Classic car owners ‘exempt’ from new car tax changes due to two loopholes

Sadiq Khan talks on the expansion of the ULEZ

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Classic cars are covered under “two exemptions” meaning road users may not need to pay the heavy fees. Experts warn the excuse could also be used in other Clean Air Zones away from London such as in Birmingham and Bath.

One of the main loopholes concerns the rolling 40 year tax exemption where older models do not need to pay traditional Vehicle Excise Duty.

Those with a historic tax class are also exempt from city-based Clean Air Zone charges, including the new ULEZ.

Footman James said: “Classic cars are actually covered by two exemptions.

“First, if the vehicle was registered before the 1st January 1973, it will be automatically exempt from the ULEZ charge, and second the… rolling 40-year exemption.

“Introduced in 2018 alongside the reforms to the MOT regulations, this rolling exemption means that any classic vehicle of more than 40 years of age will not have to pay the charge to enter such a zone.

“The cut-off works on a rolling basis, meaning that although last year the cut-off date was April 1980, this year the cut-off is April 1981.”

Footman James said there are a “host of surprisingly modern classics” which would escape the charge.

These include the Audi Quattro, Mercedes W126 S Class and the Lotus Esprit Turbo.

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The experts said the Mk1 Golf Cabriolet, the Jaguar XK and the Bentley Continental GT would also escape the charge.

Transport for London confirmed vehicles with a historic tax class would be “exempt from the ULEZ” fees.

They warned cars from abroad which meet the classic car exemption requirements will not need to pay the charge but must “register” before use.

They said: “You can apply to stop paying vehicle tax if your vehicle was built more than 40 years ago. This date moves forward on a 40-year rolling system.

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