Important clarification
The new MOT exemption arrangement is one of three entirely separate matters concerning historic vehicles, which thankfully will stay separate as none of them affect each other:

1. MOT exemption
Tthis was previously available to vehicles built before a 1960 cut-off but from 20th May 2018 it has been available to vehicles manufactured or first registered over 40 years ago and declared to be a VHI. From then it will be available on a rolling 40 year basis.

2. VED (Road Tax) exemption
This exemption for vehicles with the "Historic" road tax class is available on a rolling 40 calendar year basis. This concession was introduced several years ago and has not changed. The relevant date is the vehicle "built" date. A vehicle is eligible for a NIL value Vehicle Excise Duty (VED or more commonly referred to as road tax) whether or not a car is declared a VHI. In the first year of eligibility the concession is available from the 1st April. So if your car was built in 1979 then VED exemption will be available from 1st April 2020.

3. Re-registration of a vehicle that has undergone substantial change
The requirement to report changes to DVLA that affect the V5C and consider whether this is a radically altered vehicle. This is where the DVLA eight point rule comes from and it has no relevance to whether a vehicle is a VHI. This is an existing requirement which is not altered in any way by either MOT exemption or VED exemption.

Flowchart: VED and MOT exemptions
This flowchart illustrates the procedure for claiming VED exemption and alongside the procedure for declaring a vehicle as a VHI on retaxing the vehicle. That is the only link between the separate exemption procedures. More

Many thanks to Chris Hunt Cooke for preparing the two articles explaining the eligibility, procedures and timing for applications for the VED and MOT exemptions.

Posted: 190130
Updated: 190211


VED (Road Tax) exemption explained
A concise article for owners of classic MGs which are 40 years old or more who may be uncertain over matters relating to VED exemption eligibility or the procedure and timing for applications for VED exemption. More

What is VED exemption in brief?
VED exemption for vehicles with the "Historic" road tax class is available on a rolling 40 calendar year basis. This concession was introduced in the Budget in March 2013 and has continued by rolling on each year since then. The relevant date for eligibility is the vehicle "built" date. A vehicle is eligible for a NIL value Vehicle Excise Duty (VED or more commonly referred to as road tax) whether or not a car is declared a VHI.

But the free road tax does not come automatically, you will need to apply for it. Unless you take action to apply for "Historic"status for an eligible car and get that tax class change to "Historic" recorded on the V5C, an application to retax your car will not automatically result in a free renewal or a "NIL value" VED as it is known. So it's a two stage process: first obtain a tax class change to "Historic" on the V5C and then apply to retax you car at the "NIL" value VED rate.

Timing issues with VED exemption
In the first year of eligibility the concession is available from the 1st April following the year end which is 40 years from the year when the car was "built". So if your car was built in 1979 then VED exemption will be available from 1st April 2020. An additional complication is if your car was first registered after 31st December of the year the car was built then you will also need to provide evidence of the build date when making your tax class application.

How do you change the tax class?
To change the taxation class to "Historic" you will need to obtain a DVLA road tax application form V10 and complete the details ensuring you state the car is "Historic" in the section for the tax class. You will also need your red V5C (UK Registration Certificate) and in Section 7 "Changes to Current Vehicle" you need to enter "Historic" in the taxation class box. You will see in the footnote that "the tax class shown in section 4 can only be changed when taxing the vehicle. The tax class change application can be made at many local Post Offices or at DVLA Swansea. Your application will also need to include your current MOT certificate and certificate of motor insurance.

DVLA Form V10
You can download the forms from the the GOV.UK website or pick them up at a local Post Office that can process road tax renewals.
Download a form and guidance on how to fill in form V10 and make a VED renewal application.
Form V10


Ensure you have a posting record of your application
As your tax class change and NIL value roas tax application will contain important documents - V5C, MOT and insurance certificates and a Heritage certificate - we strongly advise using the Royal Mail recorded delivery service, or even a registered post option, to be certain you have evidence of your posting those documents to DVLA. It will also be prudent to take good quality photocopies of each document so you can retain them.

Flowchart illustrating the VED exemption process
See our flowchart. More

Paper road tax discs ended in 2014.


MOT exemption explained
A concise article for owners of classic MGs which are 40 years old or more who may be uncertain over matters relating to MOT exemption eligibility or the procedure and timing for applications for MOT exemption. More

What is MOT exemption in brief?
The new regime in the UK for exemptions from the requirement to take the MOT test came into force on 20th May 2018. This exemption is available to any vehicle which qualifies as a Vehicle of Historic Interest (VHI): essentially the vehicle was manufactured or registered for the first time at least 40 years previously, is of a type no longer in production, has been historically preserved or maintained in its original state and has not undergone substantial changes in the technical characteristics of its main components in the last 30 years. The responsibility of declaring a vehicle as MOT exempt will rest entirely with the keeper of the vehicle as a self declaration. The DfT has issued guidance on "substantial change" which is essential reading.

Self declarations as an MOT exempt vehicle can only be made when a car is retaxed. As many cars eligible for a road tax class change to "Historic" on their V5C had an application made at the earliest opportunity in April, it's likely many keepers will have to wait almost a year before they can make the MOT exempt vehicle declaration. One possible way of overcoming that timing issue is to put the car on a SORN for a short period and then retax the car.

A vehicle eligible for MOT exemption does not have to be so declared and even if declared MOT exempt, the keeper does not have to cease having the car MOT tested or inspected on a voluntary basis. Many classic car enthusiasts feel continuing to have their car examined or tested by an experienced MOT tester is a wise thing to do. With their knowledge and experience the MOT testers are able to spot areas of concern or more serious roadworthiness issues which could be overlooked by a careful enthusiast.

Whether the car is tested or not, keepers of VHIs exempt from periodic MOT testing continue to be responsible for the roadworthiness of their car both as a legal requirement but also as a condition of their motor insurance policy. Owners of vehicles that have been self-declared a VHI and are thereby MOT exempt can continue to have their vehicle tested with an annual MOT test or alternatively a similar safety test carried out by an MOT tester or servicing specialist.

Flowchart: substantial change, VHI declaration and MOT exemption process
See our flowchart. More

NEWS: VED exempt classics have been pulled over by police for having no MOT
The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) has issued advice after it emerged that some police are stopping some owners of classic cars more than 40 years old for appearing not to have a valid MOT. As DVLA keep no record that a vehicle has been declared exempt, police cannot confirm that is the case when they see a vehicle on the road. FBHVC were informed that police were told to assume a car was exempt unless there was evidence otherwise, but there have been press reports to the contrary, and FBHVC have sought assurances from the National Police Chiefs Council. A wise precaution will be to keep the Form V112, stamped at the Post Office, or a screen grab if submitted online, and a copy letter from DfT in the vehicle in case you are stopped by police officers unaware of the VED exemption changes for classics more than 40 years old.