IF you’re looking to buy a new car this year, it might be wise to do it before April – or face being clobbered by new car tax rules.
Dozens of best-selling ranges – like the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Astra and Nissan Qasqhai – have models emitting less than 100g/km CO2, making them exempt from road tax.
Anyone buying a car after April could be in for a massive shock
But all new cars registered from April 1 will start to attract tax charges. Unless they are zero emission and cost less than £40,000, like the all-electric Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf.
The key word here is from April 1.
Buy a 1-litre EcoBoost Fiesta, top, (99g/km CO2) by March 31 and your road tax will be nothing, nada, zip, zilch, until the day it is scrapped. The old rules apply.
But buy the same car on April 1 and it’ll cost you £140 in tax each year, apart from the first year, when tax will still be calculated on CO2 emissions. That’s £400 over the first three years.
It gets worse for cars costing £40,000 or more. Owners face an annual £450 “wealth tax” from the second year until the sixth year after registration, when it’ll cost £140 per year again.
So a Discovery Sport HSE Black bought today will cost £390 in tax over three years. But from April 1 that’ll be £1,100 in Hammond’s back pocket.
Even a zero-emission electric car costing £40,000-plus – like the Tesla, left – will cost £310 a year for five years from year two.
The changes are expected to earn the Treasury more than a billion pounds a year from 2020.
Austin Collins, from buyacar.co.uk, said: “Anyone buying a car after April could be in for a massive shock.
“Even people buying a Toyota Prius hybrid. They’ll be paying tax at pretty much the same rate as someone who buys a big SUV.”