How to tax a car without a V5C logbook

    The V5C logbook is the most important piece of paperwork for car owners in the United Kingdom. Also known as your vehicle’s registration document, vehicle logbook, or simply the V5 form, this document contains essential information about your car or van. 

    The V5C logbook records the official keeper of the vehicle and registers it with the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The logbook also contains the latest details about your vehicle, and tracks both its registration and taxation over time. 

    As this document is key to understanding a vehicle’s history and condition, not having a V5C logbook can impact your vehicle’s resale value if and when you choose to sell your car.

    That being said, misplacing or losing your V5C logbook isn’t the end of the world. Whether you’ve bought a car without paperwork or misplaced your existing logbook, we break down ways to legally tax your car without a V5C logbook.

    What is a V5C logbook?

    Issued by the DVLA, the V5C logbook serves as the official registration certificate for your vehicle. This document records the Registered Keeper of the vehicle; legally, this is the person (or business) in charge of registering and taxing the car, not necessarily the vehicle owner.  

    The V5C logbook includes the following information

    • Date of first vehicle registration
    • Current Registered Keeper
    • Previous Registered Keeper
    • Vehicle details, including the model, vehicle tax class, engine size, VIN, chassis, frame number, and colour
    • Forms to fill out and send to the DVLA if there is a change to the vehicle’s registered keeper or the vehicle itself. These forms also include sections to complete if the car is scrapped, or if it’s permanently exported.

    With all of this important information, the V5C logbook serves four main purposes: 

    1. Acts as legal proof of vehicle ownership – It is a legal requirement for all cars to have up-to-date V5C logbooks. The logbook establishes the registered keeper of the vehicle in the eyes of the law. Insurance providers may also require this ownership information to continue coverage or process claims. For more on the differences between registered keepers and legal owners, see our guide on proof of ownership.

    2. Essential for transactions – The V5C logbook helps facilitate smooth vehicle sales by verifying ownership, condition, and preventing possible fraud. New registered keepers will be listed in the V5C logbook. While it is possible to sell a vehicle without a V5C logbook, it will be much more difficult and you cannot do this on Motorway. 

    3. Required for taxing the vehicle – Your logbook details your car’s tax class and other crucial details needed for paying car tax. Without this paperwork, you risk improperly taxing your vehicle (or not taxing it at all), which can lead to fines and penalties including clamping or towing. 

    4. Aids in vehicle identification and security – The V5C logbook notes changes in vehicle ownership and significant alternations and repairs, both of which help prevent theft and fraud.

    The V5C logbook contains essential information about your vehicle, including its tax class.

    What is road tax? 

    All cars operating on UK public roads must pay a tax to contribute towards motorway maintenance and other associated costs. Paying the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) – more commonly known as the car tax or road tax – is a legal requirement for all drivers, no matter how much (or how little) you drive your vehicle.

    Your annual road tax depends on which VED band your vehicle falls into. Car tax bands are largely based on vehicle registration date, CO2 emissions, and fuel type. Here are the main car tax bands in the UK

    • Cars registered before 1st March 2001
    • Cars registered between 1st March 2001 and 31st March 2017
    • Cars registered between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2025

    Not sure where your vehicle falls? Read our ultimate road tax guide for more details, exact taxation fees, and a list of taxation exemptions

    From 1st April 2025, VED rates for all new cars will be simplified into two categories in the first year and one standard rate from the second year onwards. Beginning in April 2025, electric vehicles (EVs) will also be required to pay road tax after their second year of registration.

    Road tax payment options include annual, six-monthly, and direct debit, with new vehicle owners able to use the V5C/2 for a one-time payment.

    Car tax without a V5C logbook

    It is still possible to pay your annual car tax if you’ve misplaced your V5C logbook.

    1️⃣ Order replacement V5C logbook

    Can’t find any documentation for your vehicle, including its V5C logbook? Don’t panic. You can still properly register and tax your car or van. 

    The first step you should take is to apply for a replacement V5C logbook. Even if you’ve lost all documentation for your vehicle, you can still apply for a duplicate V5C from the DVLA either online or by phone, as long as you do not require any changes to your V5C logbook. 

    To apply for a replacement, you must be the vehicle’s registered keeper (as noted on the V5C logbook). Online, you will need to fill out the V5C registration certification application, also called Form V62. On Form V62, note the vehicle’s reg number, vehicle identification number (VIN) or chassis number, your name and postcode as registered on your misplaced V5C, and any other relevant information. 

    If applying via phone, you will need to share the above information with the DVLA representative. 

    Replacement V5C logbook services cost £25, which can be paid online or via cheque or postal order made payable to ‘DVLA Swansea’.

    Your replacement V5C will be mailed to the address which the DVLA has on record, typically within five working days if ordered online, or four weeks if ordered via phone. 

    Remember: the above is only if you need a duplicate V5C logbook. If you require a new logbook with updated information, follow the DVLA’s alternative directions.

    2️⃣ Pay car tax while waiting for replacement V5C logbook

    You can tax your vehicle online, over the phone, or at the post office even without your V5C logbook:

    • Online – To pay your vehicle’s car tax online, you will need its 11-digit reference number. While this number can be found in your V5C logbook, it is also located on the vehicle tax reminders or ‘last chance’ warning letters from the DVLA and on the green ‘new keeper’ slip (also known as the V5C/2 ‘new keeper supplement’) provided when you buy a vehicle. Using this 11-digit number, proceed to follow the DVLA taxing process as normal.
    • Over the phone – If you have your 11-digit vehicle reference number, you can also pay your car tax over the phone by calling the DVLA vehicle tax service on their 24-hour service line at 0300 123 4321. To note: call charging rates may apply and you cannot pay via direct debit over the phone.
    • At the post office – Finally, you can tax your car at a post office that deals with vehicle tax. You will need either the V5C logbook in your name or the green ‘new keeper’ slip with the vehicle’s 11-digit reference number. In Northern Ireland, you will also need an insurance certificate and an original MOT test certificate.
    • Online while applying for a duplicate V5C logbook – Alternatively, if you do not possess any other documents containing your vehicle reference number, you will need to apply for a new V5C logbook per step one above. You can tax your vehicle during this replacement application process. 


    Can I drive my car while waiting for the replacement V5C?

    Yes, you can drive your car while waiting for the replacement V5C. The DVLA advises keeping a copy of the V5C/2 (new keeper supplement) or V5C/3 (temporary registration certificate) in the vehicle, along with a valid MOT certificate.

    How long does it take to receive a new V5C?

    It typically takes four to six weeks to receive a new V5C after applying to the DVLA. However, this timeframe can vary depending on factors such as processing times and postal delivery.

    How do I check how much tax to pay on my car?

    TotalCarCheck’s free and easy vehicle check tells you the exact tax amount for your vehicle, and when the tax is next due. All you have to do is enter your reg on their homepage, and scroll down to see your car’s tax info, MOT status, and much more.

    Another alternative way to check your road tax level is by checking Regit. Find out more about how to check your tax status in our guide to running a car tax check.

    Are there any penalties for late car tax renewal?

    It’s an offence to leave your vehicle untaxed, and the DVLA will issue you a Late Licensing Penalty (LLP), with a fine of £80. The fine is reduced by half to £40 when you pay within 33 days. LLPs, and all other DVLA fines and penalties in general, get sent to the registered keeper of a vehicle. Depending on what your tax rate is, the penalty could be even higher than your tax due. 

    Driving with an untaxed vehicle can also result in additional fines, clamping, or even vehicle seizure.

    Do I need to display a car tax disk in my windscreen?

    No! As of October 1st 2014, you are no longer required to display a tax disc in your windscreen. The DVLA now uses their database to check who has paid and who has not.

    How can I track the value of my car?

    If you’re not sure what your car’s value is to begin with, it’s hard to know how much missing documents might take off the price.

    All vehicles depreciate at varying rates, with no rule of averages accurately describing any one car’s changing value. Motorway’s Car Value Tracker provides a free, reliable monthly price alert for up to six vehicles at once. 

    Follow changes to your car’s value to choose the best time to sell, and make informed choices about investments in your car’s maintenance.

    Ready to sell?

    Need to sell your car, or want to understand more about documentation or maintenance? Check out more of our guides here, covering everything from the paperwork you need when buying and selling, to various notices you may need to file with the UK’s driver and vehicle licensing agency.