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Motorcycle Tax Rates

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), formally known as road tax, must be displayed on vehicles registered in the United Kingdom and is an annual fee. The Roads and Finance Act of 1920 implemented road rax, now known as VED, with the idea of creating revenue in order to maintain UK roads to a roadworthy standard.

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Over the years the criteria for which would determine your tax band has changed many times with the VED band for cars being based on their CO2 emissions in order to combat pollution. The VED bands for motorcycles, scooters and trikes, however, are defined by their engine capacity (cc).

Prices rise again!

When the government introduced the new tax system with monthly direct debits, the cynics among us suggested this was a cunning way for the government to be able to increase rates by a few pence per month, rather than a larger hike once a year and the Average Joe wouldn’t notice. Well guess what? That’s exactly what’s happening, with prices rising above the rate of inflation from 2018 to 2019 and again in 2020.

Motorcycle tax rates

In order to confirm which VED band you are in you will need to know your engine size (cc). This can be found on your vehicle registration document.

Motorcycle (with or without sidecar) (TC17)

Engine size (cc)12 months rate12 monthly installments by direct debitSingle 6 month  payment6 monthly installments by direct debit
Not over 150£20£20N/AN/A
151-400£43£43£45.15N/A
401-600£66£66£36.30£34.65
Over 600£91£91£50.05£47.78

What documents do I need to tax my motorcycle?

To tax any motorcycle you will need your vehicle’s logbook (V5C) or the green ‘new keeper’s details’ slip’ (V5C/2) and proof of insurance. If your motorcycle of scooter is over three years old you will also need a valid MOT certificate and if you have also been sent a DVLA reminder that will also be required.

If you do not have any of the above documents you will need to contact the DVLA.

Where can I tax my motorcycle?

You can obtain your motorcycle tax from the post office if you have the V5C logbook, V5C/2 green slip or if the DVLA has sent you a reminder form.

You can now also pay for your motorcycle tax online at the DVLA’s website. This can be a quick and easy option as the DVLA will already know whether your motorcycle is insured and whether or not the MOT certificate is in date.

Once the online form is completed and you have paid your vehicle is then taxed. (Unless you live on the Isle of Man where you will still receive your tax disc through the post to display in/on your vehicle.)

You can pay by debit or credit card and you can now pay monthly by direct debit for certain VED bands as shown next.

Are classic motorcycles exempt from road tax?

As classic motorcycle are classed as ‘historic vehicles’ you do not have to pay vehicle tax on any vehicle which registered before 1 January 1973. However you still have to supply the documents as noted above.

What happens to my VED if I sell my motorcycle?

If you decide to sell your motorcycle which is still taxed it gets cancelled and you will automatically receive a pro-rated refund from the DVLA. This also applies if you take your vehicle off the road using a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification), export it or if it gets scrapped.

Do I need to renew my VED if I buy a new motorcycle with a valid VED?

Yes. If you buy a new motorcycle your tax is no longer transferred from one owner to another. You will need to get new vehicle tax before you use the vehicle and you will need the reference number on your new keeper slip V5C/2.

How much does it cost to tax a 125cc motorcycle?

The cheapest rate is £20 if you pay in one go. You can only tax a 125cc motorcycle (or scooter) for 12 months, so if you’re unsure how long you’re going to keep it, it’s best to setup a Direct Debit and pay monthly, meaning you can cancel your road tax if you sell your 125.

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Motorcycle Tax FAQ

Can I tax my motorbike without a V5?
Yes, you can tax your motorbike either with the V5C (commonly known as the logbook), or the New Keeper slip which is called the V5c2 or you can use the V11 reminder.

Can I tax my vehicle without insurance?
No, if you are looking to tax your vehicle it must have a valid MOT and be insured. When you tax your vehicle online the DVLA will check the status of the MOT. 

Can I tax my motorbike without an MOT?
You cannot get road tax without a valid MOT

Can I tax my motorbike at the Post Office?
Yes you can but you’ll need to have all of your documentation in place; the V5C, V11 reminder and a valid MOT certificate.

Can I tax my motorbike monthly?
Yes you can setup a direct debit, which allows you to pay for your road tax on a monthly basis.

How much tax has my vehicle got?
You can enter your number plate into this website in order to see when the Road Tax and MOT runs out.

Why do we pay Road Tax?
Absolutely no-one in the country knows the answer to this question. It used to be to fund the maintenance of the roads but then the Government cunningly realised that as everyone now drives their little Herberts around in a 4×4, which means the roads can now go back to 18th century standards.

Then, because of the sorry state of UK roads, the Government realised they couldn’t get away with calling it a Road Tax anymore because everyone kept asking them why the money wasn’t being used to maintain the roads. So they spent £143m with a marketing agency to help them rebrand from Road Tax to Vehicle Excise Duty. This was calculated on how many squirrels on average your vehicle would scare on a 3-hour journey in a rural location.

The Government has shot themselves in the foot as currently electric vehicles don’t scare squirrels and in future years the Government won’t be able to raise any revenue with their VED pricing structure as all cars will fall into the free category.

Fortunately, there will still be lots of 4x4s paying £1000s in VED each year to enable them to legally navigate impossibly pot-holed roads, which will help make up the difference.

One of the great side effects of the rebranding of Road Tax to VED is that cyclists can now cut anyone up, ignore any traffic signs and generally annoy other roads users and yet smugly answer to anyone who tells them they shouldn’t be on the roads because they don’t pay for them with the smarmy reply that: “they don’t have to pay for them because their pedalling doesn’t upset any squirrels”.

Back in the old days, if you didn’t want to use your vehicle you didn’t need to pay for Road Tax. But now the DVLA have a new system called SORN which essentially means the DVLA will fine you for not telling them that you’re not using your vehicle because the fact you didn’t renew the road tax wasn’t a big enough hint for them. Which makes perfect sense. To no-one. Using this same system, my local curry house requires me to phone them every day to let them know I’m not coming and if I forget to phone them, they fine me one Chicken Biryani.

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