17th July 2024

Vehicle Tax Exemption Explained

Taxing a historic vehicle or paying Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), otherwise known as road tax, has become more cost-effective for owners of older classic vehicles in recent years. The first wave of rolling vehicle tax exemption was abolished in 1997, meaning that for the next 18 years most owners of a classic vehicle built after 1 January 1973 were not entitled to free road tax.

That was until the 2015 budget, when the UK Government introduced rolling vehicle tax exemption once again. This applies from the start of each financial year (1 April) for vehicles manufactured more than 40 years before 1 January of that year. In 2024, eligible classic vehicles exempt from road tax must have been built before January 1984 and be registered with the DVLA under historic status.

Classic vehicle owners received another cost-saving benefit from the UK Government in 2018, in the form of the current rolling MOT exemption age law. Previously only vehicles manufactured before 1960 were MOT exempt but these rules have now been brought in line with vehicles built more than 40 years ago, which also qualify for road tax exemption.

It’s important to remember that simply waiting for your classic vehicle to turn 40 will not result in automatic tax and MOT exempt status. To apply for free road tax and classic vehicle MOT exemption from 1 April, you must be able to prove your vehicle’s road tax exemption age – that it was built more than 40 years before 1 January of that year.

To register your classic vehicle as historic, you’ll need to change the V5C registration document. This involves completing ‘section 7’ of the V5C/logbook to change the vehicle class from ‘PLG’ (Private Light Goods) to ‘Historic.’ Take the updated V5C, a valid MOT certificate and a completed V10 tax request form to your local post office, where someone can make the necessary checks and process your historic vehicle tax exemption request. 

After your first year of classic vehicle tax exemption, you will still receive an annual V11D road tax reminder from the DVLA, as with any other privately owned vehicle. You won’t need to pay, but you will still need confirm that your historic vehicle is still either roadworthy and in use, or off the road with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). You can do this via the DVLA website, at your local post office or over the phone.

Now that you understand vehicle tax exemption, how about brushing up your knowledge of classic vehicle storage tips, how to prevent salt damage and seat belt laws?

If classic bikes are more your thing find out more about a Footman James policy or get an instant quote online by visiting our Classic Bike Insurance page.

My 1958 Norton Dominator has not been taxed since I bought it in 2011. Have I done wrong by not applying for tax exemption? The tax office has never asked me to tax it or mot it. But thanks for the advice about re regret it as Historic. Thanks Jerry.

Jerry, 30/01/2023

There is one slight addition to your information. If you just have a great of manufacturer then the build year can be used so you can get an exemption at the start of the year rather than the end.

NLEMECFC, 30/01/2023

I wonder how I find out when my car was built e.g. left the assembly line in Germany. Do the DVLA mean Vehicle detail 4B from the V5C which is Date of first registration (anywhere)?

Registration 40, 30/01/2023