Navigating the complexities of car ownership in the United Kingdom can often feel like a maze of rules, regulations, and payments. One such area that often confuses motorists is car tax, or Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) as it is officially known.
In particular, the question of car tax refunds is a grey area. In this comprehensive guide, we will demystify the subject and give you all the insights you need to navigate car tax refunds effectively.
What is a Car Tax Refund?
In essence, a car tax refund is the money you get back for any full, unused months of car tax if you no longer need to tax your vehicle. This usually happens when you sell your car, take it off the road (declare a SORN), or change the vehicle's taxation class. The refund is calculated based on the remaining number of full months from the date the DVLA is informed of the change. It's a way to ensure that you're not paying for a service you are not utilising.
Why Might You Be Eligible for a Car Tax Refund?
The primary reasons you might be eligible for a car tax refund are:
- You've Sold Your Car: When you sell your car, you are no longer liable for its tax. Once the new owner registers as the new keeper, you will automatically be considered for a refund.
- Your Car is Off the Road: If your vehicle is not in use and you've officially declared it so with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN), you can claim a refund for the remaining tax.
- You've Changed Your Taxation Class: A change in tax class often occurs due to modifications to the vehicle. This could result in your car moving to a different tax band, entitling you to a refund.
How to Claim Your Car Tax Refund
After Selling Your Car
The moment the sale is complete and the new owner registers as the keeper with the DVLA, you become eligible for a refund. The DVLA will automatically send you a cheque within six weeks for any remaining full months of tax.
Similarly, if your car is off the road and you've declared a SORN, the DVLA will process your refund once they've been notified. Again, a cheque will be sent to you within six weeks.
Changing the Tax Class
In the case that your vehicle's tax class has changed, you will need to fill in section 7 of your V5C form (the vehicle logbook). Send it to the DVLA, and upon approval, your refund cheque will be issued.
How to Contact the DVLA
To cancel your vehicle tax and secure a refund, you must notify the DVLA about the altered status of your car. The DVLA can be reached via telephone, email, or post, the details of which are provided below.
Here are the ways you can reach them:
- By Phone: You can contact the DVLA customer service at 0300 790 6802.
- By Mail: The postal address is Vehicle Customer Services, DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR.
- By Email: The DVLA's email enquiry system isn't as uncomplicated as having a direct email address, but fortunately, their website's enquiry procedure remains relatively straightforward. You will need to fill out the enquiry form on the government website.
Things to Remember
- Part-Months Don't Count: The DVLA only refunds for full months; part-months will not be included in your refund.
- Refunds Are Automatic: Typically, refunds are automatic when the DVLA is notified of the relevant changes.
- Check Address: The refund cheque will be sent to the name and address on the V5C vehicle logbook. Make sure your details are current.
- Time Limit: If six weeks pass and you still need to receive your refund, contacting the DVLA is advisable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Transfer My Car Tax to the New Owner?
No, car tax is not transferable between owners. The new owner must tax the car themselves.
What Happens if My Car is Written Off or Scrapped?
In this scenario, it’s crucial to notify the DVLA right away. You will be eligible for a refund for any remaining full months of tax.
Can I Claim a Refund for a Deceased Person's Car?
Yes, you can, but additional documentation, including the death certificate, will be required.
In summary, while the concept of car tax refunds might initially appear complex, it is quite straightforward once you understand the eligibility criteria and the procedures involved. Keeping abreast of these can save you both time and money, ensuring you're not paying for tax on a car you no longer own or use. Looking to sell your car? Enter your reg and mileage here and start your free, no-obligation quote today! For more tips and advice, check out our blog.