Tax and MOT

Every vehicle which is registered in the UK must be taxed if you want to use it or keep it on a public road. If the vehicle is kept off-road then it must either be taxed or be declared SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification).

Getting an MOT

MOT Certification Sign

An MOT certification is used to confirm that your vehicle has met the safety and environmental standards required to drive on the road and is a requirement for most vehicles once they reach three years old. The test itself is designed to look at numerous factors that could potentially endanger yourself, other motorists as well as our environment if your vehicle is not roadworthy.

Once your car reaches 3 years old, you must have your car MOT tested annually. You must always MOT your car when it is due because if you are involved in an accident and need to make a claim, your car insurance provider will need to see your MOT certificate. If you have not had your car MOT tested you risk your insurance provider declining your claim as they may argue that they have no proof your vehicle was safe to be on the road. Therefore, it is not worth not having your car MOT tested when it reaches 3 years old.

A range of equipment, specific for MOT testing should be used by the station whilst carrying out vehicle checks, the results of which should be made available to you on request. You can even watch the test from a designated viewing area as long as you don’t interrupt the tester whilst they are performing your MOT checks.

Your vehicle will be tested on the following criteria…

Brakes – The majority of vehicles are placed on a rolling road to test the condition, operations and performance of the brakes.

Tyres and Wheels – Checks are made to determine the condition, security, tyre size and type as well as tread depth of the tyres. This test excludes spare tyres.

Bodywork – Your vehicles body and structure are checked to ensure it’s free from excessive corrosion and damage that could have resulted in sharp edges in the bodywork.

Windscreen – Mechanics look at the condition of the windscreen e.g. are there any cracks or chips in the windscreen and is the driver’s ability to view the road impaired because of the cracks.

Fuel System – Checks are made to ensure there are no leaks anywhere in the system and that the fuel cap seals correctly.

Exhaust System & Emissions – The exhaust system itself is checked to ensure there are no serious leaks and that it also silences effectively. On top of this your vehicles emission levels are also measured to check they meet the requirements for the age and fuel type of your vehicle.

The Seats and Seat Belts – All seats must be secured in the upright position and the front seats must be securely fitted.

Doors – The front doors of your vehicle will be checked to ensure they open and close correctly and that the latch is secure when closed.

Mirrors – Your vehicle should have the minimum amount of required mirrors which will all be checked for condition and security.

Load Security – The boot or tailgate needs to be secure when closed.

Registration Plates – This test looks to ensure your vehicles registration plates are secure, legible and have the right format of letters and numbers as well as the overall condition of the plates.

Lights – Checks involve looking at the condition, colour and operation of your vehicle’s lights. The aim of the headlamp is also checked.

Wipers and Washers – The wipers and washers will be checked to be ensure they perform properly giving the driver a clear view of the road ahead.

Horn – Your horn type and effectiveness will be checked during the MOT test.

Steering and Suspension – The condition and the operation of your vehicles steering and suspension will be checked.

Vehicle Identification Number – More commonly referred to as the VIN, this test will check to see if the number is correct and displayed legibly.

Taxing your vehicle

Every vehicle that is not declared off the road needs a tax disc. This tax disc will need to be renewed annually to pay for your road tax. If you do not use your car and do not need road tax then you will need to declare your car as SORN.

How much does vehicle tax cost?

Vehicle tax will vary and it depends on factors such as, the age of your vehicle, CO2 emmissions, and engine size. Your vehicle will be given a tax band, and you can then buy tax for either 12 months or for some bands 6 months. To see more information about the different tax bands take a look at the DVLAs website here.

What do I need to tax my vehicle?

In order to tax your vehicle you will need the following:

  • A completed V11 reminder or V10 (application for a tax disc),
  • Your registration certificate, V5C, or New Keeper section if you’re using a V10,
  • A completed V62 (Application for a Vehicle Registration Certificate V5C) if you don’t have a registration certificate,
  • An MOT test certificate (only if your car or motorcycle is over three years old),
  • Insurance that covers you against third part claims for death or injury and damage to property caused by using the vehicle,
  • The payment for vehicle tax (not needed if your vehicle is exempt from paying vehicle tax).

Taxing my vehicle with a V11 reminder

You should receive a V11 reminder from the DVLA about three weeks before your tax disc is due to expire. With this reminder you can apply for a new tax disc online, by phone, by post or at a Post Office branch which issues tax discs.

Online or by Phone

You will need ready to hand the 16 digit reference number on your V11 reminder letter, or the 11 digit reference number on the front of your Registration Certificate and you vehicle registration number, for disability exemption (your DLA404, Certificate of Entitlement, MHS330 or WPA0442) and your credit or debit card. (a £2.50 charge applies when using a credit card)

You must also make sure that your vehicle has a valid MOT and insurance on the date the tax comes into force. Then visit the DVLA website here.

By post or at a Post Office branch

You will need to take or send the following items to get a new tax disc, the completed V11 reminder, insurance certificate (must be valid when tax disc starts), valid MOT certificate (if the vehicle is over 3 years old) and the payment shown on the reminder (not if you are exempt from paying). The V11 will then be returned to you when the tax disc is issued.

Displaying your tax disc

If your vehicle is taxed then you must display the tax disc on the passenger side of the vehicle’s windscreen, for motorcycles or sidecars without a windscreen you should display the tax disc on the kerb side of the vehicle. The tax disc must be displayed on the vehicle it was bought for, it can not be transferred between vehicles. You should not display a new tax disc until the old one expires, a new tax disc is valid from the 1st of the month you have taxed from.

I’ve paid for my tax disc and it hasn’t arrived yet?

If you are using the electronic vehicle licensing service, or tax by post at the end of the month, there is now an exemption for not displaying your tax disc for the first five working days of the month to allow time for the new disc to arrive in the post. This exemption only applies if applications are made before the current tax disc or SORN expires.

Do I need to declare my vehicle as SORN?

If your vehicle is not taxed but you want to keep it off-road, it must have a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) in force. SORN applies to all vehicles tax classes including historic and disables tax classes.

You must declare your vehicle as SORN if any of the following apply:

  • You do not renew your vehicle tax and you are keeping the vehicle off road,
  • You are applying for a refund of vehicle tax and keeping the vehicle off road,
  • You have bought an untaxed vehicle and do not tax it,
  • Every 12 months if you continue to keep your vehicle off the public roads,
  • If you are going abroad and your vehicle is being kept off road in the UK you must declare it SORN in advance.

It is important to note that SORN cannot be backdated and you can only make a SORN from the fifth day of the month in which the current tax disc or SORN is due to expire. A SORN is valid for 12 months unless you tax, sell, permanently export or scrap your vehicle before the period has ended. Like with taxed vehicles you will be sent a V11 reminder to let you know that your SORN is about to expire. You can use this V11 to renew your SORN or re-tax your vehicle if you wish to use it on the road.

I don’t think I need to declare my vehicle as SORN

You do not need to declare the vehicle SORN if any of the following apply:

  • You no longer have the vehicle and the DVLA has been informed.
  • Your insurance company has written off the vehicle.
  • You take the vehicle abroad permanently.

Taxing your vehicle if you’re disabled

There are two reasons you could claim tax exemption for your vehicle, you must be receiving either:

  • Higher rate of mobility component of Disability Living Allowance, for which you’ll either have the exemption certificate DLA 4040 or the Certificate of Entitlement.
  • War Pensioners Mobility Supplement, and you’ll have the exemption certificate WPA0442.

For the exemption to be valid, your certificate must be valid on the day the vehicle tax disc comes into force, and it can only be used to tax one vehicle at a time.

If you are going to tax your vehicle at the Post Office in person, by post, or at a DVLA local office you need to make sure you complete the appropriate sections of your exemption certificate and ensure that you have the certificate stamped by the clerk each time you apply for a free tax disc.

You might need a new tax exemption certificate before you can tax your vehicle if it has expired, you have changed your name or address, or it is full.

When you first tax your car using the disabled tax class you will need to do it either by post or in person at the Post Office. For this you will need you exemption certificate, your full vehicle registration certificate (V5C), insurance documents and MOT certificate. If you are just renewing your disabled tax disc then you can do it online, by phone, by post or at a Post Office branch.