The Complete Guide to Motorcycle Tax

Motorcycle road tax

The Roads and Finance Act 1920 was implemented in 1921 to finance the upkeep of Britain’s roads. For almost 100 years, Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), better known as road tax, has been a part of life for UK motorists. In an increasingly technological world, though, the tax disc has become redundant, and that familiar blot on the windscreen has been replaced by electronic records.

Motorbike tax rates (2019)

How much is road tax on a motorbike?

Whereas most classes of vehicle are taxed according to the amount of CO2 emissions they produce, the road tax for Class 1 and Class 2 motorcycles is based on engine capacity.

All motorcycles must be registered for road tax, even if the tax rate for a particular bike is zero.

Motorcycle road tax prices are set out below. A single 12-month payment is charged the same, whether you pay by direct debit or in person at a Post Office. A six-month payment, however, is higher if it’s paid at the Post Office. The table below shows the prices when paid by direct debit.









150 and under




151 to 400




401 to 600




600 and over




How much does it cost to tax a moped or scooter?

A moped’s engine capacity is under 150cc, therefore the cost of road tax is £20 for the year. Scooters, though, vary in engine size. Some scooters are just 50cc, but others have engines of more than 600cc. The road tax depends solely on engine size.

  How to tax a motorbike

motorcycle tax

When you tax your motorcycle, you’ll need:

  • Your registration document (also known as a V5C, green slip, or logbook), or a V5C/2 (new keeper slip)
  • A valid MOT certificate
  • Motorbike insurance

Approximately three weeks before your motorcycle tax expires, you’ll receive a reminder (V11 Vehicle Licence Application or SORN) from the DVLA.

Motorbike tax online

To pay your motorcycle road tax online, you’ll need the documents listed above, plus your debit/credit card. There are three payment options:

  • Single payment for 12 months’ tax
  • 12 monthly instalments for 12 months’ tax
  • Single payment for six months’ tax

Taxing your bike by phone

There’s a 24-hour telephone service for road tax, however you can only make a single payment to cover six or 12 months. To pay over the phone, ring 03001 234 321.

Tax your bike at the Post Office

Alternatively, you can tax your motorbike at a Post Office branch that deals with road tax. Payment can be made by debit/credit card, cheque or cash, and if you’d like to pay in monthly instalments, you can set up a direct debit at the Post Office. Make sure you have the relevant paperwork (listed above) and your bank/building society details for a direct debit set-up.

Tax exemptions for motorbikes

Every motorcycle must be registered for road tax, even if there is nothing to pay. There are three main reasons for being exempt from motorcycle tax:

  1. Your motorbike is powered by electricity
  2. You are registered disabled
  3. Your bike is a historic vehicle

What year is tax-exempt for motorcycles?

There’s a 40-year rolling exemption for historic vehicles. If your motorcycle was first registered before 1 January 1979, it’s not liable for vehicle excise duty. However, if your classic bike is used for commercial purposes, it can’t be taxed in the historic class.

Do I have to pay tax for an electric motorcycle?

Zapp electric scooter

No! It’s free!

However, remember that your historic motorcycle or electric motorbike must be taxed – even if you don’t have to pay. The same applies if you are eligible for road tax exemption due to disability.

I’m disabled. Do I have to pay road tax?

You may be eligible for road tax exemption for your motorbike if you receive one of these benefits:

  • Higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance
  • Enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payment
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement 

What happens to the road tax if I sell my motorcycle?

When you sell your motorcycle, the DVLA must be informed of new ownership. This can be done online or by sending your V5C to the DVLA in Swansea, SA99 1BA.

Your notification will automatically trigger a VED refund for every complete month remaining on your road tax, from the time the V5C is received or the online submission is made. A direct debit will be stopped immediately.

When you buy a used bike, of course, the same applies. Unused tax will be refunded to the previous owner, so at the point of sale, your motorcycle will be untaxed. Using the 12-digit number on your V5C/2, you can tax your motorbike online, by phone or at the Post Office. Make sure that the bike has a valid MOT certificate.

If your bike is on the road without tax, you could be fined up to £1,000.

What happens to the road tax if my motorbike is an insurance write-off?

If your insurance company declares your bike a write-off, you are, in effect, selling your bike to the insurance company, and any unused tax will be refunded to you. Again, you can provide notification online or by post. In either case, you will have to put your insurance company’s name and postcode into the ‘Provide trader details’ section.

What happens to the road tax if I scrap my motorcycle?

When you inform the DVLA that you’ve scrapped your motorbike, you’ll receive a refund for each complete month of tax that you’ve paid. The only legal way to dispose of a motorcycle is at an authorised treatment facility (ATF).

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August 8, 2023