If your car dates back to 1979 or earlier, you can stop paying car tax (Vehicle Excise Duty) from April 2020.


That will save you either £160 a year, or £265 if its engine is bigger than 1549cc.

Once a vehicle reaches 40 years old it is classed as “historic” and, although it still has to be taxed every year, there is no charge.

From January the exemption will apply to cars made before 1980 or registered before 8 January 1980.

There are exceptions to the rule, including vehicles used for a business and taxis. Cars that have been substantially altered are also excluded. Exemption from tax begins on 1 April and you cannot claim until that date. To make things more difficult, you cannot apply online.

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You need to take several forms to a post office that deals with vehicle tax.

First, form V5C, the modern name for the log book. If you have a tax reminder (form V11) take that, too. You’ll also need a current MOT certificate or a form called V112, which is a declaration by you that your vehicle does not need an MOT (those rules are explained below).

You also need an insurance certificate for the vehicle.

DVLA will return the updated V5C in about four weeks.

A couple of weeks later you’ll get a refund for any whole months of tax you’ve already paid that fall after exemption is granted.

Every year you will be sent a reminder to tax your vehicle and you must apply to retax it, but the charge will be shown as £0.00.


Vehicles over 40 are also now exempt from the annual MOT under different rules introduced in 2018 by an EU law.

The rules will remain in force when we leave the EU, unless the Government changes them.

The exemption begins on the 40th anniversary of when the vehicle was first registered.

However, it’s illegal to drive a vehicle that is not roadworthy, so it is wise to get an annual voluntary MOT.

In Northern Ireland, only vehicles made or registered before 1960 are exempt from MOTs. For more information (often confusing), go to: gov.uk and search “historic vehicles”.