What are the new rules for selling a car?

Your motoring problems solved


Q. I am about to sell my car privately. The MoT expires in a month and the vehicle tax at the end of April. I understand there are new rules regarding the MoT and tax when selling a car. What are they?
TL, London

A. The rules on car tax — now called vehicle tax by the government — have changed because motorists are no longer required to display a paper tax disc.

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Sellers can no longer transfer any remaining tax with the vehicle. Instead the buyer must re-tax the car immediately, at the point of sale, while the seller receives a refund, sent automatically when the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) receives notification that the car has been sold.

You will be refunded only for complete months’ tax unused, however. For example, if your tax runs out on April 1 next year and you sell your car on December 15, you will be entitled to a three-month refund.

You need to inform the DVLA straight away of the change of ownership or you could face a fine of up to £1,000 and be liable for any parking or speeding fines incurred by the new owner.

With regard to the MoT certificate, you may find it difficult to sell your car so close to its test date. Buyers will be put off and you will almost certainly have to accept a lower price.

Once the MoT has expired, it is still possible to sell the car but not to drive it, unless it is a short distance to a pre-booked MoT test. In that case it is also permissible to drive the car without tax, but it must be taxed once it has passed the test.

Sunday Times Driving Car Clinic: Emma Smith, consumer advice

Emma Smith is a journalist specialising in consumer issues and is a regular Driving contributor – read more from Emma here.


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