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How do I transfer ownership and tax for a used car I've bought?

Just bought a car? Learn more about the V5C form and how you can fulfil your legal obligation of transferring car ownership.

Buying a car comes with various legal responsibilities. As the owner or registered keeper of the car, you must fill the right documents in and send them to the DVLA on time to ensure that you’re not fined later on.
When you buy a second-hand car or get it as a gift, the seller (owner) transfers the ownership of the car online or by post using the V5C form, by informing the DVLA that you are the new registered keeper of the car. Since you’re the new keeper of the car, it’s your legal obligation to tax and insure the car using the V5C or the green slip provided to you by the seller before you start driving it. Any road tax payments made by the seller for the forthcoming months before you bought the car are not transferable and thus, you need to re-tax the car. Learn more about the duties of an owner and new keeper of a car, and the documents you need to transfer car ownership.

How do I transfer ownership of a used car that I’ve bought?

As soon as a car is sold, the seller can change car ownership online by notifying the DVLA of a new keeper. To do so, the seller needs to complete the ‘new keeper’ section of the V5C form and send it to the DVLA, and you (as the new owner) need to keep hold of the green section.
If you don’t receive the new V5C or if the seller has lost the car’s V5C certificate, then you’ll have to fill the V62 form to apply for a new registration certificate. Once the DVLA receives the old V5C from the seller, you should receive the new V5C within four weeks. Read more about the V5C form. Confused between ‘owner’ and ‘new keeper’ of a car? Learn more.

Can I transfer tax to a used car that I’ve bought?

Road tax is not transferable between owners of a car even if you’re family members since the new rules came into force in 2014 that put an end to issuing of tax discs and allowed sellers to get a full refund on the sold car’s remaining months’ tax. This means before you drive away with the car that you’ve just bought, you need to tax it as a legal requirement.
If you’re buying from a dealer, they will be able to sort that for you. However, if you’re buying the car from a private individual, you can’t take advantage of any tax that’s left on the car. To tax the car, you need the new keeper section of the V5C online – another reason to insist on seeing the V5C before you buy the car – and you can tax the car immediately, either online via gov.uk, over the phone (lines open 24 hours a day), or at a Post Office that deals with vehicle tax. Learn more about how much car tax is levied on a second-hand car. Read more: Can I tax my car without a log book?
Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the difference between owner and registered keeper?

A car’s owner and registered keeper can be the same person or two different people.
Essentially, the registered keeper is the person who is responsible for taxing and insuring the car, checking the car’s MOT status to ensure it’s roadworthy, and following all other legal obligations. If you’re the car’s registered keeper then your name will be registered in the V5C form, and if anyone commits an offence while driving your car like getting a parking ticket or speeding, you’re the first person the police will contact. The car owner, on the other hand, is simply the person who buys the car. The car owner and the registered keeper will be two different people if the owner transfers ownership of the car to a family member as a gift or to a company employee for work. In this case, it would be the owner’s duty to notify DVLA of the new keeper using the V5C form, which the car owner and the new registered keeper would have to sign.

What is a V5C?

A V5C form is a car log book issued by the DVLA. It’s your car’s proof of registration. It contains information related to your car’s registration number, name and address of the person the car is registered to, your car’s unique 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN), engine specifications like the cylinder capacity (cc), engine weight and fuel type, and your car’s emissions standard.

What does the log book look like?

The old-style V5C (a blue-green coloured document) was first issued in 2004 by DVLA. This log book style was replaced with a new style red-pink V5C form with 11 sections in 2012.
The old blue-green car log books are still valid, although the DVLA has encouraged everyone to replace the old-style forms with the new red V5Cs. In the old-style V5C form, the new keeper section is part of section six of the form called ‘new keeper details’ and the green slip for the new keeper can be found in section 10 called the ‘new keeper supplement’ or V5C/2. While in the new-style log book, the new keeper section of V5C can be found in section 2 called ‘selling or transferring my vehicle to a new keeper’, and the green slip is a part of section 6 of the form called ‘new keeper slip’.

What should I do if I lost my log book?

You can apply for a replacement log book online if you or your insurance company has lost or damaged your log book (V5C document).
You will need the following information: • Vehicle registration number • 17-digit VIN/chassis number • Registered name and postcode on your V5C • Credit/ debit card for payment

Can I change my address on V5C?

Yes, you can update your address on the V5C form by informing the DVLA online or through post.
You must inform the DVLA about your new address on time otherwise you can be fined up to £1000. To do so, you need to provide the DVLA with: • Your car’s registration number • Reference number stated in your car log book • Your new UK address

Can I buy or sell a car without a log book?

Yes, selling or buying a car without a log book is possible however, DVLA recommends against it.
You are legally allowed to sell your car without a log book (V5C) as it only acts as a proof of registration and not as a proof of ownership. You would need to provide the buyer with a bill of sale which would include all the information that the buyer would need to apply for a new log book using the form V62. The reason why the DVLA recommends against it is that selling a car without a V5C can be suspicious. Being in hurry to sell your car without a V5C document or without waiting for a replacement to be sent to you might raise concerns about the car being stolen, written off or having a loan against it. This will make the car selling process longer as buyers might feel wary of buying from you, or they might try to haggle the price.

Can I tax a car without a log book?

No, you can’t tax a car without a log book as you need the 11-digit reference number.
If you’re a new keeper of the car and you don’t have a V5C in your name yet, then you can use your green new keeper slip and tax the car using the 12-digit reference number.

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