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Road Tax Costs for Your Used Car

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 6 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Insuring Insurance Cost Used Car Price

A necessary expense of owning a car is road tax, although the cost can vary considerably and depends on the type of vehicle. Anyone who keeps a car on a public road must display a valid tax disc on it. The registered keeper is responsible for taxing the car or making a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) if it is to be kept off the road.

There is no point trying to dodge the tax. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) carries out a computer check each month, as well as roadside checks, to identify vehicles without a valid tax disc. The registered keepers of these vehicles could face an automatic penalty of £80 as well as a minimum fine of £1000, and the cars can be clamped, impounded or even crushed.

The tax disc cannot be transferred between vehicles and should be displayed on the passenger side of the windscreen. To get one for a newly-acquired used car, an owner will need:

  • A completed V11 reminder or V10 vehicle licence application.
  • The registration certificate or, if using a V10, a new keeper supplement.
  • Those without a registration certificate need a completed V62 application for a vehicle registration certificate V5C.
  • An MOT test certificate if the car is more than three years old.
  • Insurance that provides cover against third party claims for death, injury and damage caused by using the car.
  • Payment for the road tax, unless the car is one of the rare few exempt from paying it.

Calculating the price of the road tax is quite straightforward if the car was registered before 1st March 2001. In this instance, the tax is based on engine size. A car with an engine not over 1549cc will cost £120 to tax for a year and £66 for six months. A car with an engine over 1549cc will cost £185 to tax for a year and £101.75 for six months.

It is less straightforward for cars registered on or after 1st March 2001, with the road tax calculated according to fuel type and carbon dioxide emissions. These emissions are measured in grams per kilometre (g/km) driven and are shown on the registration certificate. For petrol and diesel cars, the road tax falls into the following bands:

  • A – up to 100g/km, no charge.
  • B – 101-120g/km, £35 per year.
  • C – 121-150g/km, £120 per year, £66 for six months.
  • D – 151-165g/km, £145 per year, £79.75 for six months.
  • E – 166-185g/km, £170 per year, £93.50 for six months.
  • F – over 185g/km, £210 per year, £115.50 for six months.
  • G – over 225g/km (for cars registered on or after 23rd March 2006), £400 per year, £220 for six months.

The prices differ for alternative fuel cars, but are still based on emissions measured in grams per kilometre driven. Annual fees are: up to 100g/km, free; 101-120g/km, £15; 121-150g/km, £100; 151-165g/km, £125; 166-185g/km, £150; over 185g/km, £195; over 225g/km for cars registered on or after 23rd March 2006, £385.

Because the cost of road tax can vary so considerably, it is an expense worth taking into account alongside other running costs such as insuring and repairing a used car. For example, a diesel Fiat Panda 1.3 16v MultiJet can be taxed for 12 months for just £35, but a petrol BMW X3 Series E83 X3 3.0si costs £400 a year.

When comparing like for like, diesel engines tend to have lower emissions than petrol ones and so cost less to tax. For example, a diesel Ford Mondeo 2.0 Duratorq TDCi estate can be taxed for 12 months for £145, but a petrol Ford Mondeo 2.0 Duratec estate is £210 per year.

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