pay out for your claim.

  • You can also cancel your road tax by post or by phone. We’ve included the relevant contact details in the ‘Contacting DVLA’ section at the end of this article.

Refund eligibility and process

The DVLA will work out how much your refund will be from the date you give them all the information they need. They’ll automatically cancel your road tax and process your refund, so you won’t have to do anything else.

As road tax is paid annually in advance, any refund you get will be for the remaining full months you’ve paid for that year. Therefore, if you apply for a refund at six and a half months, you’ll get five months back (not five and a half).

You won’t get a refund on charges such as credit card fees, or Direct Debit surcharges. If you paid by Direct Debit, the DVLA will cancel your regular payments.

If you’ve applied for a refund on your car’s first tax payment, the DVLA will look at the rates for the first and second payments and refund whichever is lower.

Refund payment method

The DVLA typically pays refunds by cheque. Your car tax refund will be sent to the name and address referenced in the V5C logbook. You should receive your refund within 6-8 weeks. If you haven’t received it by then, notify the DVLA using the details in the ‘Contacting DVLA’ section below.

If the name on the cheque is wrong, send it back with the correct name to the following address:

Refund Section, DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AL.

Other important considerations

If any of the seven reasons for cancelling road tax apply to you, it’s your responsibility to tell the DVLA straight away. You could be liable for a fine if you don’t. You also won’t be able to cancel your road tax and get a refund.

If you delay on this, you could end up making unnecessary payments or not getting the full amount you’re entitled to.

Acting quickly shouldn’t mean being hasty, though. Make sure all websites and messages are genuine before sharing any personal details to protect yourself from fraud.

Contacting the DVLA

The fastest and easiest way to cancel your road tax and get a refund is through the DVLA’s online service, but you can also contact them by post or phone.

By post

Vehicle Customer Services, DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR.

By phone

DVLA Vehicle Enquiries: 0300 790 6802

Not sure whether your car is taxed? Don’t leave anything to chance! Enter your reg number into our free car tax check tool to find out now.