How to cancel your car tax

If you’ve got a new car and sold your old one, or just want to claim back unused tax months, follow these easy steps.

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How to cancel my car tax?

  1. Contact the DVLA. Any change in your vehicle ownership needs to be reported to the DVLA. You can call the DVLA on 0300 790 6802 Monday to Friday between 8am and 7pm, and on Saturday from 8am to 2pm. You can email here, or send a letter to Vehicle Customer Services, DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR.
  2. Check that your tax has been cancelled. Your car tax should be automatically cancelled. If you have direct debits with the DVLA, these will be automatically stopped and your car tax will no longer be valid.
  3. Wait for your refund to come through. You shouldn’t need to do anything, and a refund will come by cheque through the post. If your refund hasn’t come within six weeks, there may be a problem and you should contact the DVLA for an update on your refund.
  4. Check that your payment information is correct. If you have received the cheque, but the information on it is incorrect, return the cheque along with a note providing the correct information and post it to: Refund Section, DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AL.

The whole process can take as little as 10 minutes.

When can I cancel my car tax?

The government website lists these as the only reasons why you might need to cancel your car tax:

  • If your car is sold or transferred to someone else
  • If your car is taken off the road – for example, you’re keeping it in a garage. This is called a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)
  • If your car is written off by your insurance company
  • If your car gets scrapped at a vehicle scrapyard
  • If your car is stolen – you’ll have to apply for a refund separately
  • If your car gets exported out of the UK
  • If your car becomes registered as exempt from vehicle tax

If one of these applies to your car, and it currently has full unused car tax months left on it, you can cancel the tax and get a refund.

How do I cancel my car tax direct debit?

Your direct is automatically cancelled by the DVLA when they receive notification of a change in the vehicle’s registered keeper. You will automatically receive a refund for any full months you have left on your vehicle tax and this refund is calculated from the day that the DVLA receives your information.

Do I need to cancel road tax when I sell my car?

You are no longer able to sell a car with road tax anymore so the existing tax will be cancelled as soon as the DVLA process the change in vehicle ownership. When you sell your car, you need to notify the DVLA immediately (by post or email) when you sell your car or that you’ve transferred it to a new registered keeper.

If you fail to notify the DVLA that you are no longer the owner of the vehicle, you could be in with a hefty fine.

How long does it take to get a car tax refund?

The DVLA will need time to process your application but your car tax refund should take no longer than 6 weeks to come through. You should contact the DVLA if you haven’t received your refund cheque after 6 weeks.

Bottom line

You’ll need to get in touch with the DVLA to cancel your car tax and there are a few options to do this with very little hassle.

And if you have any unused months of car tax remaining, you could be in line for a refund. Winner.

Frequently asked questions

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Written by

Esther Wolffowitz

Esther Wolffowitz was a publisher at specialising in insurance. Esther holds an MSc in Media and Communication Governance from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). See full profile

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14 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    PaulaApril 8, 2019

    Hi. I sold my Talbot express yesterday, how do I cancel the road tax? Thank you.

      JhezelynApril 9, 2019Finder

      Hello Paula,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Once your vehicle is sold or transferred to someone else, you just need to notify the DVLA by post or email, and they will automatically cancel your direct debit (if that’s how you pay).

      Hence, just tell DVLA when you no longer own the vehicle.


    Default Gravatar
    KellyNovember 24, 2018

    How do I cancel a direct debit to reset a new one up.

      CharisseNovember 24, 2018Finder

      Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      Before cancelling, you may want to check with your bank first as your bank might be able to move a Direct Debit from one of your accounts to another if both accounts are with them. If this can be done, you don’t need to tell DVLA or do anything else.

      However, if your bank can’t move the Direct Debit to your new account or the two accounts are with different banks, you need to contact DVLA for further advise on this.

      I hope this helps.


    Default Gravatar
    JOHNNovember 21, 2018

    If I go online to cancel my car tax, can I select the date I want to cancel it from?

      CharisseNovember 21, 2018Finder

      Hi John,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      If you are cancelling your car tax because you are taking it off the road (SORN), you can only choose the start date if you apply by post. If you apply online or by phone, the SORN start date will depend on how you applied for it; either immediately or on the first day of the next month.

      For other vehicle tax cancellation reasons (sold, written off, scrapped, etc.), you do not have an option to choose the start date. You can also visit GOV.UK website for the complete information.

      I hope this helps.


    Default Gravatar
    MugurelNovember 20, 2018

    I sold the car and I sent the book to the post office. How can I delete it from my name?

      CharisseNovember 22, 2018Finder

      Hi Mugurel,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      If you have already completed the process of cancelling your vehicle tax, you’ll get a letter within 4 weeks confirming you’re no longer the keeper of the vehicle.

      The new car owner should also receive an email confirmation (if you gave their email address) and a new log book within 5 working days.

      You can also visit GOV.UK to see the full information on vehicle tax cancellation process.

      I hope this helps.


    Default Gravatar
    YasirSeptember 4, 2018

    Hi. I scrap my Toyota Yaris and wanna cancel my road tax and enter my new car on road tax.

      JhezelynSeptember 5, 2018Finder

      Hello Yasir,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Your road tax will be cancelled by DVLA. If you pay by Direct Debit, this will be cancelled automatically and you’ll get a refund cheque for any full months left on your vehicle tax. The refund is calculated from the date DVLA gets your information.

      To tax your vehicle, you may do it online, by phone or in the post office. Below are the details you may need:
      – 16 digit reference number on your vehicle tax renewal letter (V11)
      – 11 digit reference number on your log book (V5C)
      – Or, if you’ve just bought the vehicle , the 12 digit reference number on your new keeper supplement (V5C/2)

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.


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