Motorbike Tax Guide

Black motorbike on stand in front of building

February 24, 2022

Just like car drivers, if you ride a motorbike, moped, scooter or tricycle on public roads in the UK, you have to pay road tax (known as Vehicle Excise Duty [VED]) unless you’re legally exempt or have told DVLA your motorcycle as ‘off the road’ by submitting a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

In this guide, we fully explain everything you need to know about motorcycle tax including how to quickly and easily tax your motorcycle online, how much it costs, how to SORN your bike and how to determine if your motorcycle is VED exempt.

In this guide:

Do I need to tax my motorbike?

Do I need insurance to tax a motor bike?

How much is motorcycle road tax 2022?

Do I need to tax my moped?

Can I tax my bike online?

Other ways you can tax your bike

How do I SORN my bike?

When is a motorcycle tax exempt?

Is a 1981 motor bike tax exempt?

How do I know if my bike is taxed?

Do I need to tax my motorbike?

  • Yes, if you're riding or parking a motorcycle, moped, scooter or tricycle (also known as a ‘trike’) on any UK public roads, you will need to arrange and pay VED.
  • No, if you’re not riding or parking a bike or trike on public roads and it is stored on private property; you should instead SORN your bike.
  • No, if your bike is legally exempt from paying VED because it's a really old ‘classic’ motorcycle built 40 years ago or more.

Important: Even if your bike is VED exempt and no money is payable, you still need to go through the motions of taxing your bike online.

Note: Class 3 registered mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs do not have to pay vehicle tax.

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Do I need insurance to tax a motor bike?

Yes, to arrange and pay VED you will first need a valid motorcycle insurance policy and a valid MOT certificate (unless your bike is old enough to be exempt).

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How much is motorcycle road tax 2022?

The motorcycle road tax 2021 rates still apply in 2022. However, VED rates will be reviewed in Rishi Sunak’s forthcoming budget, which is expected to be delivered in Spring this year.

Unlike cars whose VED is now based on emissions, motorcycle VED cost is calculated in accordance with the size of your motorcycle’s engine (cc) and how you choose to pay your motorbike tax - i.e. in one lump sum or by direct debit (DD).

Check out the table below for up-to-date motorcycle tax rates in 2022 for all bikes (motorcycles, scooters and mopeds) and tricycles weighing no more than 450kg; tricycles weighing more than 450kg must be taxed in the ‘private light goods’ (PLG) tax class.

2022 road tax rates for motorbikes and trikes

Not by Direct Debit By Direct Debit
Tax Class CC 12 months 6 months Single 12 month payment 12
monthly instalments
Single 6 month payment
17 Motorcycles (with or without a sidecar) Up to 150 £21 - £21 £22.05 -
151 - 400 £45 - £45 £47.25 -
401 - 600 £69 £37.95 £69 £72.45 £36.23
Over 600 £96 £52.80 £96 £100.80 £50.40
50 Tricycles (weighing no more than 450kg with or without a sidecar) Not over 150cc £21 - £21 £22.05 -
All other tricycles 150cc £96 £52.80 £96 £100.80 £50.40

Source: assets.publishing.service.gov.uk

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Do I need to tax my moped?

Yes, even if you have a 50cc moped you still need to tax it. This will cost either £21 if you pay one lump sum for 12 months’ worth of tax, or £22.05 if you pay your VED over 12 months by direct debit.

Note: You do not need to pay VED for mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs.

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Can I tax my bike online?

It is straightforward and super easy to tax your motorbike or trike online via the government’s website using the information contained in the following documents:

  • V11 16 digit reference number and vehicle registration (number plate) written on your DVLA warning letter from DVLA
  • V5C vehicle log book 11-digit reference number and your number plate (if the bike is registered in your name and you’re the current keeper)
  • Green ‘new keeper’ slip the seller should’ve passed to you when you bought the bike - again you will find the 11-digit reference number on this together with your vehicle registration plate

If you do not possess any of the above documents, you will need to apply for a new logbook.

Note: Your bike will need valid insurance and a valid MOT before you can tax it.

Read: Motorcycle Breakdown Cover

Other ways you can tax your bike

  • By phone: call the DVLA on 0300 123 4321 to pay your VED over the telephone
  • At the Post Office: pay your motorbike tax at a participating Post Office.
  • By post: for certain criteria such as taxing a vehicle during a SORN or applying for VED using your personal independent payment (PIP) entitlement, you can apply by post using a V10 form.

Just make sure you have one of the documents to hand referred to under ‘Can I tax my bike online?’ before you phone DVLA or attend the post office and also possess a valid method of payment.

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How do I SORN my bike?

You do not need to pay DVLA motorbike tax if you’re not riding or parking your bike on public roads and it’s stored on private property.

You instead need to notify DVLA that you are keeping the bike off the road by submitting what is called a ‘Statutory Off Road Notification’ (SORN).

How to SORN your bike online:

  • Visit: https://www.gov.uk/make-a-sorn
  • Use the V5C 11-digit reference number from your log book (to take the bike off the road immediately) or
  • Use the V11 16 digit reference number from your DVLA reminder letter (to take the bike off the road from the first day of the next month).

How to SORN your bike by post:

Alternatively, you can send an application form (V890) by post to SORN your bike:

DVLA

Swansea

SA99 1AR

However, DVLA warns to expect delays with SORN paper applications sent by post so if you’re the registered keeper of the bike and don’t want to or can’t use their online service, we instead recommend you either SORN your vehicle over the telephone or at a participating post office.

How to SORN your bike by phone:

Call the DVLA on 0300 123 4321 to tax your bike over the phone.

How to SORN your bike at the Post Office:

Visit: https://www.postoffice.co.uk/identity/vehicle-tax to find out how to tax your bike at a Post Office.

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When is a motorcycle tax exempt?

There are four reasons why a bike or its owner can be VED exempt, which are:

  • a bike is less than 3 years old
  • a bike is more than 40 years old
  • a bike is purely electric
  • the bike owner is registered disabled

Is a 1981 motor bike tax exempt?

Yes, if it was built before 1 January 1981 or registered between 1 and 7 January 1981 (inclusive).

No, if it was registered after 7th January 1981. However, a 1981 motorcycle registered between 8th January and 31st December 1981 will become VED exempt from 1 April 2022.

So this means if your motor bike is 40 years old or more, then you are usually exempt from paying bike tax from 1 April if a bike was built before 1 January 40 years ago.

Important: Even if your bike is VED exempt, you still need to tax your vehicle online. 

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How do I know if my bike is taxed?

As long as you have the 11-digit reference number from the vehicle log book (V5C), you can easily check if your bike is taxed online via the gov.uk website.

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