If you own a vehicle, you need to pay Vehicle Excise Duty — also called car tax or road tax. This is a tax paid by the owners of cars, motorbikes, vans, and other vehicles registered in the UK. You can’t drive a vehicle without it. Because paying it is so important, the government issues a V11 reminder to nudge you when your tax is up for renewal.
If you drive without road tax, you could be liable for a fine of up to £1,000. As of 2021, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) estimates that there are approximately 719,000 unlicensed vehicles on the road.
Make sure yours isn’t one of them by learning everything you can about your V11 reminder.
What is a V11? And what is a V11 reminder?
A V11 and V11 reminder are exactly the same thing.
It’s a form that’s issued by the DVLA to remind you to either tax your car or declare it SORN. (We’ll discuss what SORN means in a moment.)
The V11 is divided into three sections:
- The first section provides your personal details, including your name and address, your vehicle’s registration number, and its road tax expiry date.
- The second section gives you the option to either pay your road tax or to declare it SORN. You can also indicate that you’ve sold your vehicle here.
- The third section tells you how you can tax your car. This can be online, by phone, or at a Post Office.
What does SORN mean?
If you’re no longer driving or parking your car on public roads, you can use your V11 reminder to declare your car SORN. SORN stands for Statutory Off Road Notification and is used to inform the DVLA that your vehicle is no longer being used and doesn’t need to pay road tax or be insured.
How do I get a V11 tax reminder?
If you’re wondering if the DVLA still sends out tax reminders, the answer is yes. And, as of August 2023, this process is easier than ever before.
V11 reminders typically arrive through the post. They’re automatically issued anytime after the fifth day of the month before your road tax is due to be renewed. This means that, if your tax is due on 14 October, you’ll receive your V11 in your letterbox sometime after 5 September.
There is an alternative option available, however. The DVLA is currently piloting a new system that enables you to receive your reminders electronically, either by email or SMS text. You can register for this service by signing up for the DVLA’s driver and vehicles account. Once you’ve set up your account, you’ll be able to:
- View your driving licence information, including endorsements and penalty points
- View vehicles that are registered to you, including their tax and MOT status
- Change your contact preferences
- Set up vehicle tax reminders by email and SMS text
- Choose to stop getting vehicle tax reminders by post
At the time of writing, the portal was still in its beta phase, and the DVLA was asking for feedback on how to improve it. You can find out more here.
Are there costs associated with the V11 reminder?
No, the V11 reminder is entirely free. You won’t pay anything to receive your reminder, whether it arrives in the post, or whether you opt to try the new digital options available.
Do I have to wait to receive a V11 reminder before I pay my car tax?
Nope. You don’t have to wait to receive your V11 reminder before you pay your road tax. In fact, the V11 should be seen as a final warning that your tax is due.
The DVLA won’t accept not receiving your V11 or losing it as a valid excuse for driving without road tax. It’s up to you to ensure that all of the important paperwork relating to your car — including your tax, your MOT, and your insurance — is up to date.
How do I pay my car tax without my V11 reminder?
You don’t have to have your V11 on hand to pay your tax. You can also use the 11-digit reference number provided in your V5C log book or, if your car is new, the 12-digit reference number found in your green “new keeper” slip.
Can I declare my car SORN without a V11 reminder?
Yes, you certainly can declare your car SORN without a V11. Again, your V5C log book will help you here. Simply enter the 11-digit reference number from your log book on the SORN webpage. You can also call 0300 123 432 to apply for SORN over the phone.
Where is the 16-digit reference number from your V11 reminder?
If you do use your V11 to pay your tax, you’ll need a 16-digit reference number to complete this process. This number can be found at the top of your V11 form.
Why have I not received a V11 reminder?
If you haven’t received your V11 reminder, it’s worth making sure that the DVLA has the correct address for you on file. This is one of the most common reasons why car owners don’t receive their V11 reminders.
If the DVLA has the wrong address, you can change it through your V5C log book.
Remember that you can be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t let the DVLA know that you’ve changed address. Always keep this sort of information up to date.
How do you pay road tax?
Once you’ve received your V11 reminder (or, ideally, a little bit before), you can pay it in one of the following ways:
You can pay your car tax online. Through this service, you can choose to pay your road tax either by debit or credit card, or by direct debit.
Setting up a direct debit is the most reliable way to ensure that your road tax is paid on time. You can pay it monthly, every six months, or yearly, although there’s a 5% surcharge if you choose to pay monthly or six-monthly. Paying annually is cheaper.
To set up a direct debit, you have to have a valid MOT in place and your car must be insured. Your direct debit will renew automatically when your vehicle tax is due, so you don’t need to worry about missing a payment.
You can pay your car tax by phone by calling the DVLA on 0300 123 4321.
At a Post Office
You can also pay via your local Post Office. Once again, you’ll either need your V11, your V5C, or your green slip if you’ve just purchased your car.
You can choose to pay via direct debit, cheque, debit or credit card, cash, or postal order.
Your V11 or V11 reminder is a notification you’ll receive from the DVLA to remind you that your car tax is due. If you no longer drive your car on public roads, you can also use this form to declare your car SORN.
While the V11 used to be a letter you receive through the post, you can now apply to receive your reminders digitally via email or SMS text.
Your V11 is a final warning about your car tax renewal. You can pay your tax before you receive your V11, either online, by phone, or at the Post Office. Setting up a direct debit is one of the safest ways to ensure that you never miss a payment.