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2019 UK car tax bands: an idiot's guide to VED road tax

Published: 12 February 2019

► Updated car tax for new models
► How vehicle excise duty (VED) works
► 2019 road and car tax bands explained

Only two things in life are certain: death and car tax. It's a modern reality that motoring isn't free - and in this guide we explain how Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), also known as car tax and road tax, works.

It used to be a very visible cost, since all cars on UK roads had to display a tax disc in their windscreen, that little paper roundel you'd spot in the corner of the window. These were abolished in 2014, saving the Government millions of pounds in printing and drivers hours of their lives trying to tear along the perforations without ripping the disc.

Further motoring advice:

Although you no longer have to display a tax disc (above), you do still have to tax your car every year. Read on to find out how much your car will cost to tax in 2019 and beyond.

How does car tax work?

Cars in Great Britain are taxed based on their CO2 emissions, but the age of the car is also taken into consideration when the VED car tax band is calculated. And there is also a difference between taxing a brand new car being registered for the first time and one that's already on the road.

UK car tax and VED is set by the Chancellor in the Budget

Click here to skip to our most common car tax FAQs

In this guide we will attempt to explain all the most likely road tax scenarios. First step is to establish your vehicle's age and CO2 emissions; both are recorded on your car's V5C registration document from the DVLA - it's the paperwork you were sent when you first purchased it. Carbon dioxide emissions are quoted in grammes per kilometre (g/km) and record how efficient your vehicle is.

It can get a bit complicated, here we explain how much you'll pay whether you're taxing a brand new car, a nearly new one or an old banger. Read on for our full explainer for how car tax works.

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First-year road tax VED for all new cars

If you are buying a brand new car in 2019, you will see the first-year road tax cost on the invoice. Check in our table below which category your car falls into. In short, the dirtier your car, the more your car tax will be for year one. The rates below apply to any new car registered since 1 April 2017.

Find out your vehicle's CO2 emissions in the first column and then read across, depending on whether your car is powered by petrol, diesel or alternative fuels (LPG or CNG autogas). It all gets a bit complicated here: modern clean diesels meeting the latest RDE2 emissions standard are referred to as 'Clean diesel'; older oil-burners fall into costlier non-RDE2 column:

CO2
(G/KM)
ALL PETROL &
CLEAN DIESEL
NON-RDE2
DIESEL
ALT 
FUELS
0 £0 £0 £0
1-50 £10 £25 £0
51-75 £25 £105 £15
76-90 £105 £125 £95
91-100 £125 £145 £115
101-110 £145 £165 £135
111-130 £165 £205 £155
131-150 £205 £515 £195
151-170 £515 £830 £505
171-190 £830 £1240 £820
191-225 £1240 £1760 £1230
226-255 £1760 £2070 £1750
>256 £2070 £2070 £2060

That's the first-year cost. Then it gets even more complicated! Road tax in subsequent years is charged at a different rate - depending on the original list price of your car. You have been warned...

Car tax for new cars: second and subsequent years

Ready to consider your second-year tax on a new car? Good. Check out our table to see what you'll pay - and remember, this only applies if your new car cost less than £40,000 when you first purchsed it. These rates apply to all new vehicles first registered on or after 1 April 2017:

VEHICLE
FUEL
TYPE

ONE-OFF
ANNUAL
PAYMENT 

ONE-OFF
ANNUAL
DIRECT DEBIT
TOTAL OF
12 MONTHLY

DIRECT DEBITS
ONE-OFF
6-MONTH

PAYMENT
SINGLE
6-MONTH
PAYMENT
 BY
DIRECT DEBIT
Petrol or diesel £140 £140 £147 £77 £73.50
Electric £0 n/a n/a £0 n/a
Alternative fuel £130 £130 £136.50 £71.50 £68.25

Diesel, petrol or electric: your fuel choice decides your car and VED road tax in the UK

What's all this about new cars costing more than £40,000 paying more road tax?

Ah yes. Bit of a killer this one: if your new car has a list price (including options and extras) or more than £40,000, you'll have to pay even more. And you can't haggle it down - the tax is charged on the quoted list price of your chosen model, including all optional equipment.

These rates apply in years two, three, four and five - you'll have to pay an extra £310 a year:

VEHICLE
FUEL

TYPE 
ONE-OFF 
ANNUAL

PAYMENT
ONE-OFF 
ANNUAL
DIRECT DEBIT 
TOTAL OF 
12 MONTHLY

DIRECT DEBITS
ONE-OFF 
6-MONTH

PAYMENT
SINGLE 
6-MONTH 
 
DIRECT DEBIT

Petrol or diesel £450 £450 £472.50 £247.50 £236.25
Electric £310 £310 £325.50 £170.50 £162.75
Alternative fuel £440 £440 £462 £242 £231

Car tax and VED for cars registered between 1 March 2001 and 31 March 2017

Still with us? Good. Any car registered between 2001 and 2017 will pay a flat rate of VED car tax, depending on its CO2 emissions - price doesn't come in to it. The cleanest cars in Band A paid nothing, whereas the dirtiest in Band M were clocking up nearly £600 a year. So check out the table below to see how much your car tax will be:

CAR
TAX
BAND
CO2 
EMISSIONS 
ONE-OFF 
ANNUAL

PAYMENT
ONE-OFF
ANNUAL
DIRECT DEBIT
TOTAL OF 
12 MONTHLY

DIRECT DEBITS
ONE-OFF 
6-MONTH

PAYMENT
SINGLE 
6-MONTH 
 
DIRECT DEBIT
A <100g/km £0 £0 n/a n/a n/a
B 101-110g/km £20 £20 £21 n/a n/a
C 111-120g/km £30 £30 £31.50 n/a n/a
D 121-130g/km £120 £120 £126 £66 £63
E 131-140g/km £140 £140 £147 £77 £73.50
F 141-150g/km £155 £155 £162.75 £85.25 £81.38
G 151-165g/km £195 £195 £204.75 £107.25 £102.38
H 166-175g/km £230 £230 £241.50 £126.50 £120.75
I 176-185g/km £250 £250 £262.50 £137.50 £131.25
J 186-200g/km £290 £290 £304.50 £159.50 £152.25
K 201-225g/km £315 £315 £330.75 £173.25 £165.38
L 226-255g/km £540 £540 £567 £297 £283.50
M Over 255g/km £555 £555 £582.75 £305.25 £291.38

So taxing some older, interesting cars such as a secondhand Porsche 911 could get pricey...

Porsche 997 road tax: check the CO2 and the year of first registration

Car tax and VED for older cars registered before 1 March 2001

Ah the good, old-fashioned way. Road tax was calculated purely on engine size - and the magic cubic capacity was 1.5 litres. Check out our table here to see how much an older car will cost to tax (conveniently, this was introduced just as the new registration system was ushered in, with the Y-reg plate).

ENGINE
SIZE
IN CC
ONE-OFF
ANNUAL

PAYMENT 
ONE-OFF
ANNUAL
DIRECT DEBIT
TOTAL OF 
12 MONTHLY

DIRECT DEBITS
ONE-OFF 
6-MONTH

PAYMENT
SINGLE 
6-MONTH 
 
DIRECT DEBIT

Below 1549 £155 £155 £162.75 £85.25 £81.38
Above 1549 £255 £255 £267.75 £140.25 £133.88

And that's it. Complicated, isn't it? We hope you've found that useful. Read on for some popular questions about road tax and VED.


Car tax FAQs

Has my car got tax?
You can check if your vehicle is taxed and can be driven on the road on this handy DVLA online service here: https://www.gov.uk/check-vehicle-tax

How do I cancel my car tax?
It's very easy to cancel your VED. If you pay by Direct Debit, it will be cancelled automatically; if you paid a one-off fee, the DVLA will automatically refund any full months left to run on your car tax. Apply for a tax refund here.

Is car tax transferable?
Sadly not. You used to be able to pass your VED on to the next buyer when you sold your car. But this was stopped in 2017. You must now apply for a refund - and the buyer will have to tax the car from scratch.

How do I SORN my car?
If you know you won't be driving your car on the road for a considerable length of time, you must apply for a Statutory Off Road Notification or SORN if you don't want to pay road tax. We have a separate explainer here about how SORN works.

How do I contact the DVLA about my car tax?
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is the government body responsible for car and road tax in the UK. Their website is here and all their contact details are listed there.

How is company car tax calculated?
Company car tax is a completely separate tax, designed to reflect the perk of having a company-provided business car. We recommend using the company car tax calculator on our sister website Parkers.co.uk to see how much tax you'll pay on any car. 

Do you have to pay tax on older classic cars?
Only cars made before 1 January 1978 are exempt from paying VED, as of 1 April 2018. There is no rolling VED tax exemption. Other exemptions include disabled people, electric vehicles (but not those costing £40,000), mowers, agricultural vehicles doing less than 1.5km on road between fields and steam engines. 

By CAR's road test team

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