If you’re buying a used car – and that could include a car that is a month old to something over 50 years old – what you pay depends on when the vehicle was first registered, and subsequently which set of rules it falls into.
If your used car was registered after 1 April 2017, you will pay the ‘second-year’ rate as shown above – so £140 for petrol or diesel, £130 for alternatively-fuelled cars and £0 for fully-electric. The £310 supplement for cars that cost over £40,000 will apply every year until the car is six-years-old.
If your used car was registered between 1 March 2001 and 31 March 2017, car tax is calculated solely on vehicle emissions. Petrol and diesel cars pay anything from £0 for up 100g/km, to £555 for over 255g/km, whereas alternatively-fuelled cars pay between £0 and £545. You can find specific rates for your car here.
If your used car was registered before 1 March 2001, things are refreshingly simple; you pay £155 for 12 months if the vehicle’s engine is 1549cc or smaller, and cars over 1549cc pay £255. As well as the usual websites, your vehicle handbook will tell you the exact capacity of your engine.
Finally, cars that are 40 years old or more from their date of manufacture (not date of first registration) are tax exempt. The exemption comes into effect every April, so April 2018 saw all cars built prior to 1 January 1978 become exempt. However, if it has not already been classified as an historic vehicle (the V5C registration document will tell you this) then you need to complete the relevant section on the document and go to a Post Office with your V11 tax reminder letter and a completed V112 document which confirms the vehicle is MOT exempt – this also occurs when a vehicle is 40 years from its date of manufacture.