Can You Drive A Car If You Buy It With No Tax?

If you are wondering whether or not you can drive a car that you’ve just bought with no payment made for the vehicle’s road tax, you will find the answer to your question in the following blog post. We will also discuss the consequences of driving an untaxed vehicle on public roads, assess some important points regarding the purchase of a vehicle; as well as review the process for taxing your newly purchased car.

Can You Drive A Car If You Buy It With No Tax?

No, you cannot drive a car if you buy it without paying road tax or vehicle excise duty. Whether you purchase a brand-new car or a used vehicle, it is essential to make sure that your road tax or vehicle excise duty is paid before you drive it on public roads.

If a vehicle owner is found to be driving an untaxed car on public roads, there can be serious consequences that they may have to face. Firstly, they are fined an amount of £80 for driving an untaxed car. If they manage to pay this fine within 28 days of being issued a notice, the amount can be halved to £40. 

However, if a vehicle owner fails to pay a DVLA fine for driving an untaxed car on public roads, their vehicle can be impounded or clamped.

Therefore, it is essential to make sure that when you purchase a car (whether it’s from a car dealer or a private seller), your road tax is duly paid so that you done have to suffer the consequences of driving an untaxed car.

In addition to this, it is advisable to consider the following points prior to purchasing a vehicle with no tax:

  • Assess the overall condition of the car before purchasing it. Buying a car without tax may indicate that it has been unused or neglected, so it’s crucial to thoroughly inspect the vehicle for any potential issues or damage.
  • Ensure you have adequate insurance coverage before driving the car. It is a legal requirement to have at least third-party insurance in the UK.
  • Understand your current and future tax obligations for the car. Vehicle tax needs to be renewed annually, so consider the cost and plan for it in your budget.

What Are Some Points To Consider If You Buy A Car With No Tax?

If you are buying a car with no tax, you will need to consider the following points before driving your car on public roads:

  • Once you have purchased the car, you must tax it immediately before driving it on public roads as failure to do so can result in fines or penalties. 
  • You must assure that the vehicle that you are purchasing is registered in your name before you collect it. If you are registering and taxing a vehicle for the first time, you will need to pay a fee of £55. You can pay this amount via cheque or postal order and send it to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BE.
  • You should determine the most convenient payment method for vehicle tax; be it online, over the phone, or at a post office that deals with vehicle tax and make the payment.
  • It is advisable to obtain the full vehicle history to ensure there are no hidden issues such as outstanding fines, penalties, or previous write-offs. This information can be obtained through a vehicle history check using the car’s registration number.
  • You should ensure that the seller (whether a car dealer or private seller) provides you with the V5C document, also known as the vehicle logbook. This document proves your ownership of the vehicle and is necessary for taxing the car in your name.
  • It is important to verify if there are any outstanding tax payments on the car. If the previous owner hasn’t paid the vehicle tax, it could become your responsibility once you become the new owner. 
  • You may need to consider the timing of your purchase. If you buy a car without tax close to the end of the month, you will need to pay for an entire month’s tax even if you only use the vehicle for a few days. It may be more cost-effective to time your purchase accordingly.
  • To have an estimate of your current and future road tax obligations, you should calculate the vehicle tax cost based on the car’s CO2 emissions and fuel type. You can use the DVLA’s online car tax calculator to determine the amount you will need to pay to tax the car in your name.

How Do You Tax A Car That You’ve Just Bought?

How you tax a car that you’ve just bought depends on whether the vehicle is brand new or used. If you are buying a brand-new car, you will need to follow these steps to tax your car:

  • Register your new car (including imported and new kit cars) with the DVLA by using the V55/4 form available on their website.
  • Provide proof of your name and identity by submitting a copy of your photocard driving license along with the V55/4 form. Alternatively, you can also submit a copy of your birth certificate or passport.
  • To confirm your postal address, include copies of utility bills or council tax bills along with your submission.
  • Once the DVLA processes your application (typically taking 4 to 6 weeks), they will send you the Vehicle Registration Certificate (V5C), which confirms you as the registered keeper of the vehicle.

When dealing with a second-hand car, the previous owner must include your name and other relevant details in the “new keeper” section of the V5C (vehicle logbook) and send it to the Drivers and Vehicles Licensing Agency (DVLA). 

In return, you will receive a green slip that serves as proof of your ownership until the car logbook is updated by the DVLA. During this waiting period, you can utilize the 12-digit reference number on your green slip (also known as the V5C2 reference number) to pay your car tax.

Once the DVLA completes the registration process and issues a new vehicle logbook, you will receive an email notification. Keep in mind that you can only pay your car tax once the vehicle is registered in your name. To prove your ownership, you can provide any of the following documents:

  • V11 reminder notice
  • V62 logbook application form
  • V5C/2 green slip


While it is advisable to make sure that you have a valid car tax when you buy a car, you should keep in mind that you can also arrange to pay your road tax for a newly purchased vehicle on your own. However, you need to make sure that you are not driving it on public roads until you have a valid road tax, or you can be fined by the DVLA.


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