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How Much Is It to Tax My Car, and How Do People in Other Countries Fare?

If you are a registered keeper of a vehicle in the United Kingdom, you need to pay tax to the Treasury. As you may know, they base this tax on the efficiency of the car and, mainly, carbon dioxide emissions. Yet if you are on the lookout for another vehicle, you need to tax your car as soon as you take ownership and will need to know how much is due. As you figure out the damage and get ready to pay for your right to drive, it may also be interesting to see what people in other countries have to do for the same privilege.

What's Involved When I Want to Tax My Car?

In the UK, a significant tax is due when the owner first registers the vehicle. It relates to the CO2 emissions, with a penalty for diesel cars if they do not meet the latest standards (RDE2). As you can imagine, you pay more based on the grams per kilometre of CO2, and you can check a table here to figure out your obligation.

You will then need to pay a usage tax each year as long as you own the vehicle. If the vehicle dates after March 2017, you will pay £150 per year, or slightly less if you drive a hybrid. If the car is worth more than £40,000, you will need to find an additional £325.

For vehicles that were new between 2001 and 2017, a more complex system applies, again based on CO2 emissions. However, if you want to tax your vehicle and it is an older car (registered before 2001), then you will pay a tax based on the cubic capacity of the engine.

How Do I Check My Car Tax?

If you want to tax your car online, go here. You will need a reference number as well as a credit card.


What about Car Tax in Other Countries?


Here, owners register their vehicle in one of the country's 24 provinces. They base this tax on the year of manufacture, the model, type and its valuation. The government uses market information to determine the value, and some places use a progressive tax of anything up to 5%.


Car licence duty is payable when the vehicle is first registered, according to CO2 emissions. Significant discounts apply for environmentally friendly cars, while vehicle tax is payable monthly by the owner or registered user. Unusually, insurance companies are responsible for collecting the money. The owner must pay at least €6 per month, but the rate hinges on the kilowatt output of the car.


Three different types of tax apply here. To begin with, the owner must pay a registration tax when the vehicle is new or as part of a change of ownership. The rate varies between the different regions, as does the process of calculation. For example, the Brussels region calculates a registration tax on the cubic capacity or hp output of the vehicle. Circulation tax applies, and this once again differs by region, paid annually. If a car depends on LPG, then the registered owner must pay an additional circulation tax once per year.

Czech Republic

Cars are only taxed here if used for business purposes. If the owner pays corporate income tax, or if the vehicle is used for work purposes by an employee, then the road tax is payable. Dues need to be submitted quarterly in advance and refer to the cylinder capacity of the engine. A significant discount is available during the first 36 months of registration.


When an individual registers a vehicle for the first time, they must pay a registration tax, whether it is manufactured domestically or imported. Accountants base this tax on the market selling price and CO2 emissions. The operator of the vehicle must also pay motor tax and display a tax disc to prove it. Rates vary from under €120 up to €2,350 for the cars that emit the most CO2 grams per kilometre. Owners pay this tax quarterly, half-yearly or annually.


Drivers must pay federal and local taxes when the vehicle is new, and on an annual basis for "circulation." Rates can vary considerably from state to state. The first owner of the car must pay the new automobile tax, during customs import if applicable. It's based on the value of the vehicle and can be as much as 17% of the list price.

Many states charge a circulation tax according to the brand, model, year of manufacture and price. If the vehicle is more than ten years old, no tax is payable. Drivers have to replace their vehicle circulation card every three years by changing their number plates. This new card will be valid for three years, and its cost varies according to the model, year and type of vehicle in question.

New Zealand

The person legally responsible for a vehicle must register it upon acquisition. They must then pay an annual fee to use the car on public roads and must display a license label on the screen. Different levies apply based on how the vehicle performs in a crash test.

Registration fees split between two private passenger categories, based on the cubic capacity of the engine. Then, regulators split the levy into different bands and further subdivide between petrol or non-petrol engines. Rates can be as high as $380 per year.


In common with most other countries, drivers will need to pay an initial tax when they first register the vehicle. This tax varies according to the list price of the car and, recently, CO2 emissions. This government uses a complex system and factors depreciation as well when it comes to used vehicles.

Road tax must also be paid based on the weight, in kilograms, of the vehicle. There is an additional fuel tax due from owners of diesel cars.

United States

Different federal, state and local laws apply. For example, owners must pay a fee to the state where the car is registered when it is first acquired. They may also need to pay a separate fee for the "tag" (or number plate), as well as title to the vehicle and usage. These taxes link to the vehicle weight, and owners can pay their dues on a biennial or annual basis.

In Closing

As you can see, different countries have different car tax regimes, and some are far more demanding than the United Kingdom.