Taxing your car – owning a car in the UK

Every year in the UK, you have to tax your car. In return for some money, you get a tax disc, which you are required to display in your windscreen. (Cars in the UK without tax discs look odd, they look like there’s something missing, but you can’t quite put your finger on it.)

Tax discs change colour every year. They say the month and year on them. My car tax is up at the end of December every year. My tax disk costs (I think) £160 per year.

Renewing your tax can be a bit of a pain. You have to go to a certain kind of post office or a tax office, show them your filled-in tax application form, your insurance certificate and your MOT certificate, and give them some money. And they give you a tax disc.

I believe you can do it by post. If you car is less than four years old, you don’t need an MOT certificate.

Brand new cars typically come pre-taxed, I believe. BUT they won’t let you drive away your new car unless you can prove you have insurance.

When you buy a second-hand car, of course, nobody cares whether you’re insured or not.  Many second-hand cars that you might buy are “out of tax”, and it’s not like you can go tax it straight away: you need an insurance certificate first.  Which is annoying. You typically end up driving a car with no tax for a week or two. And hoping that it doesn’t get towed away and impounded. (It’s theoretically possible, but pretty unlikely!) I reckon it’s down to the motoring lobby wanting you to buy a brand new car.


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