When purchasing a used car in the UK, it is important to ensure that the vehicle has a clean history and is 100% roadworthy. One of the most important pieces of documentation to check is the road tax. Road tax is a fee that is paid to the government that allows a car to be driven legally on public roads. This means that if you miss this payment, you are not allowed to drive your vehicle on public roads. This is why at SmartCarCheck, we strongly recommend that car buyers check if a car has road tax before making payments at any used car dealership, as the absence of road tax may lead to heavy fines and even lead to a vehicle being impounded. In this blog post, we will discuss how to check if a car has road tax or not.
What is road tax?
Before taking a deep dive into the step-by-step guide on how to check if a car has road tax or not, let’s understand what road tax is. Road tax is an annual fee that car owners or keepers in the UK must pay to drive their vehicles on public roads. It sounds unimportant, right? NO. It actually is extremely important, and anyone caught driving a vehicle in the UK without road tax will be directed to pay a fine of £1000, or 10 times the amount of road tax chargeable.
So why is the government requesting road tax from car owners? Well, it is another means to raise revenue for the government. The purpose of road tax is to raise revenue for the government and to ensure that the vehicles that are driven on the road are completely safe and meet environmental standards. Another point to note is that there is no specific amount of road tax because it varies among vehicles. The amount of road tax paid is based on the size and type of the vehicle, as well as its carbon dioxide emissions. For example, owners of hybrids, mild hybrids, and plug-in hybrids may pay a lesser amount as road tax compared to owners of regular vehicles with ICEs.
Why is it important to check for road tax?
One of the major reasons why you should check if a car has road tax during used car purchases in the UK is because it is illegal to be found driving a vehicle without road tax. According to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), if a vehicle is found on the road without road tax, it is subject to a fine of £1000, or 10 times the amount of road tax chargeable. Your vehicle could even get impounded for not having road tax, and you wouldn’t want to be caught in a web of troubles simply because you didn’t check your vehicle’s records before purchase.
Additionally, if a car has not been taxed for an extended period, it may be considered “off the road” by the government, and the vehicle may be subject to additional fees or even scrapped.
How to Check if a Car Has Road Tax
To carry out a car tax check in the UK, you would need to identify a reputable car history report provider that can accurately provide vehicle history and records to car buyers upon request. With the SmartCarCheck car history check tool, you can be sure to make the best decisions at a used car dealership and purchase a roadworthy vehicle.
The vehicle inquiry service provided by SmartCarCheck can be used to gain access to the following information:
- Auction history
- Sales history
- MOT and road tax dues
- Previous keepers
- Vehicle registration
- Vehicle Description
- Mileage records
- Vehicle performance, and more
With a road tax history checker, car buyers can verify the reliability of a vehicle before making a payment. To check if your vehicle is taxed, you will need to follow these steps:
Step 1: Locate your vehicle’s registration number
The first step on how to find out if your car is taxed is to locate your vehicle’s registration number or license plate number. The registration number of a vehicle can be found on the license plate or on the vehicle registration certificate.
Step 2: Visit SmartCarCheck and fill out the provided form
Have you found your registration number? If you have, the next step to take is to visit the car history provider, SmartCarCheck, and fill out the provided form with the requested information, including your registration number and some other contact information.
Step 3: Select "Check Vehicle"
After filling out the form, the next step is to select “Check Vehicle” to gain full access to the vehicle’s road tax records.
Some of the details you will find under the road tax section include:
- The expiry date of the current road tax or Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN) status
- MOT status and expiration date
With these steps, you should be able to check if a car has road tax or not and verify its roadworthiness. Remember to prioritize checking a vehicle’s road tax status and take note of when the vehicle’s road tax expires to prepare yourself for payment.
Frequently Asked Questions
One way to check if a car is taxed in the UK is to use the SmartCarCheck vehicle check tool. Simply enter the car’s registration number into the website or app, and it will provide you with information on the car’s road tax status as well as its MOT status.
No, not all cars are required to pay road tax in the UK. Electric vehicles and other low-emission vehicles are exempt from road tax, while cars registered before a certain date may fall into different tax brackets based on their emissions.
Yes, road tax and vehicle tax are the same in the UK. However, the official term for road tax is vehicle excise duty (VED).