A Detailed Explanation of How to Get Your Vehicle Tax Refund

Have you recently sold your car and are now wondering how to cancel the car tax? You've come to the right place. We explain the hows, whys, whats, and whens of road tax cancellation in this article.   

There are numerous names for car tax. It is also referred to as "road tax," "road fund license," or "Vehicle Excise Duty" (VED).  

Whatever you call it, road tax funds the government's efforts to maintain and improve the UK's roads and highways. To legally drive on public roads, drivers must pay a car tax every year.

However, if you need to sell your car (or it has been written off or stolen), you can stop paying your road tax. And the good news is that you can cancel your car tax online. Furthermore, you may be eligible for a refund.  

Let's get started to learn more.

Reasons for not paying the road tax

You've already stated why you're canceling. Skip ahead to the how.

The DVLA will only accept specific reasons for canceling car tax. You have the right to cancel if:

  • You sell or transfer your vehicle to a new owner or dealership.
  • Your insurance company has declared your car totaled (learn more about Cat S and Cat N write-offs).
  • Your vehicle has been stolen.
  • Your vehicle has been exported from the country.
  • Your car has been scrapped (for more information on car scrappage schemes, click here).
  • You've removed your vehicle from the road and applied for a SORN (Statutory Off-Road Notification).
  • Your car is no longer subject to road tax (for example, it is a classic car manufactured before January 1, 1982, or it is now used by a disabled person).

If one of those reasons does not apply to you, you will need to cancel your car tax. It is not possible.  

What if you're caught driving without a license?  

Is it worthwhile to learn how to cancel car tax? Consider taking a chance and driving without a car tax. Do not do it.

If you do, the DVLA may fine you £80. (If you pay within 28 days, the amount is halved.) ) Because the DVLA conducts monthly computer checks to detect untaxed vehicles, avoiding a fine is nearly impossible.

And if the police catch you driving an untaxed vehicle, you could face a £1,000 fine. Your vehicle may also be clamped.  

However, driving without road tax will not result in any points on your license.  

How will the cops know if I don't have my car taxed?

Previously, the police would manually check the paper tax disc on the windscreen to ensure that your car tax was current. Nowadays, everything is done electronically.  

Your registration is scanned and checked against the information in the DVLA database using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras. If your vehicle is not taxed, it will be flagged and you will be fined on the spot.  

How do I cancel my DVLA vehicle tax?  

Online is the quickest and most convenient way to cancel your car tax. The DVLA's website includes detailed instructions on how to stop paying tax on a car that has been sold, transferred, written off, stolen, or exported.  

But, before you go, you'll need your V5C, also known as your vehicle log book. This demonstrates that you are the registered keeper of the vehicle and have the authority to cancel the road tax.   

An 11-digit reference number is required to use the DVLA's online service. This information can be found in the yellow "sell, transfer, or part-exchange your vehicle to the motor trade" section of your V5C.  

To begin, simply navigate to the option that best fits your situation:

Can I cancel my car tax if I don't have my car log book?

No Before you begin, you'll need the V5C reference number. If you lose your log book, the DVLA will send you a replacement for a fee of £25.00.

Who should I contact to cancel my car tax?

Call the DVLA at 0300 790 6802 to speak with someone about canceling your car tax. Generally, the phone line is operational during the following hours:

  • 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday
  • Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Can I simply cancel my road tax Direct Debit?

You could, but you'd still need to notify the DVLA that your car tax is being cancelled. They will cancel your road tax Direct Debit payments on your behalf if you do this.

Is my car tax automatically cancelled when I sell it?  

No, it will not automatically cancel, and it is non-transferable. When you no longer own the vehicle, you must notify the DVLA and request that your car tax be cancelled.  

Can I get a refund on my car taxes?

You can, but it is contingent on how (and how much) you have paid.  

If you've been paying by Direct Debit on a monthly basis, the DVLA will simply cancel future payments. You will not be eligible for a refund. However, if you paid for 12 months of car tax in advance, you will receive a refund for any remaining full months.  

For instance, suppose you pay for the entire year in advance but then sell your car after six and a half months. You will be reimbursed for five months (not five and a half).  

How will I receive my car tax refund?

The DVLA's procedures are still somewhat archaic. Road tax refunds are issued by cheque and mailed to the address where your vehicle was registered.  

How long does it take to get a car tax refund?

It typically takes six weeks to receive your refund, but your cheque may arrive sooner. Fingers crossed

What if I don't receive my car tax refund?

As previously stated, the DVLA may take up to six weeks from the date of cancellation to process your refund and send your cheque. If you haven't heard from them by this point, please contact them directly at:

  • Email: Go to the GOV.UK Email DVLA page. UK website Choose "Vehicle Enquiries," then "Tax, including direct debit enquiries, declaring a vehicle off the road (SORN), or tax refunds." " Select an option and send your email inquiry."  
  • Phone: Call the DVLA at 0300 790 6802. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please keep in mind that there are charges — 10p per minute from a landline and up to 40p per minute from a mobile phone.
  • You can also write to the DVLA at the following address:

    Vehicle Customer Service

SA99 1AR

What if my refund check is written in the wrong name?

If you receive your refund cheque but it is in the wrong name, you must contact the DVLA's refund team at:

Section on Refunds



SA99 1AL

What the DVLA will not refund  

The DVLA will only refund you the amount of car tax that you are entitled to. You will not be reimbursed for any additional charges (for example, if you paid with a credit card).

To recap:

Do you want to know how to cancel a car tax? The DVLA website is the quickest and easiest way to do it. That explains in detail how to cancel your car tax.  

You can also call the DVLA at 0300 790 6802. Before you can cancel, you must have your V5C log book and the 11-digit reference number.  

Also read:
How do car tax bands function?
SORN my car: How to Declare an Off-Road Vehicle
Do I need to insure an off-road vehicle?
Myths and facts about driving without an MOT
How to Get a Replacement Log Book for a Lost V5c

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