How to cancel road tax and get a refund

Zorica Lončar
03.09.21
2 minute read

If you need to cancel your road tax, our guide will show you exactly how to do it. So read on for the lowdown on how to cancel your road tax and make sure you get a refund, including all the essential info you need to know.

Why might you need to cancel road tax?

Road tax, officially known as Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), is a mandatory charge for vehicle owners. It’s charged based on vehicle CO2 emissions, so if you have a hybrid, electric or low emission car, you might not have much (if anything) to pay.

But there are situations where you might need to cancel your road tax. These include¹:

  • If you sell your car to someone else
  • If your car is scrapped at a vehicle scrapyard
  • If the vehicle is written off by your insurance company following an accident
  • If your car is stolen
  • If you’re newly registered as exempt from paying vehicle tax
  • If you’re not currently using your car and declare it off the road. This is known as a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) and it requires you to keep your car in a garage or other off-road location.

How to cancel road tax¹

If any of the above situations apply to you, here’s how to go about cancelling your road tax.

The main step is to contact the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), and let them know that you’ve sold your car or are taking it off the road - or one of the other reasons you may need to cancel your road tax. You can do all of that on the gov.uk website, which provides contact routes and online forms for each circumstance.

It’s a good idea to have your vehicle log book (V5C) to hand, along with your car registration and other details for the vehicle.

Once you’ve done this, the DVLA will cancel your road tax and issue a refund.

Can you cancel car tax online?

In nearly all cases, you can cancel your road tax online¹. All you need to do is fill in the right form for your circumstances.

However, you can also tell DVLA about things like selling a vehicle in other ways. For example, you can fill in the log book and post it to the DVLA², to let them know that you’re no longer the keeper of the vehicle. This can take longer though, so the online route is recommended.

Refunds for cancelling road tax¹

Once you’ve told the DVLA that you’re cancelling your road tax, a refund will be issued automatically.

This will be for any remaining full months left on your vehicle tax, and won’t include credit card fees or direct debit payment surcharges. If you pay for your car tax in 6 month payments, you won’t get a refund for the 10% surcharge.

Your refund will be sent in the post in the form of a cheque, with the name and address taken from the vehicle’s log book.

Will I get a refund if I cancel my road tax and pay by Direct Debit?

As soon as you cancel road tax, Direct Debit payments will stop automatically¹. You don’t need to do anything, and it’s not advisable to stop Direct Debit payments before you’ve received confirmation of your road tax cancellation from the DVLA.

Arranging UK road tax from abroad? Save money with Wise

If you do need to tax another vehicle in the future and you’re not yet in the UK, the Wise multi-currency account can help.

With Wise, you can get an international debit card which automatically converts currency at the real, mid-market exchange rate whenever you spend. This, along with low currency conversion fees, could save you a bundle when paying for your road tax in GBP from another country.

Join Wise today


So, that’s pretty much it - everything you need to know on how to cancel your road tax and get a refund. As it all happens automatically once you’ve contacted the DVLA, you should find it easy to get your refund.


Sources used for this article:

  1. Gov.uk - vehicle tax refund
  2. Gov.uk - sold, transferred or bought a vehicle

Sources checked on 19-August-2021.


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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