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Our guide to the HGV Road User Levy

The UK Government has set a levy that needs to be paid by those businesses or owners who operate certain heavy goods vehicles on the roads within the United Kingdom, this is to cover the cost of wear and tear on the UK’s road network and to provide a level playing field for UK operators. Here's our guide to what you need to know...

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Words by: Auto Trader

Published on 18 December 2020 | 0 min read

Currently, due to the pandemic situation, from 1 August 2020 to 31 July 2021, the HGV Road User Levy has been suspended for vehicles registered in the UK in order to help haulage companies to keep products moving during these difficult times. For all internationally registered hauliers, the levy still has to be paid during this period prior to entering the country.
What is the HGV Road User Levy and who has to pay it?
The levy only applies to those vehicles that weigh 12 tonnes or over, and the cost of the HGV Road User Levy can be as much as £10 per day or £1,000 per year.
The levy is payable by any UK or non-UK heavy goods vehicle of 12 tonnes or over and for foreign vehicles this levy has to be paid prior to entering the country, and can be paid either through a booking agent, or the operator or the driver. For clarity, the term ‘non-UK’ also refers to British dependency states such as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
How does it work?
Each and every freight company that operates heavy goods vehicles will be liable for the charge if their vehicles fall within the weight limit parameters. For non-UK based companies, the HGV Road User Levy can be paid on either by the day, the week or on a monthly or yearly basis. For UK-based hauliers, there are two options, and these are to pay every six months or yearly and is typically paid in the same transaction as the payment of their Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).
The HGV Road User Levy applies to all public roads across the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, although the Secretary of State does have the power to alter whether the levy is applicable to certain roads should this be required.
Is the levy transferable between vehicles?
That is a definite no, as you are not allowed to transfer the HGV Road User Levy between vehicles as each individual vehicle has to be registered and paid for separately.
How can I pay the HGV Road User Levy?
For hauliers in the UK, when the time comes to pay your road user levy, you can simply pay it at the same time you pay your Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). Simply create an account via the online payment portal and then pay the amount required for each registered vehicle.
For non-UK registered hauliers, there are a number of ways to pay, including using the electronic payment facility run by Northgate Public Services, or via an electronic payment with a non-UK Operator Payment System. Other options include bank transfer, credit and debit card and even fuel cards.
Is it essential to open an account in order to pay the HGV Road User Levy?
You do not have to have an account but having one will make things much easier for you. Opening an account will be easier and quicker in the long-term, especially if you have a large fleet of vehicles that the levy applies to. You will find it much quicker to access the details you need regarding payments, when they are due, payments you have made and any refunds you are entitled to for the outstanding weeks or months of levy that remain unused. Although, it is worth pointing out that refunds are not currently available if you have chosen the ‘Pay and Go’ method of payment.
What about other road charges, do they still apply?
Even if your vehicle is liable to the HGV Road Users Levy, you will still have to pay road tax and other charges such as the Congestion Charge in London for example.
What are the consequences if I do not pay the levy?
Failure to pay the HGV Road Users Levy is a criminal offence, and you run the risk of receiving a substantial fine. When a HGV enters the UK without paying the levy, all relevant enforcement agencies are alerted, and the offending vehicle will be stopped and the driver will receive a fixed penalty fine of £300.
If the driver is unable to pay, then the vehicle will be impounded until such time as payment of the fine is made, and this amount will also include the additional immobilisation and storage costs incurred.

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