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How do I reclaim my unused road tax?

In 2014, the DVLA made car tax electronic, meaning you could no longer simply return your tax disc for a refund. As a result, people who are scrapping their car often want to know how to claim back road or car tax and get a refund.

Here, we’ll explain exactly what you need to do to reclaim your road tax when you scrap your car.

Getting a refund of road tax when you scrap your car

When you scrap your car, it’s important you contact the DVLA to arrange a car/road tax refund. You should aim to do this as soon as possible after your car has been collected.

Since tax discs were phased-out in 2014, vehicle tax now applies to the registered owner of the car, rather than to the car itself. Before this, getting a DVLA tax disc refund was as simple as taking the valid tax disc to a Post Office – but the DVLA vehicle tax refund process is a little different now.

What am I entitled to?

Some people ask if there’s an official DVLA road/car tax refund calculator. There isn’t – but don’t worry, calculating how much you’ll receive is simple.

When you sell or scrap a car, you will be entitled to a refund of any full months left on your tax. For instance, if your tax is paid until the end of December and you scrap your car on October 15th, you’ll receive a refund of 2 months – November and December – but no part-month payment for the remainder of October.

How to claim road tax back

When your scrap car has been collected, you can apply for a refund through the DVLA car tax refund online service. It’s worth noting that you can only use this service if you haven’t already sent your V5C back to the DVLA.

To start the process, you should visit the DVLA’s dedicated vehicle tax refund page. Here, you’ll be able to select the option that applies to you.

After you’ve told the DVLA, they’ll cancel your Direct Debit and automatically refund any full months left on your tax. They’ll issue a refund as a cheque – made payable to the person whose name and address is on the V5C log book.

What happens if I’ve sent my V5C already?

If you’ve already sent the relevant section of your V5C back to the DVLA, don’t worry – you won’t miss out on a refund.

Since the new style road tax applies to the registered keeper of the car, instead of the car itself, the DVLA will see that you’ve sold your car/vehicle and issue a tax refund automatically. If you want to be certain your refund is being processed, you can contact the DVLA on the details below.

What happens if I make a SORN?

It’s not just scrapping or selling your car that will result in a DVLA tax refund cheque – you’ll also get a refund if you make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) indicating that your car is not being driven or stored on a public road.

You can make a SORN using the DVLA’s online service. If you’re applying for a SORN on a car that’s currently taxed, you’ll need either the 11-digit number from the vehicle’s V5C.

After making a SORN, you should automatically receive your DVLA SORN tax refund cheque within 4-6 weeks.

I’ve applied for a car tax refund – how long will it take?

The DVLA tax refund process can take up to 6 weeks to complete. If you haven’t received a refund after that time, you can get in touch with the DVLA about a tax refund with the following contact details.

DVLA Vehicle Registration and Tax contact

If you want to get in touch with the DVLA regarding a road fund licence refund – or you simply have questions around how to claim back your road tax, you can get in touch with the DVLA using one of the following options:

Phone

0300 790 6802 (lines open Mon-Fri 8am - 7pm and Saturday 8am – 2pm)

Post

Vehicle Customer Services
DVLA
Swansea
SA99 1AR

Email/Online

Although you can’t email the DVLA directly about how to get car tax back, you can complete a contact form on their online vehicle enquires system – prompting them to get in touch with you.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

It’s illegal to sell a car with outstanding finance, so before you scrap a car you need to have paid off the outstanding finance amount. Technically, a car with outstanding finance is the lender’s property, not yours.

Our collection agents work contact-free and all payments are handled online. When it is required for you to show photographic ID simply put this down and our collection driver can then assess and record the information without touch.

Scrapping your car can be the solution when repair or running costs are greater than your vehicle’s value. If your car has been written off, deemed unsafe or no longer in use, these are all additional reasons to scrap it.

No problem. A Certificate of Destruction (COD) can be issued to you when your car is scrapped, but you need to make us aware of this prior to collection.

When a car is no longer roadworthy and needs to be scrapped, there’s probably a scrap dealer near you who will collect the car and pay you money for this. It’s easy to find a nearby scrapyard.

End of Life Vehicle (ELV) is the term used to describe a car that is no longer suitable for use – either through wear and tear or damage. ELVs must be recycled at authorised treatment facilities.

No. It’s important that your car is free of rubbish and personal belongings - as our scrap partners are not equipped to deal with anything other than the car.

Yes. Vehicle tax is no longer transferable from owner to owner – so, if you’re scrapping your car, we recommend that you get in touch with the DVLA soon after collection to reclaim any tax that may be owed.

When scrapping your car, you must inform the DVLA. You’ll need your logbook to pass onto the ATF (Authorised Treatment Facility). Afterwards, you’ll be given a Certificate of Destruction (CoD).

Yes, you can. Before your car is collected, you’ll need to ‘retain’ your registration with the DVLA; either online or through the post. Your registration will then be held on a retention certificate, ready to transfer to another car.