If you are driving a car on public roads in the UK then you are legally obliged to pay road tax (also known as Vehicle Excise Duty) and to demonstrate that you have paid it by displaying a road tax disc on the left hand side of your windscreen. Road tax is usually paid once a year for the year ahead.
But, this means that if you have recently taken the car off the road or if it has changed ownership then you may have paid road tax for a period during which your car was not being taxed. For instance, if you paid road tax in April and sold your car in September you will only have been using your car for five months of the twelve for which you have paid tax. In order to fix this, the DVLA allow you to apply for a road tax refund in certain situations.
To make sure that you refunded the full amount you will need to apply for your refund before the first day of the month that you want your refund to begin. Moreover, only the current owner or the owner previous to the current owner of a car can apply for vehicle tax so it is important to apply with relative speed after selling.
When can I apply for a road tax refund?
The most common reason for applying for a road tax refund is when you have sold your car. Once the car is no longer under your ownership the responsibility for paying road tax on it changes from you to the new buyer. Road tax is not transferable between cars so you will need to cancel and claim a refund on your existing road tax and, if you are purchasing or using a new car, pay road tax for that separately.
Equally, when you transfer the ownership of a car to another individual rather than selling it you must apply for a road tax refund and renew the road tax in the name of the new owner. If your car is being scrapped you will be eligible for a road tax refund and, also, if your car is being exported to another country where you will not pay UK tax. Owners of stolen and un-recovered cars will need to apply for a road tax refund.
Sometimes a car is re-taxed within a tax year and placed in a tax class that does not require any payment to be made. This is often the case with disabled drivers who are receiving either Disability Living Allowance or War Pensioners Mobility Supplement.
Alternatively, some owners choose to take a car off the road for a period of time, either for repairs or because they have simply decided not to drive it on UK roads. The official way of doing this is to issue a SORN (Statutory Off road Notification) to the DVLA after which you will also be eligible for the same refund as if you had sold your car.
How to Apply if You Still Have Your Tax Disc
If you still have your tax disc you can apply for a refund by filling in form V14 'Application for a refund of vehicle tax when you have the tax disc' which can be found here. After filling this form out online you must print and sign it before attaching your tax disc and posting it to the DVLA at its Swansea address: Swansea, SA99 1AL
If you prefer to fill out forms by hand it is possible to download the form and print it from here. Alternatively, it is possible to obtain these from many Post Offices. Once filled in and signed you must attach the tax disc and post to the address mentioned above.
How to Apply if You No Longer Have Your Tax Disc
There is a separate road tax refund form for those whose tax disc has gone missing, either by having been lost or stolen. The form in question is form V33 “Application for a refund of vehicle tax when the tax disc is missing” and must be obtained differently as well as posted to a different address.
The only way to obtain a V33 form is to phone DVLA's Customer Enquiries hotline on 0300 790 6802 or by using the phone in your local DVLA office. There are thirty one local offices in England, three in Wales and five in Scotland. To find your local office look here. Once you have obtained this form it will need to be sent specifically to: Refund Section, DVLA, Swansea SA99 1AL.
If your car has been stolen
In the event that you are applying for a road tax refund because your car has been stolen you will need to provide the police crime reference number and details of the crime on your V33 form. Many stolen cars are recovered within a few days of their being stolen so, just to be sure, it is usually best to wait at least a week before you apply for a road tax refund. Occasionally the DVLA will return your application to you if you have not waited a minimum of seven days.
Reasons your application might be rejected
One common reason for an application for a road tax refund being rejected is that the details on your application do not exactly match your log book (also known as your V5C) and if your name has changed since you have not provided the proper documentation to demonstrate this.
If your vehicle has been stolen and you are applying for the refund too soon then, as mentioned above, this may result in your application rejected. Also, if you are having your vehicle's registration number transferred then this needs to take place before the tax refund can be processed.
Content by Robert Prime