What is the DVLA Tax?

The DVLA tax refers to the types of taxation that may be applied to the purchase, sale, ownership, or registration with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in the United Kingdom.  This agency is responsible for keeping a database of all vehicles and drivers located within the United Kingdom.  The agency also is in charge of levying the vehicle excise duty, also known as the road tax and road fund license.  

DVLA Tax requirements

The DVLA tax requires that all vehicle owners in the United Kingdom must pay for a vehicle license in order to legally operate their vehicle on public roads.  The tax is not directly applied to road repair or other transportation needs, but is instead placed in the general tax fund.  

1. Requirements before paying the DVLA Tax

Even before paying the DVLA tax, a vehicle owner must have proof the vehicle is insured and also have the vehicle pass a safety inspection, called the MOT.  Any vehicle which cannot meet these two requirements cannot be issued a road license, and therefore cannot be legally operated on public roads.  

2. Required one time fee for new cars facing the DVLA Tax

The DVLA will asses a one time tax for the registration of a new vehicle.  The rate of this one time DVLA tax is determined by the emissions band of the vehicle.  They are classified between A and M, with A being the most environmentally friendly vehicles and M the worst.  Vehicles classified A through D will not pay any initial DVLA tax, while the lower ranked vehicles will need to pay between 115 to 1000 depending on their classification.  

3. Required yearly fees for the DVLA Tax

The amount of the yearly DVLA Tax is highly dependent on the classification the government gives each vehicle, which is calculated depending on their emissions.  The bands range from A to M, with A being the lowest emitters of harmful exhaust.  Class A vehicles are not required to pay any tax, and will be issued the road tax license only upon proof of insurance and passage of the safety inspection.  The highest emitters of harmful exhaust, class M vehicles, pay the highest yearly rate of 460.  

3. Exemptions

Certain vehicles are not subject to the DVLA tax for various reasons.  The following are some of the most common exemptions:

- Electrically propelled vehicles  

- Vehicles built before 1973

- Vehicles that do not hold human passengers

- Police and fire vehicles

- Vehicles for disabled persons

- Crown vehicles

Off-Road vehicles and Historic Vehicles

The road tax is not applicable to vehicles that will not be used on public roads.  However, any owner of such vehicles still must apply for a “Statutory Off Road Notification” license.  Failure to possess a license may mean the owner of the vehicle will be subject to the road tax or enforcement for non-compliance with the tax.  

Historic vehicles, which have been built before 1973, do not need to apply for the road tax.  Initially, historic vehicles were determined as any vehicle 25 years or older, however the time was frozen in 1997 in order to limit what can be classified as historic. 




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