Northern Ireland Car Road Tax Rules

Every vehicle registered in Northern Ireland (NI) must be taxed if used or kept on a public road. If the vehicle is kept off-road it must either be taxed or have a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) in force. If not it could be wheel clamped or removed.

Tax your vehicle

To tax your vehicle you’ll need:

  • a completed V11(NI) reminder or V10(NI) ‘Vehicle licence application’ form
  • your registration certificate V5C(NI) or New Keeper supplement, if using a V10(NI)
  • a completed V34(NI) ‘Application for a Vehicle Registration Certificate’ V5C(NI), if you don’t have a registration certificate
  • an MOT test certificate (if your car or motorcycle is over four years old)
  • insurance that covers you against third party claims for death or injury and damage to property caused by using the vehicle
  • the payment for vehicle tax (not needed if your vehicle is exempt from paying vehicle tax)

Display your tax disc

Display a tax disc on the passenger side (kerb side) of the vehicle’s windscreen. If there’s no windscreen or you have a motorcycle or sidecar, you should display the tax disc on the kerb side of the vehicle.

A current tax disc must be displayed on the vehicle it was bought for. If you buy a new tax disc before your current tax disc expires, you should not display the new one until the old one has expired. The new tax disc is only valid from the first day of the month you have taxed from. The maximum penalty for failure to display a current tax disc is £200. The tax disc cannot be transferred between vehicles.

If you use the postal licensing service at the end of the month, there’s now an exemption for not displaying a tax disc. This exemption covers the first five working days of the month to allow time for the new disc to arrive in the post. While you are still waiting for your new tax disc you will need to display your current tax disc. The exemption only applies if applications are made before the current tax disc or SORN expires.

Make a SORN

Make a SORN if you don’t use or keep your vehicle on a public road.

If you don’t tax or SORN your vehicle

The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) carries out a computer check each month, as well as roadside checks to identify those vehicles without a valid tax disc. You could face an automatic penalty of £80 as well as a minimum fine of £1000. Your vehicle could be clamped, impounded or even crushed. 

Keep your documents up-to-date

Up-to-date documents will help you tax or SORN your vehicle on time and avoid a penalty. Tell DVA when you change your name, address or vehicle details so that they can send your V11(NI) reminder on time.

Make sure your MOT and insurance certificates are valid on the date you want your tax disc to start. Make a note of any renewal dates to remind you.

•Insurance and MOT needed to tax your vehicle 

Continuous registration

In an effort to improve the accuracy of vehicle records, help reduce vehicle crime, anti-social use of vehicles, reduce road tax evasion and ensure effective sanctions against those evading tax, the way in which Vehicle Excise Duty (Motor Tax) is enforced has now changed.

It is now the responsibility of the registered keeper to ensure that a vehicle is licensed (taxed), or to notify DVA of any changes of ownership, disposal of the vehicle, or to obtain a SORN.

By keeping your vehicle taxed or notifying DVA of any changes you are helping tackle crime, abandonment of vehicles and uninsured motoring.

•The registered keeper of the vehicle is responsible for the vehicle until DVA has been notified about the new keeper. If the keeper sells the vehicle and fails to notify DVA that they have sold it, they will remain legally liable for taxing it.

•The keeper of an unlicensed vehicle can be prosecuted without the need to detect the vehicle on the road.

•The registered keeper will incur an £80 fine (reduced to £40 if paid within 28 days). Penalty notices will be served by post on the registered keeper of the vehicle. The notice will remind the offender to do three things:

  1. Pay the late licensing penalty
  2. Tax the vehicle
  3. Pay arrears of duty right back to the expiry of the last tax disc.

•A registered keeper who persists in not licensing the vehicle and is referred to a magistrates court, may be liable, on conviction, for a fine of a minimum of £1,000.

•DVA will issue a receipt to a keeper who notifies disposal of a vehicle. You should receive your receipt within 4 weeks of your notification. This receipt is important. If you do not receive it within that time you should contact DVA to ensure that you do not receive penalty notices or other correspondence for that vehicle.

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