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How Can I Tell if a Car Is Taxed in the United Kingdom?

In the United Kingdom, it is a legal requirement for vehicles to have valid road tax, also known as vehicle excise duty (VED). Failure to pay road tax can result in fines, penalties, and even the seizure of the vehicle. Therefore, it is essential to know how to determine if a car is taxed. Here are a few ways to check:

1. Online Vehicle Enquiry: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) provides an online service where you can enter the vehicle’s registration number to check if it is taxed.

2. Text Message: You can also send a text message to the DVLA with the vehicle’s registration number, followed by the word “TAX.” They will respond with information about the tax status.

3. Displaying a Tax Disc: Although tax discs are no longer issued, some vehicles may still have them displayed. A valid tax disc indicates that the vehicle is taxed.

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4. Ask the Seller: If you are buying a used car, you can ask the seller for proof of road tax payment, such as a V5C registration certificate or a receipt for tax payment.

5. Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR): ANPR cameras are used by the police and other enforcement agencies to scan vehicle registration plates and check if they are taxed.

6. Vehicle Check Websites: Several vehicle check websites provide information about a car’s tax status. These websites may charge a fee for their services.

7. Contact the DVLA: If you are unable to determine the tax status using the methods above, you can contact the DVLA directly for assistance.


1. What happens if I drive a car without tax?
Driving a car without tax is illegal and can result in penalties, fines, and the seizure of the vehicle.

2. Can I transfer the remaining tax when selling a car?
No, road tax does not transfer when a vehicle is sold. The new owner must tax the vehicle in their name.

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3. How often do I need to tax my car?
Road tax must be renewed annually or every six months, depending on the payment option chosen.

4. Do electric cars need to be taxed?
Yes, electric cars are not exempt from road tax. However, some zero-emission vehicles may be eligible for a reduced rate.

5. Is road tax included in the purchase price of a new car?
No, road tax is not included in the purchase price of a new car. It is the responsibility of the owner to tax the vehicle.

6. Can I tax my car without an MOT?
No, a valid MOT certificate is required to tax a car.

7. Can I drive a car without tax if it has a valid MOT?
No, road tax and MOT are separate requirements. Both must be valid for a vehicle to be legally driven on the road.

Ensuring that your car is taxed is important to avoid any legal issues. By using the methods mentioned above, you can easily determine if a car is taxed or not in the United Kingdom.

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