Road Tax Refund: How and when you can get one

With motoring costs increasing at an alarming rate, drivers may want to know how to get a refund on any unused road tax if they sell a car, have it scrapped or need to take it off the road with a SORN.

Here motoring journalist and expert Pete Barden looks at how drivers can get their refund on unused car tax – or VED as it is known – when they no longer need it to comply with the law.

Cars all need car tax, but how can owners get a refund when selling cars?Most drivers will need to ensure cars are taxed, but how can they get a refund and under what circumstances?  (Credit:

Will I get a road tax refund if...

I am selling a car

Yes - if you have any unused months. The new system of road tax means you cannot sell a car with VED in the same way you could when tax discs were used to show a car was taxed. Now it's not possible to sell a car with tax and you will need to get a refund for any unused months you have left if you bought your car tax in one annual payment.

I am not using the car

Providing you are not keeping the car on public property, you can declare the vehicle as SORN and claim a refund for any unused months you have left on your road tax. During this period, however, you must ensure the SORN vehicle is kept off of public property or you could be fined and have the vehicle clamped and seized.

My car has been written off

If your car has been written off by your insurance company, you will be able to claim back any unused road tax. You will also need to tell the DVLA that the vehicle has been written off before claiming your road tax refund, you can inform the agency online here.

My car has become a historic vehicle

If you have a vehicle that becomes 40 years old, it will then be classed as a historic vehicle. This means it will be exempt from paying road tax. However, you will still need to tax the vehicle – even if you will not be charged for doing so. You will be able to claim a refund for any unused tax purchased previously.

My car has been stolen

Yes. If your car is stolen and not immediately recovered, you will be able to get a refund on unused road tax. You will need to inform the police and insurance company before you can get a refund. If the car is recovered, you will need to get it taxed before returning it to the road.

My car has been scrapped

You must tell the DVLA if your vehicle has been scrapped, but you will also be able to apply for a refund of any unused road tax that is left.

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What happens next in getting my car tax refund?

Once you have told the DVLA why you will no longer be the owner – or using it on public roads – the agency will cancel any direct debits you have paying VED, while also organising a refund for any unused months of car tax to be refunded.

Do I have to do anything to get a refund from the DVLA?

No. There is no need to contact the DVLA by phone, letter, email or online form. The agency will automatically issue a refund cheque. The amount will be calculated from unused months – from the date the DVLA gets information that you have sold, scrapped, taken a vehicle off the road etc. Informing them as soon as possible could help reclaim more money.

Who will get the money?

The money due for any refund on road tax will be sent in the form of a cheque to the name and address of the person that is registered on the vehicle’s logbook – so make sure the correct details are in place.

Will I get a refund on credit card fees as well?

No – You will not get a refund for credit card fees. Additionally, no refund will be made for the 5% surcharge on some direct debit payments, or the 10% surcharge on a single 6-month payment.

My refund has not arrived

You will need to wait eight weeks, but if it has not arrived by then, you should contact the DVLA.

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Author: Pete Barden:

Twitter: @pete_barden

Pete Barden is a qualified journalist who has written and produced for publications including The Sun (, New Statesman Media Group, Whatcar? ( Stuff Magazine (, Fastcar Magazine (, Maxim Magazine and UK broadcast stations within the Heart network (Formerly GCAP). Pete specialises in motoring and travel content, along with news and production roles. You can find out more about Pete Barden on LinkedIn.

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