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Road tax - First year costs

  • A full guide to first-year road tax for new cars
  • Find out how much your new car will cost
  • For a guide on existing road tax prices, go here

If you’re looking to buy a new car, then the chances are you’ve had a thorough look at how much it is going to cost you.

While this includes the purchase price of the car, insurance, fuel economy and even road tax, you will also need to consider just how much the first-year road tax or, showroom tax, is.

What is first-year tax?

The first-year ‘showroom tax’ is a way of attempting to deter people from buying the most polluting cars.

For instance, if you were looking to buy a new car and the emissions were more than 255g/km then you would have to pay £1,030 for the first year. This then drops to the standard cost of £475 per year.

The cars most affected by the first year tax are those in tax band H and above. If you buy a car in any of these bands you will have to pay more than the standard yearly rate of tax.

Anyone who opts for a car in band D and below is rewarded for picking a low-emitting car by paying no road tax for the first year.

Why am I being charged a first year tax?

The biggest reason for this increased cost is an attempt to dissuade people from buying higher polluting cars. Instead, it's hoped people will buy more efficient cars that are cleaner and kinder to the planet as a result.

If a buyer is still adamant on buying a more polluting car then they are expected to pay a bigger cost, while those that opt for a cleaner car are rewarded.

How much will have to pay in the first year?

This all depends on the emissions of the car you are looking to buy. If a car emits less than 130g/km then you will be exempt from paying tax in the first year. If the car emits 131g/km or more then the first year tax will be £120 or higher. After the first year the cost of tax defaults to the standard yearly rate.

The prices rise through the tax bands. In band E, F and G owners will pay the same amount in the first year as they will in the following years of £120, £135 and £170 respectively.

Any cars that come in group H will be forced to pay an extra cost. For example, a car in group H costs £195 per year in road tax. In the first year, however, it will cost £275.

The most polluting cars, those with emissions of 255g/km or more, will be charged £1,030 in the first year ‘showroom tax’. This drops to £475 per year thereafter.

Emission (g/km) Tax band  Annual tax First year price  Model 
Up to 100  A £0  £0 Skoda Citigo Greentech
101 - 110  B £20  £0 BMW 320d ED
111 - 120  C £30  £0 Mazda2 1.4D TS
121 - 130  D £100  £0 Audi A6 Saloon 2.0 TDI SE
131 - 140  E £120  £120 Peugeot RCZ 2.0 HDi GT
141 - 150   F £135  £135 Audi TT 1.8T FSI Sport
151 - 165  G £170  £170 Skoda Yeti 2.0 TDI SE 4x4
166 - 175   H £195  £275 Jeep Compass 2.0 Sport
176 - 185  I £215  £325 Jaguar XJ 3.0d V6 Luxury
186 - 200   J £250   £460 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid
201 - 225   K £270   £600 Lexus IS Cabrio SE-i
226 - 255   L £460   £815 Merc CL 500 BlueEFF
Over 255   M £475   £1,030 Range Rover Sport 5.0 V8