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Find out how much it costs to tax your car

The CO2 band your car falls into affects car tax

All vehicles registered in the UK and used on public roads must be taxed.

  • If you’re not using your car, you have to let the DVLA know it’s being kept off-road with a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification), or continue to tax it.
  • The cost of car tax depends on how old your vehicle is and its engine size or official CO2 emissions. From April 2017 it’ll depend on the car’s list price when new, too.
  • The CO2 figure for your car is on the V5c registration document, as it’s measured in official tests before the car’s available to buy.
  • The DVLA stopped issuing paper tax discs from 1 October 2014.

    Car tax
Cars registered before 1 March 2001

Car tax is based on engine size, as official CO2 data wasn’t generally available pre-2001. So the rates are::

  • 1549cc engine or smaller: £145 a year (2016/17 rate)
  • Bigger than 1549cc engine: £235 a year (2016/17 rate)

Registered between 1 March 2001 and 31 March 2017

There's a series of car tax bands based on official CO2 emissions that your car will fall into.

There’s a different rate for brand new cars for the first year – this ‘showroom tax’ was introduced in 2010. The cost then changes to the standard rate from the second year.


 VED Band


Emissions (g/km)


First year rate²


standard rate¹


First year rate²


Standard rate¹

 A  up to 100  0  0  0  0
 B  101-110  0  £20  0  £20
 C  111-120  0  £30  0  £30
 D  121-130  0  £110  0  £110
 E  131-140  £130  £130  £130  £130
 F  141-150  £145  £145  £145  £145
 G  151-165  £180  £180  £185  £185
 H  166-175  £295  £205  £300  £210
 I  176-185  £350  £225  £355  £230
 J  186-200  £490  £265  £500  £270
   201-225  £640  £290  £650  £295
 L  226-255  £870  £490  £885  £500
 M  over 255  £1100  £505  £1120  £515

¹12-month non-direct debit rate and single 12-month payment direct debit rate. Alternative fuel car discounts are: 2015/16 £10 all cars, 2016/17 £10 all cars
²Includes cars releasing over 225g/km and first registered between 1 March 2001 and 23 March 2006.

Registered after 1 April 2017

From 1 April 2017, there will be big changes to how cars are taxed. The main points are:

  • The first year rate will be based on official CO2 figures.
  • A flat standard rate of £140 will apply to all cars except those releasing 0 grams CO2/km for which the standard rate will be £0.
  • An extra charge of £310 a year will apply to cars with a list price over £40,000 in the first 5 ‘standard rate years’.
  • Cars first registered before 1 April 2017 will continue to pay car tax under the old system.

 CO2 emissions  First year rate  Standard rate
 0  £0  £0
 1-50  £10 £140 
 51-75  £25  £140
 76-90  £100  £140
 91-100  £120  £140
 101-110  £140  £140
 110-130  £160  £140
 131-150  £200  £140
 151-170  £500  £140
 171-190  £800  £140
 191-225  £1200  £140
 226-255  £1700  £140
 256+  £2000  £140

Historic vehicle exemption

Cars built more than 40 years ago will be automatically exempt from paying car tax, from 1 January 2017. At the moment, it’s up to registered keepers to apply for car tax based on historic class. Go to DVLA leaflet INF34 for more details.

Car tax or road tax?

Cars started being taxed in 1920 as local councils had to start registering all vehicles. It was called Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and was based on horsepower. Tax discs were later introduced in 1921.

This new tax was initially used for building and maintaining roads. As it was paid directly into the ‘road fund’ it was known as the Road Fund Licence or road tax.

In 1936, road works were being paid for by government grants. As the road fund wasn’t needed any more, it was abolished in 1955. So while it might have been right to refer to it as road tax or the Road Fund Licence before 1936, this hasn’t been the case since.

End of the road for the tax disc

One of the biggest changes in DVLA history was the abolition of the 93-year-old tax disc, on 1 October 2014. Also, the DVLA now issues automatic refunds on car tax – for any full months left – to the registered keeper when a vehicle is sold, scrapped or a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) is made. In the past, you could transfer car tax from your old vehicle to the new one.

Check the tax status of any vehicle – all you need is the vehicle’s make and registration number.

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