UK car tax needed whilst car is in Italy?

01/24/2013 - 11:30

If we leave our UK registered and insured car in Italy for at least 6 months, possibly up to a year, will we have to keep up the UK road tax or can the DVLA be contacted and told the car is out of the UK for a period? Thanks



You should be able to do a SORN in the UK so you don't have to pay road tax but there are very few UK insurers who will let you keep your UK car out of the UK for that length of time and have it insured. On here people have used Saga and another one. If you do a search you'll find the threads.

Insurance has been discussed in depth many times here in the past...  I am of the opinion that, yes, few insurers will cover a car for theft, fully comp, etc. for anything more than a few months, but that 3rd party cover is valid for the full 12 months of an insurance policy, regardless of location.  It all therefore depends on what level of cover you feel you need.  Our insurance has always given us 30 or 90 days (depending upon insurer) 'full policy' cover, and after that we only have 3rd party cover, which we don't mind as we only have a cheap Fiat Punto!  I'm sure someone will disagree this this (they always do... ;-) ), but this is the conclusion that we came to after doing ALOT of research. With regards to UK road tax, I thought that the EU had a reciprocal agreement that any car taxed in it's home country did not have to be pay local road taxes in any other EU country (toll roads, vignettes, etc. aside).  I'm not sure what other local road taxes are payable in Italy, if any, but I seem to recall hearing about something at sometime in the dim, distant past.  Perhaps someone with an Italian registered car could confirm?  Therefore, if the above is correct and you SORN, you may find that you could perhaps run into trouble in Italy or another country enroute... but I could be wrong about this. The other problem with SORNing is what happens when you arrive back in Dover?  Whilst it's unlikely, you could be nabbed immediately upon getting off the ferry with an illegal car!  Can you not keep the car road legal in the UK (i.e.: taxed), so as to avoid any potential problems here or abroad (not to mention potentially invalidating your more than 3rd party insurance, if you have it) and get someone to post your new tax disc to you in Italy?

A further thought if you want to keep paying road tax... I believe that you can renew in advance of the normal time frame if you have a valid reason for doing so, like being out of the UK when the renewal is due.  I think we did this in the past, and I'm sure a quick look at the DVLA website would confirm the circumstances under which this can be done.

Most rules on licencing and taxation though ratified have not been incorporated into any national legislation. Hence UK road tax is only required in UK and lack of it in any other EU country is not an offence. SORN is theoretically for cars kept offroad in UK to prevent the automatic issuing of a fine. There is nothing wrong in then removing the car from the country as there is no offence of failing to notify export. As said by masca you can keep up your UK insurance based on your UK address and are legally covered. If you make a different claim on the fully comp. part of your policy the insurance company may be able to squirm out of paying depending on the policy, that applies in UK also and happens all the time as we know. A way to deal with returning to UK without tax is to formally book a MOT test for your day of arrival which will allow you to drive to the test station on that day even if it is in Inverness. If you don't want to risk that there are garages in Dover who specialise in this.

There is no distance element in the RTA concerning MOT tests. There is case law on this. There is no vehicle condition requirement when you are insured and insurance companies cannot, in any country, cancel your insurance unless you are given notice in writing and you can appeal. The ANPR camera at the port does not ping petty things like MOT, it is there for serious things and pings cars that are on the database. There are no police waiting for you at the gates. There is no offence in Italy of not having an MOT on a UK car. There is no offence in Italy of not having UK tax on a UK car. There is no statutory 90 days. Whatever you signed or were told doesn't mean anything. It is only a tax and not international terrorism. Police have more important things to look at whatever wishful thinking.    

Agreed Cardi, all of what you say is correct. I'm afraid Andy that you have your facts wrong and the Dover ANPR is collated to another database, not the ones used by Plod in their vehicles or roadside to check your insurance and so on. re the 90 days it only applies to certain Insurance Companies as mine says 'Unlimited' travel in all EU countries, so it depends on who insures your vehicle and at what level of cover.

All I can assume Andy is that you are confusing 'fact' with 'hear say'..... The 90 days requirement came from my Insurance company as a 'reminder' that although I was covered for 365 days/year, Italian legistlation only allowed me to keep my vehicle in Italy for 90 days continuously.  Go figure. this statement is totally untrue, there is no Italian Legislation that says that whatever.

So I think I'll bow out. I have explained the rules and just can't be bothered to find links to all the legal and procedural rules which apply. Some people won't believe it anyway. Let them live with their illusions. It is faith and logic does not come into it.

Masca, I think that refers to a brand New vehicle that will then be permanently exported (along with Registration in another EU country) to another country. i.e. your vehicle must be at least that old before you can re-register in another country.

(Edited as I found a better link) No, sorry, I meant this, taken from The car must be registered in Italy with the local Motorizzazione Civile office within six months of its arrival in the country, as well as the Public Vehicle Registry (Pubblico Registro Automobilistico). I've always understood that this means that you should commence importation of the car on or before the expiry of 180 days, but mayby this only applies if you're an Italian resident?

TBH Masca, in practice I think no one pays any attenttion to that, I know several UK reg cars that have been driving around here for 4-5 years now and even our local Police who know this don't give a monkey's.

Interesting all this..I have been leaving my UK reg car at Perugia Airport for the past few years (along with many others,looking at the car park)...She has obviously got no tax or M.O.T but my insurers quite happily accept my annual payment.Does this mean I am legally insured or not?...Also,anyone who has SORN'd their car,beware,it is your responsibility to inform DVLA for renewal,not vice versa,as I found out to my cost(twice)..Stupid Northern Idiot!

Noooo!! Thanks Fillide,always wondered when they would.Was amusing when they expanded the airport(very sad) and built a new car park.Now,how on earth did they move all the cars? Do you know how much the levy is or do we need to get on the next Ryanair flight? Thanks again for the info..much you reckon I am still insured or not??

In reply to by Spud

I have no idea about your insurance, but I'm solid on parking rates! Perugia airport are now charging for parking. But if you left your car there before the charges came in, you will be probably not be charged.    Here are the charges: Parking charges from 07 January 2013 Opening times 06:00 - 22:00 (when the airport closes)   First 30 minutes free 1 hour € 1 Any further hour € 1 First day € 7 Second day € 7 Third day € 5 Fourth day € 5 Fifth day € 4 Sixth day € 4 Seventh day € 3 Further days € 3   Season Ticket: € 500 per year (unlimited exits and entries Info at:

Spud, I think you will only truly know if you  have to make a claim; unfortunately this dilemma has been ongoing for years and no one (including the Insurance companies) has a definitive answer. in Bocca Lupo !!

Flip..Am I meant to say crepe lupo or summat like that? Thanks again for the information..that is exactly what does concern me about insurance.Hopefully will never have to make a claim(or be claimed against) Trying to be honest and paying for 12 months cover every year but only use the car for 4 weeks max(daft or what?) are scaring you reckon reckon my car will be exempt from car park charges? Thank you again for the info..wish we could both just retire there,but needs's hoping....anyone interested in a lovely Fiat Brava,no tax,no MOT,no service history,one flat tyre and one flat battery(any parking fines to be incurred by new owner)Thank you both again and hopefully not be abused for posting this.

  I should begin by explaining, since the 1st January 2004, the Continuous Registration legislation became effective. Under this legislation, the registered keeper of a vehicle is legally responsible for ensuring his/her vehicle is currently taxed or a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) has been made at all times.   Registered keepers will continue to be responsible for their vehicle until DVLA is notified that the vehicle has been scrapped, sold, exported, or unless a SORN has been made. Please note that as quoted in the Vehicles Registration and Licensing Regulations 2002, SORN declarations are only valid if the vehicle is kept off road in Great Britain or Northern Ireland.   If a vehicle is temporarily taken out of the country (for less than twelve months) but remains registered in the UK, the vehicle must be taxed.   European Union (EU) vehicles which are circulating temporarily within or between community Member States are allowed under EC Directive 83/182, to be used on public roads without the need to register or pay duties in the host country. These provisions limit visits to six months in a twelve-month period and the vehicle must comply with the registration and licensing requirements of its home country.   If you have a Registration Certificate (V5C) and are registered as the keeper of the vehicle, you should take the document with you. If you do not have a V5C you should apply for one using a V62* application form. The V62 should be returned to DVLA Swansea and will take up to 30 working days to issue.   However, if you are in possession of the V5C/2 "new keeper supplement" a DVLA Local Office may be able to issue a V379 temporary Certificate of Registration to cover the period the vehicle is out of the UK. You can obtain this by filling in an Application for Temporary Registration Certificate (V379/1) available at any DVLA Local Office. The addresses of the DVLALocal Offices can be found on the website . If you make your application in person to a Local Office you will also need to provide proof of identity e.g. Passport, Driving Licence or a Utilities Bill, which clearly shows your name and address, and also proof of purchase or Bill of Sale for the vehicle.   If your tax expires and you need to renew it while you are abroad, provided you have a V5C, you may apply for a new tax disc by post using the application form V10. The application should be sent to a Post Office® listed in the booklet V100 or to a DVLA Local Office. The V10 forms are available from the Post Office® or can be downloaded from the website. The V100 booklets are available from DVLA or a Post Office®. Your application can be made up to 6 weeks in advance. All applications will require an original V5C or V5C/2 "new keeper supplement".   However, if the V5C or the V5C/2 "new keeper supplement" is not available you can submit a V62* application form. Provided you are shown as current keeper on DVLA records or if the previous keeper has notified DVLA of the disposal of the vehicle. You will also need to provide a valid Insurance Certificate/Cover Note and an original MOT Certificate to your Local Office. If you give a despatch address abroad the tax disc of the vehicle can be sent to you there. Please note a V5C will be issued within 6 weeks days after DVLAreceive the V62 application form to your UK address.   Please note a valid insurance certificate also includes a downloaded or faxed copy.   Remember that it is in your interest to check with your insurer that your use abroad is properly covered. You will also need to fix GB plates/stickers on your vehicle to identify the country of registration.   *If you do not have a Registration Certificate or the V5C/2 "new keeper supplement" there will be a charge for a replacement V5C of £25.   Please note the V62 form can be downloaded from   The V10 form can be downloaded from   If you are the registered keeper of a vehicle you may also use our website to pay for your vehicle tax disc or call our dedicated phone number on 0300 123 4321. The website address is   You can use our website 24 hours per day, 7 days per week*. Within 5 working days of filling in the application, you will receive your tax disc by first class post.   When you re-tax on the Internet or by telephone we will electronically check your vehicle is insured on the motor insurance database run by the Motor Insurer's Bureau.   If applicable, we will also electronically check if your vehicle has a valid new style computerised Test Certificate (MOT/GVT) on the database run by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA)   All you need to do is follow the steps by quoting either the 16 digit reference number on your Renewal reminder for a tax disc or Statutory Off Road Notification SORN form (V11) or alternatively, you can quote the document reference number on your V5C.   *subject to essential maintenance.   I should explain when taxing using our website or telephone service, the tax disc must be issued to the name and address on our records. Therefore, you would need to arrange for a friend or relative to have access to your UK address so the disc may be forwarded to you.    Do not reply to this email. If you wish to contact us again about this response then please use our Reply Form or copy and paste the following URL in to your browser:   When filling in the form the email reference number 1164623 will be required.   Regards

There we go - the definitive answer! It does make sense as you are supposed to register the car in Italy after a certain period of it 'living' here. I can't remember if it is 6 or 12 months. Where I live now, the car checks are a lot more thorough and more often that they were in Marche so  don't think people would be able to not comply so easily.

In reply to by anneliv

I'm just looking in to that now. A conversation this morning with 'Sheila's Wheels' told me that this is not going to be straightforward. They have even said they are not happy to issue a green card if I can't clearly say when I'll return...They ave suggested i should cancel me insurance with them when i leave and start up with another insurer at this point. Bizarre! Is it so odd to take a UK registered car to Europe fro 6 months?  

I didn't think that a green card was required within the EU? Rachel68, do you require more than just third party insurance?  If so, I think LV offer 6 months of 'full' policy cover.  As I stated previously, it's my belief that all insurers have to offer the minimum cover required throughout the EU - i.e.: 12 months of third party cover (although his may possibly be effected by the local requirement to import the car after 6 months - I'm not sure).

Hello, I am an Italian-Canadian (dual citizenship, registered on the AIRE in Italy, with a carta d'identita' and paying IMU as prima casa).  We recently purchased a home in southern Umbria (a dream come true) that we are currently using as a holiday home for now with the intention of of spending 6 months in Italy when we retire in five years time.  We currentlly spend about eight weeks in Italy and we were wondering if if would be worth while to purchase a small used car to get around instead of renting.  It is still not clear to me how much it would cost to own a car in Italy (taxes, registration and insurance)and although I read that insurance is expensive I find that to be a relative statement and doesn't really help me.  I would apprecaite any light anyone can shed on this very complicated topic. 

All very interesting...  I am more & more tempted to purchase a 5-6 yr old diesel Fiat Punto or similar, here in the UK & drive it out & back from Italy once a year (or ask a friend!).  I would not SORN, as their tax band is low.  Sounds the best option if I continue to trip out to Italy 6-7 times a year...  Any recommendations re Insurance companies that would insure for 350+ days out of the country, apart from the names mentioned here: Saga, NFU or Asda?

In reply to by pas55

Will do...  Maybe we could start a car share amongst members who live in the same area...  just to keep the thing running.....  I would be quite happy for someone to offer drive it over for me for a mutually agreeable sum if they were heading my way anyway(!!!).  Or a friend coming to visit maybe... a 2-3 day leisurely drive through France or wherever, then fly back.  That's my problem.. I just would not fancy driving all that way on my own... bit of a wuss now I am a poor pensioner!  I will have to put some feelers out...