How can I save money on car tax?

Reader is buying a second-hand Mercedes E-Class and wants to ensure he's not caught out by the premium car tax surcharge introduced in April 2017...

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupé

I’m about to buy a used Mercedes-Benz E-Class and have read in the What Car? used review for this car that models registered before 1 April 2017 qualify for a lower rate of road tax (VED).

What is the difference in cost between cars registered before and after that date? Also, how will I be able to tell exactly when a car I’m looking at was registered? I'm allergic to paying too much tax!

 Mark-Anthony Conti

What Car? says…

The rules on the cost of road tax (VED) changed from 1 April 2017 when a flat rate of tax was introduced, along with a surcharge for more expensive cars. 

Used Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate 16-present

From that date, all cars with a new list price of more than £40,000 (this includes most E-Class Estates except those in the most basic trim level) had to pay an extra £310 a year in car tax from years two to six. On top of the standard fee of £140, this equated to £450 a year. 

These prices increased by £5 and £10 respectively from 1 April this year, when VED became linked to inflation via the Retail Price Index. 

Cars first registered before 1 April 2017 pay a varying amount of VED depending on their CO2 emissions. The E220 Bluetec diesel model emits 109g/km of CO2 and qualifies for a VED rate of £20 a year. The more powerful E350 Bluetec emits 143g/km, so it costs £155 a year, and the E200 petrol costs £195. 

It’s easy to check if a car was first registered before or after 1 April 2017; the information is on the second page of its V5 registration certificate.   

Find out the latest rates of car tax for new and used cars 

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