Vehicle tax rates

What you need to know

Here is how to find out how much you'll need to pay:

Cars and light goods vehicles registered before March 2001

If you own a vehicle that was registered before - or is older than - March 1 st 2001 then the vehicle tax rate is very straightforward. You will only need to pay the same amount every year you own the vehicle and it is registered for use.

If the vehicle engine size is below 1549cc, you will have to pay an annual rate - currently £170*. This amount will rise slightly if you choose to pay in 12 monthly instalments.

If the vehicle engine size is above 1549cc, the single payment price is currently £280* annually. Again, this price rises if you pay in monthly instalments.

Cars and light goods vehicles registered between March 2001 and March 2017

If you own a vehicle that was registered between March 1 st 2001 and March 31 st 2017, then your tax rate is based on fuel type and CO2 emissions.

Each rate is designed for certain types of vehicles and there is not a single flat amount for motorists to pay. However, you will only need to pay the same amount every year you own the vehicle. Most car owners are asked to pay between £0 to £600* annually for small to medium sized vehicles, depending on their emissions.

The full rate table can be found on the DVLA website.

Cars registered on or after April 1st 2017

If you own a car that was registered on or after April 1st 2017 the tax rate is based on the car's CO2 emissions.

Diesel cars are charged a higher rate if they do not meet the Real Driving Emissions 2 (RDE2) guidelines for nitrogen oxide emissions. It is best to check with the seller or the vehicle manufacturer if these guidelines have been met.

Electric cars do not pay anything as they do not produce emissions.

The first payment you make will depend on the CO2 emissions. However, from the second payment onwards, there is a flat annual rate.

Petrol or diesel cars cost £155* annually, and alternative-fuel cars (including hybrids, bioethanol and liquid petroleum gas) face a cost of £145* annually. Electric cars are not charged at all.

Petrol, diesel and alternative-fuel cars with a list price of more than �40,000 when new are also subject to an additional �335* annually for five years from the second tax payment.

A guide to van and pick-up tax

Many think that road tax for cars is the same for vans, light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and pick-ups - but the system is quite different. The way these vehicles are taxed all depends on when they were registered, which we'll explain here, as well as a way to get free road tax.

Please note that all these rules apply to LCVs with a maximum gross vehicle weight under 3,500kg.

Commercial vehicles registered before March 2001

Vans registered before March 1st 2001, will pay one of two rates for road tax - depending on their engine size.

For vans with an engine size up to and including 1,549cc, you'll pay £170* in vehicle exercise duty (VED) for 12 months, or £93.50* for six months of road tax. For engine sizes above 1,549cc, it will cost £280* to tax the van for 12 months, or £154* for half the year. As with all the road taxes here, you can pay the amount in full, or split the payment through Direct Debit.

Commercial vehicles registered after March 2001

Unlike cars in this time period, vans are largely not charged a road tax rate depending on their emissions - rather a flat rate.

For the 2021/2022 year, most van drivers will pay £275* for 12 months to tax their vehicles. If they decide to pay every six months - the amount is £151.25*. These fees apply to all vans registered after March 1st 2001, and those which have the road tax code TC39.

Any exceptions to this flat rate?

There are exemptions to this rule, which vary depending on if your van met a certain emission regulation at a period of time.

The first of these is the Euro 4, which applies to vans registered between March 1st 2003 and December 31st 2006. These vans will be cheaper to tax, and cost £140* for 12 months, or £77* if you decide to pay for six months' tax instead. The same fees apply for Euro 5 compliant vans that were registered between January 1st 2009 and December 31st 2010.

What about electric vans?

There's currently few fully electric vans available, but for city drivers, they can make a lot of sense - particularly with the tax incentives on offer.

As with all-electric cars, zero-emission vans pay nothing (£0) to be taxed each year. You still have to submit the forms, or register to tax the van online (just like you would normally) but there's no fee to pay.

How do I know if my car is officially classed as a commercial vehicle?

The issue with commercial vehicles is that some fall under different classification. While most vans can be straightforward to tax, certain car-derived vans (a Ford Fiesta Van, for example) and models with rear seats are taxed in the same way as cars. Certain pick-ups are also taxed as commercial vehicles if they have a payload capacity under 1,000kg.

The simplest way to check this is by looking at your vehicle's V5C registration document. If it's classified as 'N1' or 'N2', that means it's taxed as a van.

More information about road tax

You can calculate the tax for your vehicle or a vehicle you are interested in purchasing by heading to the Vehicle Tax Calculator provided by the DVLA: https://www.gov.uk/calculate-vehicle-tax-rates

For more detailed information about vehicle tax rates, the DVLA also offers guidance and full rate tables here.

*last updated March 2021