Avoid getting fined! Understanding the new vehicle tax

Author: Oli Rushby Posted: 15 Apr 2015

Avoid getting fined!

Thousands of motorists, including motorcyclists, are unwittingly finding themselves facing hefty fines as they aren’t clued about the recent changes to the road tax system.  

Figures show a large portion of motorists have been hit with fines of up to £800 for not adhering to new rules and for no reason other than simply not understanding them.

One of the most-reported changes brought in when the DVLA moved the entire Vehicle Excise Duty (aka road tax) online was the scrapping of the paper tax, disc and many motorists wrongly believe this is the only part to affect them.

However, the changes also made road tax non-transferable, meaning when buying a new bike any tax purchased by the previous owner is immediately cancelled. While they’re entitled to a refund, it’s your duty to re-tax the bike before you ride away.


Here’s a quick guide of what to do to avoid being slapped with a hefty fine or at worst, your bike being towed away!


If you are buying a second hand bike, you will be responsible for ensuring the vehicle is taxed. The moment the bike changes ownership, any previous tax held for it ceases and you must purchase your own. This can be done by heading to the post office, online www.gov.uk/vehicle-tax or by telephone 0300 123 4321. Don’t forget – this is what is catching people out!


If you are selling your bike, you cannot advertise it with tax remaining because as soon as the bike changes hands the tax is cancelled. If you have purchased tax for 12 or 6 months and are selling the bike before the end of this period you will receive an automatic refund once the DVLA has been notified of the sale. If you’re feeling friendly, give the person buying your bike a hand by reminding them of the new rules. 

If in doubt, you can check whether a vehicle is taxed and MOT'd on this Government site.