Vehicle tax: what to do when you buy or sell a vehicle

When you buy a vehicle, the tax or SORN doesn’t come with it.

You need to tax a vehicle before driving it. That includes driving home from a dealer’s forecourt or a private seller’s home.

You must also have motor insurance before using a vehicle on a public road.

How to tax a vehicle you’ve just bought

When you tax a vehicle, you’ll need either your:

  • log book (V5C) if the vehicle is registered in your name - use the 11 digit reference number
  • new keeper supplement slip (V5C/2) if you’ve just bought the vehicle or the vehicle isn’t registered in your name - use the 12 digit reference number

You can’t use the seller’s V11 tax reminder.

You can tax a vehicle online, at your local Post Office or over the phone.

Northern Ireland

If you’re a new keeper in Northern Ireland, you need to tax your vehicle at a Post Office branch that deals with vehicle tax. You’ll need an insurance certificate or cover note.

Selling and transferring ownership of a vehicle

The tax or SORN isn’t passed on when you sell a vehicle or transfer ownership to someone else. This includes giving it to a member of your family.

You must tell DVLA when you sell or give away a vehicle. A logbook (V5C) will be sent to the new owner and you’ll get a vehicle tax refund by cheque for any remaining months.

Vehicle tax refunds

You’ll get an automatic tax refund, and your Direct Debit (if you have one) will be cancelled when you tell DVLA that you’ve:

You’ll usually get the refund in 4 to 6 weeks.