How to cancel road tax – the ultimate guide

    Cancelling your road tax can feel daunting. Trying to understand all the DVLA’s rules and regulations, gathering all the necessary documents, and doing all the required admin, can quickly become overwhelming.

    In this article, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to successfully cancel your road tax, covering everything from filling out the V11 form to sending off your documents to the DVLA.

    So, follow along and get ready to experience stress-free road tax cancellation!

    Why do you need road tax?
    How to cancel your road tax
    How much will your tax refund be?
    What to do if you don’t receive your tax refund
    Selling your car?

    The amount you pay in road tax depends on the size and emissions of your vehicle.

    Why do you need road tax?

    Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) – also known as ‘road tax’, ‘vehicle tax’, and ‘car tax’ – was introduced in 1937 and replaced the old system of ‘road tax’, which traces its roots back to the taxation of Hackney carriages in the 1600s.

    Enforced by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), it is a system that requires vehicle owners to pay an annual levy depending on the size and emissions of their vehicles. Paid by drivers in the UK, the tax goes into a governmental ‘consolidated fund’ set up in 1926, by then-Chancellor of the Exchequer, Winston Churchill. It is used for funding local projects, improving the nation’s transport infrastructure, creating better public services, and reducing traffic congestion.

    Car owners in the UK are legally required to pay the road tax in order to drive on public roads. If you do drive on the road without it, you can be fined £80 by the DVLA – though, this fine will typically be halved if paid within 28 days. However, if you’re caught by the police driving an untaxed car in a public area, it can result in you being issued a fixed penalty notice of up to £1,000­ – and your car may be seized!

    There’s more information on how to tax your car in our guide.

    How to cancel your road tax

    In order to cancel your road tax, you must officially inform the DVLA that your vehicle has been one of the following:

    • Sold or transferred to someone else
    • Taken off the road – this is called a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)
    • Written off by your insurance company
    • Scrapped at a vehicle scrapyard
    • Stolen – you’ll have to apply for a refund separately
    • Exported out of the UK
    • Registered as exempt from vehicle tax

    You will also need to provide the DVLA with your name, address, and postcode, plus a valid V5C logbook confirming that you are the registered keeper of the vehicle. You must also provide details of a payment method – such as a credit or debit card – to complete the cancellation process.

    Here is a step-by-step guide on how you cancel your road tax with the DVLA:

    • Check when your current vehicle tax runs out by looking at your V5C logbook or viewing this online at the DVLA website
    • Complete a V11 form which can be found online or at any UK Post Office branch with all relevant information about yourself and your vehicle (make, model, and reg)
    • Submit this form online through the GOV.UK website or by post
    • Wait for confirmation from the DVLA that they have received your cancellation request
    how to cancel road tax
    The old car disk has now been replaced by a digital record system.

    How much will your tax refund be?

    If you usually pay your car tax by Direct Debit, this will be automatically cancelled by the DVLA at your instruction. Once your cancellation has been confirmed, you will automatically be issued a refund cheque for any full months left on your vehicle tax.

    The refund is calculated from the date that the DVLA receives your information – and the cheque you receive with your refund will be sent to the name and address on your V5C logbook. They will not return any owed money back to your bank account.

    If you pay for your road tax on a monthly basis, you will be unlikely to receive a refund, as the DVLA only refunds for complete months.

    There’s more information on car tax refunds here.

    What to do if you don’t receive your tax refund

    After six weeks, if you haven’t received the money you believe you are entitled to from cancelling your road tax, you will need to contact the DVLA directly.  

    To email them, visit the DVLA page on the GOV.UK website and use the agency’s dedicated email service, selecting the email specifically for ‘Vehicle Enquiries’ from the list of options.

    Alternatively, you can call the DVLA on 0300 790 6802. Lines are open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm, and on Saturdays from 8am to 2pm. Note that charges do apply — 10p per minute from a landline and up to 40p per minute from a mobile.

    Finally, if you want to write to the DVLA, you can do so by contacting their Vehicle Customer Service Team at:



    SA99 1AR

    Selling your car?

    If you’re looking to find the best way to go about cancelling your road tax because you’re planning to sell your car – then do it the Motorway way.

    We offer a simple – and completely free – method of getting the best price when selling your car, whatever the model.

    Just enter your reg on the homepage and you will be provided with an instant estimated sale price based on up-to-the-minute market data. We’ll then ask you a few easy questions about your car and guide you through the photos you need to take to complete your vehicle profile. It can be done right from your phone – in a matter of minutes.

    If you choose to enter your car into a daily sale, it will be shown to our nationwide network of more than 5,000 verified dealers looking to add to their stock of used cars. Interested dealers will then compete to buy your car, offering you their best price.

    5,000+ dealers compete to give you their best price every day in our daily sale.

    In as little as 24 hours you will receive your best offer – and, if you choose to go ahead with the sale, your car will be collected for free by the dealer and the money will be quickly and securely transferred to your bank account.

    Need to know more about road tax?

    Check out more of our guides here, covering everything about the admin and paperwork you need to know about when selling your car – to ensure you always stay on the good side of the DVLA and avoid fines!