How to pay road tax in the UK

Zorica Lončar

Got your UK driving licence and your first set of wheels? Along with car insurance, the next thing you’ll need to know about is road tax.

In this guide, we’ll cover all the essentials you need to know on how to pay road tax in the UK. This includes how much it is, and how to pay it either online or in the Post Office. So let’s get started.

What is road tax and who needs to pay it?¹

Road tax is actually Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), although many people know it as road tax or car tax. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not applicable to every single vehicle which uses the roads in the UK.

VED is actually calculated based on the emissions of the vehicle. The more polluting it is, the more you’ll pay. Meanwhile, hybrid, electric and other low-emission cars will generally pay low rates or nothing at all in road tax.

Having up-to-date car tax is a legal requirement for drivers, and it must be renewed every year.

How much is road tax?

VED road tax rates can be quite complicated, and they vary depending on the CO2 emissions rating of the vehicle. There’s also separate rates for the first payment you make when you first register your vehicle, followed by rates for second payments onwards.

Here are some examples of first payment rates, to give you an idea of how much road tax could cost for your vehicle²:

CO2 emissionsVED rate (depending on fuel type)
0g/km£0 for all fuel types
76 to 90g/km£105 to £140
131 to 150g/km£210 to £550
Over 255g/km£2,235 to £2,245

Once your first year is up, you can expect to pay between £145 to £155² in road tax every year.

There are also different rates for vehicles costing more than £40,000², and for cars registered between certain periods. You can find full details on the website.

How to pay road tax online

Taxing your vehicle online is relatively straightforward. Before you start, make sure you have the following documents ready³:

  • The vehicle log book (V5C), registered in your name
  • A recent V11 reminder from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
  • For recently purchased vehicles - the ‘new keeper’ slip from a log book.

You can pay for your road tax online using a debit or credit card, or by Direct Debit³ - so make sure you have your card or payment details to hand.

To pay your road tax online, simply head to the road tax portal and click ‘start now’. Then all you need to do is follow the instructions, enter the required information and submit your payment details.

It used to be the case that once you taxed your vehicle, you’d receive a physical tax disc in the post to display on the vehicle’s windscreen. This system has now been abolished, so you won’t receive a tax disc. But you can check the online records at any time to see if your vehicle is taxed, and how long it has left.

How to pay road tax at the Post Office³

Alternatively, you can pay your road tax in person by visiting your local Post Office branch. You’ll need to take along either your vehicle log book (V5C) or the green ‘new keeper’ slip from a log book if you’ve just bought your car. You might also need a valid MOT test certificate, so it’s a good idea to take this along just in case.

You’ll also need your debit card or cash to make the payment, or your bank details so you can set up a Direct Debit.

Paying road tax from abroad? Save money with Wise

If you’re outside the country when your road tax is due, don’t worry. You can pay it online using Wise, and save money on currency conversion at the same time.

Open a Wise multi-currency account and you can get an international debit card, which is the perfect way to pay your road tax online in GBP. It automatically converts currency at the mid-market rate and charges no foreign transaction fees, so you’ll get the best deal.

And if you travel regularly, you can even set up Direct Debits to cover things like road tax.

Join Wise today

And that’s all there is to it. If you have the right documents ready, you should find it quick and easy to pay your road tax - whether you choose to pay online or at the Post Office. Happy motoring!

Sources used for this article:

  1. AA - vehicle excise duty
  2. - vehicle tax rate tables
  3. - vehicle tax

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 Wise Payments 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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