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  • What Vehicles Cost Nothing To Tax?

What Vehicles Cost Nothing To Tax?

  • Published: 2 February 2023
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While paying tax on pretty much everything can feel somewhat unavoidable, if you choose your car carefully, you could enjoy a road tax bill of…well, nothing! Road tax, or Vehicle Excise Duty, as it is officially known, is used to fund projects in the public interest, which can include the maintenance of the UK’s road network, and for some vehicles, it costs £0… 

Do you still have to tax your vehicle if there’s nothing to pay? 

It’s important to stress that while there may not be a cost associated with taxing your vehicle in some cases, there will always be some admin. You must still apply for annual car tax regardless of whether you need to pay or not, and failure to do so will see you flagged up on ANPR systems and facing financial penalties. 

How is road tax calculated?

How much you pay for your road tax depends on when it was registered, and the emissions it produces. Overall, there are thirteen different tax bands into which your vehicle can fit, and these begin at £0 for emissions of 0g/km, and go up to £2,365 for vehicles that produce emissions of more than 255g/km. 

It’s clear to see how the Government encouraged the purchase of vehicles with low emissions, with higher-polluting vehicles being taxed more heavily than those producing fewer CO2 emissions. 

You can find full up-to-date road tax bracket information on the Government website

What vehicles are tax-exempt? 

In addition to the vehicles that produce no or very low emissions, there are some other vehicle types that don’t require you to reach into your pocket at tax renewal time. Here they are in full…

Vehicles used by and for disabled people 

If you’re a disabled person with a vehicle, you’re able to apply for a disability exemption when it comes to taxing your vehicle. It’s not something that gets applied automatically, so you’ll need to find out if you’re eligible and how to claim

In a similar vein, vehicles that are used by organisations to transport disabled people as passengers are also exempt from paying road tax, although this doesn’t include ambulances. 

Mobility vehicles 

If a mobility vehicle (such as those ride-on scooters that you sometimes see out and about) is limited to 8MPH, and fitted with a device that limits them to 4MPH on footways, then they’re exempt from paying tax. This includes powered wheelchairs.

Vehicles used for agriculture, horticulture and forestry

Doing a spot of industrial-style gardening? Vehicles such as tractors, agricultural engines, and light agricultural vehicles used off-road don’t need to pay road tax -  this includes ride-on mowers. 

If you drive a ‘limited use’ vehicle on a public road, providing it’s only for short journeys (no more than 1.5km)  between land that’s used by the same person, you won’t need to pay tax on that either. 

Historic vehicles 

Got a classic or historic vehicle over 40 years old? The likelihood is that you don’t need to pay vehicle tax. Currently, if your vehicle was built before 1 January 1982, your vehicle tax will be £0, and on 1st April 2023, this will apply to vehicles built before 1983 too; it rolls on from year to year. 

Steam vehicles 

Whilst steam-powered vehicles aren’t exactly a typical sight on British roads, they’re not completely extinct, and those that are around aren’t obligated to pay for their road tax when they are travelling to a show or an exhibition. 

Vehicles that have been declared as ‘off the road’ 

If your vehicle is being taken off the road to be kept on private land or in a garage, you can declare it as such and officially tell the DVLA with a Statutory Off Road Notification. You must make a SORN if…

  • your vehicle is not taxed
  • your vehicle is not insured, even if it’s just because there’s a short delay in renewing your policy
  • you’re scrapping the vehicle but you want to break it down for parts first 
  • you buy or receive a vehicle that is going to be kept off the road. If the vehicle had a SORN made by the previous owner, it cannot be transferred

It’s free to SORN a car, so you won’t need to pay like you may have to if you tax the vehicle. 

Electric vehicles (for now)

If you weren’t already aware, electric vehicle tax is changing in 2025 and will have a cost attached to it, but for now, if your car doesn’t produce emissions because it’s battery-powered, it’s £0 per year! 

We talked recently about the ways in which electric vehicle tax will change in the future in a blog post last month, so give that a read if it’s likely to affect you in the future. 

Find vehicles that cost nothing to tax at EMG 

When you’re looking for your next used car, we make it really easy to filter cars by their tax rate, which means you can see all our current used vehicles that won’t currently cost you a penny in tax. Take a look at tax-exempt cars at EMG today.