How to cancel your car tax

How to cancel car tax

bi-annually When it comes to car tax, things can get confusing very quickly. Even the name brings some confusion. Car tax is also known as road tax, road fund license and vehicle excise duty. Whatever you call it, cancelling it will be a whole lot easier once you’ve taken a few moments to read this handy guide.

What is car tax and why do you need it?

Officially called Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), car tax was introduced way back in 1937. The older system of road tax had been in use since the 17th century when people were still travelling on horseback.

Car tax is a levy imposed on vehicle owners, which varies depending on the size of the vehicle and the amount of emissions it generates. All money collected by car tax goes into one big pot, and the money is used for creating new and improving older infrastructure, creating better pubic services and reducing congestion caused by traffic.

To legally drive on UK roads, motorists have to pay car tax. The penalty for not paying is an automatic £80 fine issued by the DVLA. You will then have to pay what you owe on top of that. If you’re unfortunate enough to be caught by police driving on UK roads in an untaxed vehicle then you could be fined up to £1,000 and your vehicle could be seized.

Why cancel car tax?

There are a number of reasons why you might want to cancel your car tax. You may have just sold or scrapped your car. It may have been written off or you may just wish to take it off the road for a while. Whatever the reason for cancelling, you need to officially inform the DVLA that your vehicle falls into one of the following categories:

  • You have sold your vehicle
  • Your have taken your vehicle off the road
  • Your insurer has written off your vehicle
  • You have scrapped your vehicle
  • Your vehicle has been stolen
  • Your vehicle is tax exempt

When providing the DVLA with this information you will also need to give them your name and address, along with information from the V5C which must be registered to the same name and address. This confirms that you’re the registered keeper of the vehicle.

How to cancel car tax?

Follow these steps and you won’t go far wrong if you’re trying to cancel your car tax:

  1. Check when your tax runs out using this free check
  2. Click on the relevant link on this page to inform the DVLA why you are cancelling your car tax
  3. Complete the relevant information
  4. Wait until you have received a confirmation from the DVLA before cancelling any Direct Debit. The DVLA say that this can take up to six weeks but is often much quicker.
Car tax disc
Things have come a long way since the abolishment of the tax disc

Will I get a refund if I cancel my tax?

If you usually pay your car tax by Direct Debit, then the DVLA will cancel the Direct Debit when you complete the above process. If you pay monthly, then it’s unlikely you’ll receive any refund but future payments will cease.

For those who pay bi-annually, the date that you complete step 3 above will be the effective cancellation date. The DVLA will send you a cheque refunding you for any full months that you have already paid. The same applies if you pay your car tax in full each year.

The cheque will be payable to the name on your V5C, and will be sent to the address on your V5C too. At the time of writing, the DVLA do not issue car tax refunds to your bank account.

I’ve cancelled my car tax but haven’t received a refund

If you cancel your car tax as above and do not receive a refund within six weeks then the first thing you should do is check that you’re due a refund. You may have received a confirmation saying your tax was cancelled but have not received a cheque. This might mean that you were not due a refund.

If you believe you are entitled to a refund but haven’t received a check, or a confirmation letter then you’ll need to contact the DVLA. This can now be done with the DVLA email service:

  • Select ‘Vehicle Enquiries’
  • Select ‘Tax including direct debit enquiries, declaring a vehicle off the road (SORN) or refunds of tax’
  • Select ‘Refunds of tax’
  • Select ‘I’ve been waiting for my refund for over 6 weeks’
  • Fill in the requested contact information
  • Provide the DVLA with you address
  • Fill in the form with the vehicle information
  • Provide your date of birth
  • Enter any additional details
  • You will be given the opportunity to upload and attachment if you wish

If you prefer to call the DVLA you can do so on 0300 790 680, or you can write to them at the following address:

DVLA Swansea

SA99 1AR

You’ll need a valid V5C logbook registered in your name and to your current address to cancel your car tax. If you have lost your logbook you’ll need to apply for a new one. Car tax can be a bit tricky if you’re not used to dealing with it. We hope this handy guide made cancelling that little bit easier. The process itself is simple once you know how to navigate the DVLA website.

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Will I get a refund if I cancel my car tax?

The DVLA will refund you for any full months remaining on your car tax. If you have less than one full month left then you will not be entitled to a refund.

I pay my car tax by direct debit can I still get a refund?

If you pay by monthly Direct Debit then it's unlikely you'll get a refund. This is because the DVLA only refund you for full months, and you are only paying for the current month each time. If you pay bi-anually by Direct Debit then you will get a refund for any full months that you haven't used.

Do the DVLA need my bank details to send me a car tax refund?

No. Currently the DVLA still issue cheques for car tax refunds. Make sure your logbook is up-to-date as they will use the name and address from the V5C to issue the cheque.

How we reviewed this article:

Our experts continually monitor motor industry news & research, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

  • 4th August 2023
    Current Article - By Gary McKrill
  • 30th December 2023
    Checked & Reviewed - By John Mikler
  • 4th August 2023
    Copy Edited - By Gary McKrill
  • 31st January 2024
    Reviewed - By Gary McKrill

Car Monkey has strict sourcing guidelines and we try to rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and motoring associations where possible.

  1. https://www.gov.uk/check-vehicle-tax
  2. https://contact.dvla.gov.uk/email
  3. https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-log-book

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