Car Tax Exemption

Legislation background
Before 1997 a rolling exemption of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) applied to qualifying vehicles which were 25 years old, as of the relevant 1st January. However good old Gordon Brown (classic economic misfit brings to mind the famous advert - it's got to be Gordon's) froze that in 1997 and tax emption cut off the 'pre-73' cars. This was bad for TR7 and TR8 owners, but much worse for those with Stags and TR6s as they were split into two groups those that were classics and those that were not - on the whim of a bureaucrat!

After the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) published "The British Historic Vehicle Movement: A £4 Billion hobby" report in late 2011, the Treasury finally began to recognise the economic worth in the classic car movement and the many industries which had grown up around it. Plans were announced by George Osborne in the 2013 Budget to extend VED exemption by a further year, meaning vehicles built before 1st January 1974 would also benefit from 1st April 2014. The following year saw the reintroduction of the rolling exemption, albeit this time at 40 rather than 25 years. However, sadly it is not 40 years but 40 years and 3 months to 41 years and 2 months that is the key. Tax exemption is based on a build date, not the date of first registration.

  • Cars qualify for tax exemption if they were built 40 or more years before 1st January;
  • Cars qualify for tax exemption in yearly batches, not when they pass the 40th anniversary of their build date;
  • You cannot apply for exemption until the 1st April in the qualifying year (hence the 40 years and 3 months);
  • With the rolling exemption now back in place, all TR7 and TR8s will have qualified for tax exemption by 1 January 2022, and be eligible to apply for exemption on 1 April 2022.
  • Some early US market TR7s may well be able to apply now. Apart from an early 1975 prototype TR8 the earliest I have listed as a build date for a TR8 is January 1977 – see below for how that might work to the owner’s advantage!
  • The table below summarises the TR7 and TR8 situation.
    Built beforeFirst qualifying year (40 yrs)Becomes VED exempt (40 yrs 3 months)
    * TR Production ceased 5th October 1981