Skip to main content Accessibility Statement
car tax disc

Car tax - Timing it right, reminders and biscuits. Your reaction to the end of the paper tax disc

You no longer need to display a tax disc in your car and you can’t pass on existing tax when you sell your motor. Just two of the changes to car taxation that you had your say about.

The topic of car tax and tax discs has proven popular with our readers, and our article on the recent changes received hundreds of comments.

Some of your responses were really useful so we’ve rounded up the best comments that give you tips and tricks to stay on top of car tax – or VED (Vehicle Excise Duty).

How to avoid paying two months of car tax when you buy a new car

One of the most controversial changes surrounded “double taxing”.

Sellers and buyers can no longer transfer existing tax when a car is sold. Instead the buyer must tax the car themselves and the old owner can apply for a refund.

However, new tax is now backdated (no space) to the beginning of the month and refunds are from the start of the next. This means if you sell and then buy a car early in the month, you will be paying tax twice in that period.

A few readers suggested waiting until the end of the month and then applying for a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification). Any vehicle that has a SORN doesn’t have to pay tax, as long as it meets the requirements and is kept in a garage, drive or private land. The buyer then pays for the car and gets it taxed at the start of the new month.

It worked for George, who shared this story of transferring a car to his son:

“I SORN'd the car last Friday 29th May on-line & received e-mail confirmation of the SORN instantly.

Today 1st June my son re-taxed the car online using new keeper slip reference numbers. No problems at all.

He paid the new tax from today, I get a full refund on my remaining 7 months tax June-Dec. The DVLA did not get that double V.E.D for May. Ha Ha!!”

Useful advice from George, though this could be tricky if you’re selling the car and people want to test drive it.

How to remember to pay

The end of the tax disc was a disappointment to many, not least those worried they’d now forget to renew.

Joe had this solution:

“… if some people need reminding get some stickers that are used on envelopes parcels etc and write the dates on that you need… Simply stick it at the top right of the windscreen… Car dealers have been putting similar stickers in the top right of screen for many years.”

Of course you can also pay by Direct Debit, so it’ll automatically keep your car taxed, though don’t forget to let the DVLA know of any changes.

How to tell if a car is taxed or not

Some readers were concerned they wouldn’t know if a car was taxed.

Rabbit responded:

“You can go on to see if a car is taxed. If it’s not you can report it on line to DVLA.”

Here’s the link to check if a car is taxed.

What to do with the tax disc holder

Finally, a few people were at a loss what to do with their old tax disc holder. We liked these ideas from Honour:

“So now that many of us have an empty little pocket attached to our windscreen "on the left side of the vehicle forward of the driver", as described in an early Road Traffic Act, what are we going to do with it?

We could fill it with a photograph of a favourite pet or, use it to make a political statement or ask for donations to a charity close to our heart or, my best idea, would be to keep a digestive biscuit there for emergency use. Beware of using a chocolate digestive. That could be very messy.”

Do you have any more tips to cut the cost of motoring? Let us know below.

What do you think?

We really want you to share your views, but please remember to be nice ☺
All fields are required. Check out our full commenting guidelines

By clicking on 'Post Comment', you're agreeing to our Commenting Policy

  • Carole-Anne Cantrell / 9 July 2018

    Is it true if you have a car with disabled tax on you are not allowed to us that car without them being in it. I know that you could drive it if you took the blue badges out if the disabled person was not in. But someone as told my husband you are not allowed to use it at all with out the disabled person is that true.

  • KULLY / 5 June 2018

    I think the road tax should start when you apply for it not 1st of month ?
    the law should change ?

  • John Baldwin / 28 March 2018

    I feel that with all of the online services avaliable now, one should be able to tax the car from the DATE not BY THE MONTH, it is just another stealth tax by this ever more corrupt government making us pay more for less.
    Road tax for example just 6% if we are lucky is spent on the roads, yet they find ever increasing ways of ripping us off for being on the road.

  • John Baldwin / 28 March 2018

    I feel that with all of the online services avaliable noe, one should be able to tax the car from the DATE not BY THE MONTH, it is just another stealth tax by this ever more corrupt government making us pay more for less.
    Road tax for example just 6% if we are lucky is spent on the roads, yet they find ever increasing ways of ripping us off for being on the road.

  • Andy / 23 February 2018

    Just a reminder about buying a car from someone who is DISABLED and is tax EXEMPT. You will NOT be able to tax the vehicle online UNTIL you receive the V5 document of which can take up to 5 weeks. However....the disabled 'TAX-EXEMPT' will STILL be valid until you receive the V5 from the DVLA and it is in your name. **note** Even if you go through the painstaking process of finding your nearest DVLA office and explain the situation, and fill out the relevant form, the fact remains that even up until you receive the V5 - the vehicle will still be tax exempt until the NEW vehicle owner goes through the system. As long as you are insured and have MOT then you should be fine until the new V5 arrives. It's unlikely you will be pulled over by the police unless you are caught violating the rules of the road...but if you do get pulled over randomly, then it's not your fault that you have to wait for the V5 changeover. Always keep a sale of receipt and your green small V5 slip as proof. Just thought I would mention this as many who buy a disabled class vehicle are oblivious as what to do.

  • carl willett / 26 December 2017

    I am buying a car on 30th December so will need tax from this date, does the new system allow me to start from 30th or would they expect me to lose a month, should I wait until 1st January to collect my car?

  • Mark / 16 November 2017

    I sold my car back to the Toyota garage and purchased a new one which was the 20th Aug 17. We filled out the stub on the VC5 Form and posted it off on the 21st Aug. The road tax on my old vehicle was due on the 31st Aug. I go a reminder through and subsequently advised them I was no longer the keeper of the vehicle, they sent an acknowledgement of this letter to me. I then received one week later a fine for not taxing the vehicle that i did not even have. Is this right or can i appeal?

  • John / 28 September 2017

    I got a another car in 20 09 17 and I just got tax reminder but I don't want to tax it until the 1 10 17 were do I stand

  • Terry / 23 August 2017

    No mention of the tax paid till the end of the month nor the beginning of the sorn. One would expect the vehicle to be usable until the tax is no longer paid for.

  • Ben / 6 August 2017

    I have just bought a car for my daughter, we have the log book but I have noticed you can change ownership online? I have just started a direct debit up to pay the tax on it each month, my question is... by taxing the car in the new keeper section does that automatically transfer ownership or do I still need to send off the V5C?

  • Zac / 1 August 2017

    I used the DVLA online chat help service to ask if I sold my car today (1st of the month), would I have to pay tax for the whole month. She said no, only the new owner would be responsible. So transfer your ownership on the 1st of the month and then apply for a refund for any tax overpaid!

  • Matt / 31 July 2017

    You cannot declare SORN and then tax it the next day online. Once you declare SORN you are barred from further transactions online for a period of 5 days. According to the .gov web site you can tax your vehicle at the post office during this time though.

  • Tom / 21 July 2017

    There is another effect whereby you 'lose' a month's tax on a vehicle if you tax it at the end of the month (it will need to be renewed at the end of the preceding month the following year.
    The whole thing about working in round months is just a money-making nonsense, carrying over a concept from paper discs into a computerised system where it is irrelevant. There is NO REASON at all why any given vehicle's expiry & renewal could not happen on any day of the month, with no backdating or wasted outlay! Angry!!

  • Caroline / 21 June 2017

    I also firmly disagree with the 'double taxing' whammy and the DVLA should be hauled over the coals for this - apparently TV licensing also do this.

    I am transferring my car to my son at 23.59 on the 30th June 2017 and he will be the new owner at 00.01 on the 1st July 2017. The DVLA cannot argue with that, surely?

  • Pauntley ginder / 18 June 2017

    I have to say that this double tax is criminal, we had just set up the payments for the now sold car, so will pay a full month on the sold car and now have re done the tax for the new car so will be paying tax a second time for the same month...Why is this system set up in this way, computing systems are clever enough to enable them to put a stop to this.
    In the end the government is creating a situation where if as your story indicates, buying a car you then then keeping it off the roads, even tho you have paid road tax for at least one car and then sit around for days,or weeks until you take it off soon...this is so stupid it is ridiculous and creates frustration, dissatisfaction and potentially law breaking, I guess...
    Surely once a person has paid the tax for any given month, the Gove should restart the tax for the new car the proceeding month....adjusting where necessary!!!
    Pretty fed up with the government especially the dumb tories who are really looking more and more out of date, stupid and even HATED by the many not the few...
    All my love


  • Claire Taylor / 30 May 2017

    I taxed my car on 29 June 2016 to start 1 July 2016. Dvla have now said my tax runs out 31 May 2017 to start 1 June 2017. That means I have lost a month. How can this be avoided.

  • Helen Stacey / 14 May 2017

    i bought a car today (14-5-17) and want to backdate the tax, but can't find how to backdate it, so i can use the car to get to work tomorrow. how do i do this online?

  • David Bowley / 22 April 2017

    Today's date 22nd April 2017
    Can I choose the date I wish my renewed Tax to start.
    E.G My vehicle currently under a SORN,
    I want to renew the vehicle Tax to commence on 27th April, at local Post Office.
    On what date before 27th April can I do this. Trying to do it online and it would have been back dated to 1st April !!

  • david francis john morgan / 3 April 2017

    I am buying a new car end of April. I asked the dealer to tax it May the 1st he said the day you tax it is the day it runs out the following year is this true

  • Gary Rutherford / 30 March 2017

    Got 6 mnth tax on 30th march due 1St September been robbed a mnth

  • Peter Wilcox / 25 March 2017

    I have to say I am not impressed by any 'tip' I just read. Either you wait with your shiny new car until the last two days of the month, or pay for a month you didn't use.
    Either way it causes resentment from honest people. Feeling penalised for paying a tax is a mistake they should put right.

  • Graham Bowells / 7 March 2017

    I asked the dvla many years ago why I couldn't buy 365 days of tax. They couldn't give me a answer then and said that they would get back to me. Still waiting.

  • David Helm / 21 February 2017

    I think that road tax should be either added to fuel,in the theory thatif you use more fuel,you use the road more ,less fuel ,less.
    Or taxed on a day rate ,if you case to use a vehicle due to ownership change ,you inform DVLA by whatever means ,then the new owner/trader then becomes liable fom that day if they intend to use the vehicle on public roads.
    By either method the DVLA are not receiving 2 lots of revenue on the same monthfor the same vehicle .
    Ona different point the Government encouraged us the public to buy modern vehicles with lower emmisions giving low road tax.
    In the manner the government often does,(move the Goalposts) ,once again in a recent budget the chancellor has changed this ,And from 1st april 2017 car registered which previously attracted a lower rate will be charged more in the first year and even more thereon.
    Which Lends fuel to my previous point add road tax to fuel ,
    Older less efficient cars burn more fuel and pollute more ,and modern more efficient cars less ,but the more you use fuel and the roads creating more Co2 the more yoeu pay .
    I dont believe its fair that the Elderly person who uses his car very little ,should pay as much as the company Rep who does 70,000 + a year .

  • wILL / 26 January 2017

    I am buying a new car at the end of March. The snag is my existing car is only taxed till the end of February. Is there any way of not having to pay for one moths road tax on my existing car?
    I know I could SORN it but then I won't be able to drive for a month.

  • MRS BRENDA HATTON / 10 December 2016

    TAX DISC According to the Agency's records this vehicle is in the nil tax class and although you may be exempt from payment of duty, a valid licence must be displayed. failure to have an exempt licence is an offence contrary to section 43A. can you tell me where to get a exempt licence for DEC 2015 to 2016. Pensioner. Thanking you

  • mr Peter n Anderson / 30 November 2016

    Absolutely outrageous, you buy a car on the 15th and pay from the 1st , typical of this country pay for everything twice, and the bloody government keeps saying were a country of low taxation, how about a referendum on car tax wonder if then they would accept no tax means no tax, better still make all those brexit supporters pay extra for all the money everyone is definitely going to lose

  • Mark Stranks / 27 November 2016

    Have I got this right ?
    I am taking ownership of a car on 03/12/2016. I have the V5C/2 document and want have the car taxed (starting 01/12/2016).
    When I try to do this on-line I can't find an option for doing so. It seems that the new tax will be valid from 01/11/2016.
    Am I missing something, or are the DVLA ripping me off ?

  • Robert Tinsley / 10 November 2016

    if you date the transfer is the last day of month the d.v.l.a receive after that date you loose that month so the only way out is lie about the date of transfer day light robery

  • Beverly cooke -Morgan / 9 November 2016

    I cannot find my tax reminder, how do I still tax my car.
    Where do I get help

  • Tracey Hinton / 5 November 2016

    I was told I had to renew my road tax by 01/10/16 and I paid the 6 months which was £126.50, then I receive a reminder that my road tax is due on 30/11/16 so Ian out of pocket for almost two months, surely this is unfair and does anyone know how to and if i can claim this back, 😡

  • Steve / 27 October 2016

    How can the government justify double paying for taxing a car. I just bought car from father in law and i he has lost out his rebate for october (so has paid government that money for that month) and i have just been asked to pay the same mo th again plus 11 months. This is surely ethically wrong and fraud. Why does a vehicle need to padouble for being on a road. Its not as if it was used twice as much or anything. Please can someone justify it...

  • Graham / 6 October 2016

    I see other 'victims ' are also loosing out for a month on road tax !
    Why and how are they allowed to do this ?
    And when you try ringing it's useless , long waiting for a person to speak to , and they are on a 0300 number which means you are paying 12p per minute charge ,
    Can this goverment dept be taken to task on all this diabolical situation !!

  • Graham / 6 October 2016

    My current road tax was paid up to 26/11/ 2016 , why have I had a reminder from DVLA saying
    it is due for 30/10/ 2016 ?
    Can you advise please .

  • roman / 5 October 2016

    i taxed my car 31.5.16 , get reminder saying runs out 31.10.16, which is not fair get 5 months instead of 6

  • Harry loten / 25 September 2016

    Can I asked how George done the swap to son's car have asked my son same question and he has told me this can not be done if the car is put in ur name u have to go to the post office for 1st time tax on a car u have just bought

  • Sebastian / 31 August 2016

    it is nice and easy to do all. Great, and safe a lot of time

  • David Ninnis / 29 August 2016

    Ref George transferring a car to his son:

    “I SORN'd the car last Friday 29th May on-line & received e-mail confirmation of the SORN instantly.

    Today 1st June my son re-taxed the car online using new keeper slip reference numbers. No problems at all.

    Do you have to transfer the vehicle firstly into your sons name before he can tax it.

  • Sajid / 27 July 2016

    I paid the road tax on 27 July 16 and it finishing on 1 July 17 11 month road tax and charging for price of 12 month.
    Thats really sad and poor system by dvla that's open cheatin.

  • M Donald / 18 July 2016

    I bought a car privately on 29 June that required some major work and would be off the road for 2 or 3 weeks. On 30th went online to complete SORN but was advised that the car was still registered to previous owner. Tried again a week later, with the same response. The V5C arrived 2 days ago with reminder about taxing it. As the car will be ready to go in a few days, I thought I may as well tax it - but online or by phone, am advised that it's due to be taxed from 1 June. Have done a SORN for now and will do it manually from a post office, paying from 1 July. I expect however, that DVLA will chase it up. Where do I stand?

  • Brenda / 5 July 2016

    My partner has paid his car tax and my daughter paid it as well. How do they get a refund

  • James Hill / 28 June 2016

    Applied for Tax on 29/06/2016. Tax starts on 01/06/2016. Are you having a laugh DVLA?
    The system is fully stored on a computer these days,previously with Paper discs you were forced to have 1st of month, makes sense has the discs are printed.

    Now in 2016, you mean to tell me you can't simply have a Tax registered date of the date purchased?

    Rip off!!

  • Nick W / 22 June 2016

    Now that there is no need to print tax discs, there is absolutely no excuse for the tax not to start on any day of the month. I'm about to buy a scooter, but as it is already the 22nd day of the month, I will wait 9 days before taxing it, which seems rather ridiculous in the present circumstances.

  • Sarah Wills / 8 June 2016

    Same here, we purchased our car on the 27th July and had 12 months tax, just received a reminder to say our tax is due 30 June, so why do we pay for 12 months tax when it's clearly 11 months?????

  • susie / 24 April 2016

    hi everyone,
    Im trying to tax my car online....
    it is currently taxed and i pay monthly, i wish to change my bank for direct debit. It tells me to start a whole new claim but when i do this it tells me my car is already taxed yeah i know this... Problem is it says my new tax dosent start till next month? Does this mean i wont be covered until 1st of april or will my old tax be cancelled automatically when the new one starts or will it be cancelled straight away? Its such a pain why cant they just let you change your direct debit for gods sake!!

  • mary / 22 April 2016

    rubbish been waiting on the phone almost an hour,to talk to someone.near an hour now

  • gabriel / 21 April 2016

    hi i gest bought one car 19/04 19 00 hour and next morning at 10 00 clock my car was taket from local autority because i heave no tax the car and i don t know if this is right if anyone now more about this please tell me if is right the car was in public road front of my house for one night thanks

  • Stuart Cunliffe / 9 April 2016

    I think the Government is stealing money . . . absolutely no need for it

  • Martyn B / 6 April 2016

    This is ridiculous. Bought my car last year on 28 May and bought twelve months tax. Reminder today that it expires on the 30 April - so effectively 11 months and 2 days tax for the cost of 12 months - all due to back dating. Perhaps I should have not bothered taxing my car for a few days and joined to mass of illegal drivers who don't bother paying...

  • James Ewan Brown / 29 March 2016

    Hi,im selling my car on the 30th of march,i was wondering how does the new owner avoid having to pay an additional months tax? Im paying it by direct debit monthly. Should i just keep it going until the end of the month and then cancel my direct debit and then tell them to buy a tax disc then? Will it be alright for them to drive with my tax disc as my insurance covers it?

  • Catherine Murray / 26 March 2016

    Hi! I Jst bought a new car! How early can I tax it v 4 the end/start of the month without loosing the current month?

  • GRAHAM BROWN / 23 March 2016

    The DVLA is absolutely hopeless, and should be abolished. To add my 6p worth - now there is no road tax disc, it is not always possible to remember when it is due ( especially if you have a few vehicles ). At least it used to be staring at you from the windscreen every time you drove. You can't rely on DVLA to tell you when it is due for renewal - what you can rely on though is for them to send you a hefty fine if you forget . Today - I was thinking to myself - one of my bikes might be due for renewal at end of March but I have had no reminder -I will check on line. Result - DVLA says it is SORN ( which it was in Sept 2015 ) but I taxed it on-line on 4th Oct 2015 for 6 months. AND I printed off the DVLA Confirmation, AND I checked that they took the money from my Bank account. As it happens I have not used the bike since I taxed it due to mechanical problem, but if I had, and been spotted by ANPR or stopped by Police, what a palaver that would have involved in sorting that one. As it is I just now need to calm down before I phone the most unhelpful Government Dept ever invented and ask for my money back............... fat chance I know.

  • Pete / 1 March 2016

    Hi Andy I have just taxed my car tonight and it says it will need renewing 01.02.2017. So I have lost a month

  • cazza / 29 February 2016

    Id i tax a car today 29th febraury when does the tax start from as its a leap year?

  • neil alleb / 27 February 2016

    just bought car on 26th Feb 2016 and taxed it . they have charged me tax from 1st Feb . I never owned car till now so how can that be lawful