What is a car tax refund?

A car tax refund (or DVLA road tax refund) is given to you by the DVLA in circumstances where you a due a refund of the car tax you have already paid.

Car tax is officially called vehicle excise duty or VED for short and is administered by the government body called the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Association (or DVLA).

The refund you receive is from the vehicle excise duty (VED) that you have already paid when you initially taxed your car.

A DVLA car tax refund is paid in full months only and not partial months and for this reason it is recommended that you start cancelling your road tax as soon as you can.

Why would I be due a car tax refund?

The most common reasons why you will be due a road tax refund is when you sell your car or take your car off the road.

Road tax refund example:

If you paid for a full years DVLA road tax and you sold your car after six months you should be entitled to the remaining six months road tax back as a refund because you no longer own the car.

In this example the six months road tax refund will be repaid when the DVLA has been told about the car being sold.

How do I claim car tax back?

The way in which you claim your car tax back depends on your circumstances and the DVLA has set up a different application process to follow either online or by post.

We’ve listed below the most common situations that result in you being owed a road tax refund and links to start your cancelling car tax application:

  • You are selling or transferring ownership of you car

Cancelling car tax online is the easiest process to follow to get your refund when selling or transferring ownership.

A DVLA cheque will be sent to you after the cancellation process.

  • Your car has been stolen

The police will tell the DVLA your car has been stolen but should be report it to the DVLA as well.

  • You are taking your car off the road

A statutory off road notification (SORN) will have to be completed. A DVLA cheque will be posted to you after the SORN has been accepted.

  • You have modified your vehicle

If you have made a modification to your car that changes your car’s tax band you will need to follow the DVLA change your cars class process.

  • You are scrapping your car

A car that is being scrapped has to be declared by completing the DVLA scrapping your vehicle and insurance offs process.

Cancelling road tax timescales

In standard cases a road tax refund should be received by cheque through the post within 8 weeks from your submission.

The cheque can be cashed using your online banking app to save you time in having to visit your bank in person.

How much DVLA tax refund will I be due?

The DVLA will repay you any VED tax remaining on your in full (not partial) months only.

If you have set up a direct debit to pay your car tax this should be stopped automatically by the DVLA with any direct debit payments received by the DVLA after your application refunded in due course.

Car tax and your new car

When you buy a new car (this includes buying used or transferring ownership) you need to buy new car tax. Your new car has to be taxed before you drive it and you can’t transfer any car tax paid by the previous owner or your own previous car.

Your new car should come with the new keeper supplement (V5C/2) which is an official DVLA form. You will need the 11 digit reference number from the V5C/2 to apply for your new car tax.

The quickest way to process your new car tax application is online through the DVLA website.

You can apply by calling the DVLA on 0300 123 4321 or you can visit a Post Office to do it in person (having your V5C/2 with you is recommended).

How do I contact the DVLA?

The DVLA make themselves available in all the usual ways and you can use our DVLA guide to find out more about the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency.

We have listed below the DVLA contact information if you need support with cancelling your car tax.

DVLA website

DVLA online 

DVLA phone number:

Telephone: 0300 123 4321

DVLA address:

Refund Section
SA99 1AL


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