Road tax explained

You can’t drive your car or motorbike on the road unless you’ve bought road tax and have a tax disc inside the windscreen, on the passenger side. Without it, you could be fined £1,000 and have your wheels confiscated. Ouch!

Cars registered after 1 March 2001 are taxed according to their CO2 emissions; cars registered before this pay according to the engine size.

To get your road tax you need to fill out a V10 form (online at, by phone or from the Post Office or a DVLA office) and show your MOT certificate, V5C car registration docs and proof of motor insurance.

What road tax do I need?
This all depends what car or motorbike you drive. When was it registered? What are its CO2 emissions? Cars registered on or after 1 March 2001 are split into 13 bands depending on CO2emissions. It’s a complicated system; click here for details of how much you’ll pay.

The most fuel-efficient cars have free road tax, while some new cars have cheaper tax rates in their first year; anywhere between £20 and £90 less. Bonus if you’ve bought yourself an electric, gas-powered or hybrid car: your tax is another £10 cheaper.

How do I check my car’s CO2 emissions?
Your V5C registration certificate will show this, or enter the make and registration of your car in the online ‘vehicle enquiry’ section on the DVLA’s Electronic Vehicle Licensing website.

If you’re driving a banger registered before 2001, your tax is based on engine size; tax for a car up to 1549cc costs £125.

Disabled drivers may get a free tax disc. If you get Disability Living Allowance, you’ll need to fill out exemption certificate DLA404.

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