This article aims to answer the question of what tax class is by elaborating on the vehicle classification system in the UK. To discuss the topic in detail, we will also explore the impact of tax class on your Vehicle Excise Duty as well as how the tax class for a vehicle can be changed if need be.

What Is Tax Class?

Tax class is the classification of vehicles based on their construction and purpose of use so that the amount of tax due on them can be determined. 

The main tax classes for vehicles in the UK include the following:

  • Private/Light Goods include vehicles registered before 1st March 2001. It covers private motor cars, goods vehicles that are not more than 3,500kg in revenue weight, vehicles that are used for “private” (this means non-trade or business) purposes, including 3-wheeled vehicles which are over 450kg unladen.
  • Petrol Car includes passenger vehicles that belong in the M1 category with petrol propulsion. In this case, the vehicle tax rates are based on the vehicle’s CO2 emission value. However, vehicles with an original list price of over £40,000 are levied with an additional rate for five years after the end of the first licence.
  • Diesel Car includes passenger vehicles that belong in the M1 category with either gas, gas bi-fuel, hybrid electric, gas diesel or electric diesel. propulsion. In this case, the vehicle tax rates are based on the vehicle’s CO2 emission value. However, vehicles with an original list price of over £40,000 are levied with an additional rate for five years after the end of the first licence.
  • Alternative Fuel Car includes passenger vehicles that belong in the M1* category with petrol propulsion. In this case, the vehicle tax rates are based on the vehicle’s CO2 emission value. However, vehicles with an original list price of over £40,000 are levied with an additional rate for five years after the end of the first licence.
  • Light Goods Vehicle includes vehicles designed to carry goods and not exceed 3,500kg revenue weight. It also caters to 3-wheeled vehicles that are over 450kg unladen.
  • Euro 4 Light Goods Vehicle includes those designed to carry goods and do not exceed 3,500kg revenue weight. It also includes 3-wheeled vehicles over 450kg unladen that meet Euro 4 emission standards.
  • Euro 5 Light Goods Vehicle includes vehicles that are designed to carry goods. They should not exceed 3,500kg revenue weight and can include 3-wheeled vehicles over
  • 450kg unladen. The vehicles should meet Euro 5 emission standards and their propulsion must be diesel.
  • Heavy Goods Vehicle includes general goods carrying vehicles that have a revenue weight exceeding 3,500kg.
  • Private/Heavy Goods include privately used vehicle goods vehicles that have a revenue weight exceeding 3,500kg.
  • Special Types include vehicles that carry or haul exceptional loads under a Special Types General Order or an individual order.
  • Haulage Vehicles include vehicles constructed and used solely for haulage.
  • Buses include all types of buses, coaches and public service vehicles that have 9 or more passenger seats.
  • Motorcycle includes both motor bicycles and motorcycles under 450kg unladen.
  • Electric Motorcycle includes electrically propelled bicycles and tricycles.
  • Small Island Vehicles include goods vehicles that are based and used on certain offshore islands.
  • Special Vehicles such as mobile cranes, mobile pumps, digging machines, work trucks, road rollers, showman’s HGV and showman’s haulage.
  • Rescue Vehicle includes vehicles intended for rescue or recovery and breakdown trucks over 3,500kg revenue weight.
  • Special Concessionary includes agricultural machines, mowing machines, electric, gritter, snowplough and steam vehicles.
  • Emergency Vehicle includes ambulances, fire engines, fire service, mine rescue, lifeboat haulage, lighthouse authority, and police cars.
  • Exempt Vehicle includes “limited use” vehicles such as those used by a disabled person, Disabled Passenger Vehicle, Historic vehicles, National Health Service vehicles or Crown vehicles.

How Is Tax Class Calculated?

Tax Class is calculated based on two factors; that includes the following:

  • engine type of the vehicle which determines the type of fuel the vehicle consumes
  • co2 emissions of the vehicle ( calculated separately for the first year of registration and then for subsequent years).

Your first tax payment for the next 12 months after registering your vehicle can be classified as per the below table:

CO2 Emissions (g/km)Diesel Cars (TC49)Petrol Cars (TC48)(GBP)All Other Diesel Cars(GBP)Alternative Fuel Cars (TC59)(GBP)
0000
1-5010250
51-752511515
76-90115140105
91-100140160130
101-110160180150
111-130180220170
131-150220555210
151-170555895545
171-1908951,345885
191-2251,3451,9101,335
226-2551,9102.2451,900
Over 2552,2452.2452,235

From the second year onwards, your car tax payments will be classified as follows:

Fuel typeSingle 12 month paymentSingle 12 month payment by Direct DebitTotal of 12 monthly payments by Direct DebitSingle 6 month paymentSingle 6 month payment by Direct Debit
Petrol or Diesel£155£155£162.75£85.25£81.38
Electric£0N/AN/AN/AN/A
Alternative£145£145£152.25£79.75£76.13

Alternative fuel vehicles include hybrids, bioethanol and liquid petroleum gas.

If your vehicle has a list price above £40,000, you will have to pay an additional £335 annually for years, starting from the second year of the vehicle’s registration. If your vehicle is a zero-emission one, you will not have to pay this amount.

Can A Vehicle’s Tax Class Be Changed?

Yes, a vehicle’s tax class can be changed if need be. You can change your vehicle tax class using a form V62 at the local post office that deals with car taxes under the following conditions:

  • you have received a V11 reminder letter from the DVLA to pay your car tax
  • your car tax is about to run out and you have received a “last chance” warning letter from the DVLA
  • you are changing the tax class from non-exemption to exemption or vice versa (this may be due to eligibility for the disabled tax class)

However, if the reason for changing your vehicle’s tax class is any of the following, you will need to apply for it through the post and use a form V70 for the purpose:

  • the purpose or use of the vehicle has changed
  • the body type of the vehicle has changed
  • the structure of the vehicle has changed

You can change the tax class of your car if it came with a Disabled Tax classification when you made the purchase but it is no longer applicable now. For this purpose, you will have to visit a local post office that deals with car taxes and apply for a change of tax class for your vehicle by filling out and submitting form V70.

On the other hand, if you wish to have your tax classed in the Disabled Tax category, and you need to apply for a Disabled Tax for the first time, you will need to carry the following list of documents to the post office with you as apply for a change of tax class:

  • completed application for a Vehicle Registration Certificate (V62)
  • Vehicle Registration Certificate (V5C logbook) or the V5C/2 (nominated driver details)
  • certificate of Entitlement to DLA, PIP, AFIP or WPMS

Conclusion:

The above discussion has clearly explained the concept and classification of tax class applicable to vehicles in the UK. Once a vehicle is assigned a tax class based on its construction and use, it forms the basis for the vehicle excise duty due on the vehicle.

References:

Notes about tax classes

Change vehicle tax class