Motorcycle Tax Explained

Taxes are one of those unfortunate realities of life, and riding a motorcycle won’t help you avoid them.

To avoid penalties and keep yourself legal on the road, here is everything you need to know about the tax.

What is Motorcycle Tax?

Motorcycle Tax is an annual fee which must be paid by any vehicle using public roads in the UK and is an unofficial term for Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) which is often referred to as ‘road tax’ or ‘car tax’. Rates are determined by the size of the motorcycle’s engine capacity rather than CO2 emissions that standard vehicles are subjected to.

Motorcycles are taxed slightly differently than vehicles such as cars and trucks, and are subject to lower charges because of this. Once you have paid your motorcycle tax, you will receive a tax disc to apply to your vehicle. There are major fines and consequences for those who are caught driving without a tax disc.

Although most people think that these vehicle taxes go to funding the nation’s roads, this is not at all the case. There hasn’t been an actual ‘road tax’ in the UK since 1937, when it was abolished in favor of the current Vehicle Excise Duty. The money raised from VED funds the general Treasury fund, just as income taxes do.

Motorcycle Tax is payable every year, but can sometimes be paid bi-annually depending on the size of the engine. The current rates, as of November 2013, are as follows.

>150, no applicable 6 month rate, £17 annually

151-400, no applicable 6 month rate, £37 annually

401-600, £31.35 bi-annually, £57 annually

<600, £42.90 bi-annually, £78 annually

Paying Motorcycle Tax

As all motorcyclists are obligated to pay motorcycle tax, it is important to make sure that all of your paperwork is in order to avoid fines. Motorcycle tax can be paid online, through the DVLA online service. You will need the following information:

– Your vehicle registration number, which can be found on your Registration Certificate.

– A new style MOT test and GTV certificate so the service can electronically check your eligibility

– Your vehicle registration mark. This is the number on your motorcycle plate.

The tax disc for your motorcycle will normally be received in five business working days.

Consequences of Not Paying Motorcycle Tax

Motorcyclists can no longer get away with avoiding taxes on their vehicles. Cameras frequently snap photographs of license plates and run them against the DVLA database. If you are found to be driving a motorcycle without having paid your VED, you will be subject to steep penalties and/or fines.

If your vehicle is seen without a tax disc, you will receive an automatic fine of £80. This fine will be on top of the cost of paying for a new tax disc, as well as any arrears you have accumulated by not paying. There is also a possibility of a County Court Judgement, which would be a minimum £1000 fine. Anyone who declares that their vehicle is SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) and is caught using their vehicle on a public road, may be charged up to £5000, and risk up to two years in prison. In short, it is not worth the risk.

There is currently a major debate going on about the controversial Vehicle Excise Duty that motorcyclists must pay. Many think it is unfair that motorcycles are taxed by engine size, rather than by CO2 emissions as other vehicles. Whether or not the government ultimately decides to recognize, and reward, the environmental sustainability of motorcycles in the future, for now the taxes must be paid.