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In order to drive on a public road in the UK, your vehicle must have a valid MOT (depending on its age), auto insurance, and be taxed. This article has all of the information you need to know about car tax, including how much it costs, how to verify your car’s tax status and more information on vehicle tax exemptions.

If you use or store your car on a public road, you are required by law to pay taxes. If you keep the car off the road, you must either tax it or register it as such by filing a ‘Statutory Off Road Notification’ (SORN).

If you do not tax your vehicle, you risk having it clamped or impounded. You may also face financial penalties or court action. So, remember to tax your vehicle on time; it has never been easier!

We will tackle several of the biggest myths about vehicle tax.

1. I need to pay vehicle tax upfront every year

Wrong! You can set up a Direct Debit when you tax your vehicle online (your vehicle must be insured and have a valid MOT in place if it needs one). By setting up a Direct Debit, you can spread the cost by paying your vehicle tax annually, 6 monthly or monthly – whatever works best for you!

Your Direct Debit will renew automatically when your vehicle tax is due to run out (providing you’re shown as the registered keeper and the vehicle has a valid MOT and insurance). So, there’s no need to worry!

2. I’ve just bought a car – I cannot tax my vehicle because I do not have a V5C registration certificate (log book) in my name 

If you’re the new keeper, you can use the green ‘new keeper’ slip from the log book to tax your vehicle straight away.

3. My vehicle is exempt from vehicle tax, so I do not need to do anything

In fact, you must still tax your vehicle even if you do not need to pay anything. Some types of vehicles are ‘exempt’ from vehicle tax, which means you do not need to pay, but you still need to tax the vehicle. The quickest way to do this is using our online service.

If you’re unsure if your vehicle is exempt from vehicle tax, read this guidance on GOV.UK. To tax your vehicle as exempt for the first time, for example as disabled, you need to change your vehicle’s tax class.

4. I cannot drive a vehicle registered off the road, sometimes called a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN), to an MOT test

Wrong. If you’ve pre-arranged an MOT test you can drive a SORN vehicle to its appointment.

5. I’ve not received a V11 vehicle tax reminder form so I cannot tax my vehicle

If you haven’t received your V11 vehicle tax reminder, you can use your V5C registration certificate (log book) instead. Your V5C will have a reference number that you can use to tax your vehicle.

Read Also: What is the Sales Tax in NYC?

If you’ve changed your address, update the address on your V5C. If your vehicle needs taxing in the next 4 weeks, you’ll need to tax your vehicle using your current V5C before changing your address.

When is the Best Time to Buy a Car?

Although interest rates remain high, vehicle transaction prices are ticking down — 3.5 percent year over year in January, according to Kelley Blue Book. Even so, drivers can offset high rates by being tactical when it comes time to buy.

The best time to buy a car is usually around the end of the year since salespeople will be trying to meet their quotas and may offer steep discounts. However, you should also consider holidays — like Labor Day or Memorial Day — and the beginning of the week.

While there is no secret recipe to getting a cheap vehicle, there are some times when you might have better luck than others.

1. Mondays

Monday can be the best day of the week to buy a new car. Other potential shoppers are often at work, so representatives at car dealerships are focused on anyone who comes in the door.

“Come Monday, everyone has made a lot of good sales and enjoyed the activity of a busy weekend,” says Brian Moody, executive editor at Autotrader. “If you call or email a dealer on a Monday, there is a chance that you’re going to get either a better deal or simply more attention. If the person has more time, they might throw in something extra such as free oil changes or free car washes.”

2. End of the year, month and model year

In terms of the best time of the year, October, November and December are safe bets. Car dealerships have sales quotas, which typically break down into yearly, quarterly and monthly sales goals. All three goals begin to come together late in the year.

“The end of the month, the end of the quarter, the end of any period is usually a good time to go,” Moody says. “That’s when there might be bonus opportunities for the salesperson or the dealer that give them extra incentive to want you to leave in a new car.”

In addition to the end of the calendar year, it’s important to keep an eye on the end of the model year — when the newest versions will start hitting the road. Moody says manufacturers generally begin releasing new cars in fall, but there are some exceptions.

“If you pay a little bit of attention to see when the press is starting to share reviews about new cars, it means the release is imminent,” Moody says.

If you’re considering buying an older model, it’s wise to wait for the most updated version to roll out.

“While you might be able to land a deal on the older model, it’s wise to consider holding out for the updated version. It’s very rare that an all-new version of a model comes out, and it’s $5,000 more,” he says. “It’s usually a few hundred dollars more, but it includes all kinds of new features and better gas mileage.”

3. Holidays

Holiday sales can also offer deep discounts. Here are a few holidays that are especially great for buying a car:

  • Presidents Day: The first few months of the year tend to be slow for all consumer activity, including auto sales, but some manufacturers work to spur spending over Presidents Day weekend.
  • Memorial Day: Summer is typically among the most expensive times of year to buy a car, but dealers tend to cut prices back around Memorial Day. Next year’s models often trickle out around midyear, reducing the price of cars already on the lot. Beware of big crowds, though. As the weather improves, other buyers may be looking to score the start-of-summer deals.
  • July Fourth: Plenty of dealers will work to entice car buyers around the celebration of America’s independence. However, if you don’t need a car immediately, consider whether you can hold out for potentially bigger discounts available closer to the end of the year.
  • Labor Day: The unofficial end of the summer is officially one of the busiest times for buying a new car. According to Zo Rahim, former economics and industry insights manager at Cox Automotive, the week of Labor Day accounts for more than 2 percent of all new car sales in an entire calendar year.
  • Black Friday: Car dealerships join the Black Friday sales craze, just like the rest of the retail industry. In addition to manufacturer-offered incentives, you may be able to get better deals from your salesperson. “For example, around Christmas, the person who’s helping you might want to get home to his or her family and be more eager to wrap up the sale,” Moody says.
  • New Year’s Eve: If you can swing it, New Year’s Eve may be one of the best days of the year to shop for a car. Salespeople could be facing monthly, quarterly or yearly quotas on New Year’s Eve, and if they meet their sales goals, they could earn a hefty bonus. This could make finding a favorable deal easier.

Regardless of when you decide to buy a car, you will need more than perfect timing to get a good deal. Consider the following tips to get the best auto loan rate, no matter the calendar timing.

  1. Know what you can afford: Calculate expected monthly payments to have a strong gauge of what you can afford. Analyzing your finances will help you know which rates you will qualify for.
  2. Get a few quotes: It’s wise to get a few quotes from lenders. This way, you can gauge if the dealer financing is a good deal.
  3. Research: Do some upfront research on vehicles and lenders to get the best rates. On top of this, do your homework to help you avoid common car-buying mistakes and gain negotiating power when you arrive at the dealership.
  4. Improve credit: While interest rates are based on a few factors, your credit score serves as a larger determinant of your APR. Take the time to better your credit before applying for loans to get the most competitive rate.

Waiting for the best time to buy a car requires patience. If you can hold off on a purchase, time can be your ally. Although pricing isn’t currently in consumers’ favor, keep an eye out for incentives and deals during upcoming holidays to maximize your savings.

Narrowing your top car choices and picking the right time of year to buy a car — or the right month or day — can help you save thousands.

Can I Drive a Car Without a Licence UK?

Driving in the UK without a valid licence is a motoring offence which is taken seriously. It can lead to penalty points, fines and even a driving ban. Simply put, drivers are not only required to hold a licence for the vehicle they are driving but also the correct type of licence for that vehicle.

Driving without licence law:

The Road Traffic Act 1988 states under Section 87 that if you are stopped whilst driving a vehicle of any class on a road in the UK and cannot present a valid driving licence, you are committing an offence and as such will face a penalty. This offence is called “driving without an appropriate licence.”

Driving without licence penalty:

Depending on the nature of the offence, you may receive one or more of the following penalties:

  • Three to six penalty points
  • Up to £1000 fine (if it is an isolated offence)
  • An unlimited fine if there is no insurance

Under no circumstances are you allowed to drive without a licence in the United Kingdom.

The police are entitled to pull any vehicle over they choose to. If they do so and you are not furnished with your valid UK driving licence for the vehicle in question – for example, you have sent it off to the DVLA for a change of address or have simply left it at home – they may make an allowance but will make further inquiries on your identity to ensure you hold a valid licence.

If you have a manual licence and are found to be driving an automatic vehicle there are no laws against this in the UK. However, an automatic driver’s licence only covers you to drive an automatic vehicle. Therefore, it is illegal to drive a manual car on an automatic licence in the UK and, if caught by the police or involved in an accident, your insurance would be invalid based on the nature of the licence. You can expect to receive at least three penalty points for such an offence.

Driving whilst you are disqualified (having been banned from driving in a UK court of law) is a serious offence and can carry numerous penalties.

The charges for this offence also takes into consideration the fact that you are driving without insurance as a disqualification makes any insurance completely void and invalid.

The available penalties are:

  • A custodial sentence of up to six months
  • An unlimited fine
  • Both a fine and a period of custody
  • A community order

There will also always be a further period of disqualification.

If you are under the age of 70, you must renew your licence every ten years. If you are over the age of 70, you must do this every three years. If you are found to be driving with a licence which has expired, you could face a series of different penalties, namely:

  • Three to six penalty points
  • A £1,000 fine
  • Car seizure (those who repeat offend may even face their car crushed/disposed of)

A provisional licence is issued for learner drivers who are accompanied by a driving instructor or another individual who:

  • Is 21 or older
  • Holds a valid and full driving licence for the vehicle in question
  • Has held said licence for at least three years

If any of these terms are not met, you may face the following penalties:

  • Up to six points on your provisional licence
  • A fine of up to £1,000

Can you go to Jail For Driving Without a License UK?

Driving without a licence is a serious offence that can carry significant penalties. Under the Road Traffic Act 1998, it is an offence to drive a vehicle without a licence that is appropriate to a vehicle of that particular class. Likewise, it is not permitted to drive a vehicle on a provisional licence unless the driver is accompanied in the car by a full licence holder aged 21 or over who has held their licence for at least three years. Learner plates must also be displayed on the vehicle used in such situations, and the individual must be insured. This helps other drivers to give the learner leeway, and can help to reduce the chances of any accidents happening.

If you have passed your driving test, you will only be allowed to drive the types of vehicles that are covered by the licence you hold. To operate other vehicles, such as passenger-carrying vehicles, buses, heavy goods vehicles or motorbikes, you will be required to pass further driving tests in order to obtain the correct licence. Should you be found to be driving a vehicle for which you do not hold the correct driving licence, you could face a penalty for driving without a licence.

When drivers are caught committing a driving offence, their licence may be revoked or taken away from them. This is done to stop drivers from putting themselves and others at further risk. If you have been accused of driving without a licence, it may be because you were not aware that your licence had been taken away from you. This can happen if you are not informed of your licence’s revocation, or have not noticed communications about it.

Regardless of whether or not you were aware of the revocation of your licence, you will be prosecuted for driving and should discuss this with a professional motoring offences solicitor. 

There are a number of circumstances under which you may be charged with driving without a licence. The penalty you will receive if you are found guilty will depend on the circumstances under which you were caught, and other factors. For example, if you have not passed a driving test but have been caught behind the wheel, you may be given:

  • Between three and six penalty points for when you do have a licence
  • A maximum fine of £1,000
  • A possible ban dependant on the circumstances and any points already endorsed

Furthermore, you could be punished if you have an ordinary or specific kind of driving licence but are caught driving a different vehicle, such as a large goods vehicle (LGV).

If your offence is not severe, your penalties will be given to you at the roadside by a police officer, detailed in your FPN. If your offence is more severe – such as if it is tied to another offence, like careless driving or driving under the influence, you may be placed under caution and given your penalties later.

If you face a penalty for driving without a licence, it is imperative that you seek the right legal guidance to help you through what can be a difficult process. This will help you to understand your rights and give you the very best chance of limiting or avoiding punishment.

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