There’s a bit of a learning curve for first-time vehicle owners, and I’m not just talking about learning how to avoid crazy drivers on the road.
You also have to get used to going for regular vehicle inspections, find a workshop you trust for routine repairs, find out where you can park cheaply, remember to renew your car insurance and make sure you pay your road tax on time. Sadly, all this admin stuff isn’t really covered when you go for driving lessons.
Of all these routine tasks, paying your road tax is one of the easiest to master but one of the least enjoyable. Here’s what you need to know.
How much is your road tax going to cost?
The amount of road tax you have to pay varies depending on:
- Engine capacity
- Age of the vehicle
- Whether your vehicle uses diesel or petrol
- Your vehicle scheme
To cite a run-of-the-mill example, a 1,839cc Toyota Corolla would attract $1,024 road tax per year.
If your vehicle is more than 10 years old, you will also have to pay an annual road tax surcharge which is added to your total road tax bill. Using the above example, the Toyota Corolla owner would have to pay an annual surcharge of $104 if the car is above 10 years old but under 11 years old. If the car is aged 14 and above, the annual surcharge rises to $512.
Rather than trying to figure it all out, you can simply use the OneMotoring road tax enquiry service. Enter your vehicle number and you’ll find out how much road tax you need to pay.
How much are the road tax rebates for 2021?
If you have a petrol/hybrid vehicle, you’re eligible for road tax rebates from 1 August 2021 to 31 July 2022.
|Type of vehicle
|Road tax rebate
The road tax rebate is meant to compensate for the hike in petrol duties announced during Budget 2021. So don’t celebrate just yet — you might save on road tax but end up paying more on petrol (unless you radically change your commuting habits).
In addition to road tax rebate, active taxi and private hire drivers will receive$360 in petrol duty rebates, disbursed over 4 months this year.
Motorcyclists will also get either $80 (200cc or below engine capacity) or $50 (201 to 400cc engine capacity) in petrol duty rebates in May, either via PayNow or GIRO.
When does your road tax expire?
Each time you renew your road tax, you can choose to do so for a period of 6 or 12 months. Your road tax will expire at the end of the 6- or 12-month period.
Your road tax expiry date will be printed on the road tax disc mailed to you by the LTA.
When can you renew your road tax?
Thinking of renewing your road tax for a few years at a time to save yourself some admin work? Unfortunately, you cannot just renew your road tax whenever you feel like it. You can only renew road tax when it expires.
Renewal of road tax can be done up to 3 months before it expires. You will receive a reminder letter from the LTA one month before your road tax expires reminding you to renew it.
You must also fulfil certain prerequisites before paying your road tax, which are covered below.
What must you do before paying road tax?
Before the LTA will accept your attempts to pay your road tax, there are certain prerequisites that must be met, namely the following:
- Car insurance: Your vehicle must be insured for the period of road tax
- Vehicle inspection: You must have passed any upcoming vehicle inspection
- Fines: You must clear any outstanding fines
You should fulfil all the above requirements at least three working days before you wish to pay your road tax as the system takes some time to update. If the system cannot be updated in time, you might get an error message when you try to pay your road tax online.
For car insurance, you need not renew with the same provider every year. You can get a free car insurance quote via MoneySmart — we’ll compare the cheapest providers on the market.
As for vehicle inspections, these are typically required when the car reaches three years of age, and are subsequently required every two years until the car reaches the age of 10. After age 10, they must be inspected yearly. (You will receive a letter from the LTA whenever an inspection is due.)
Try not to go for your vehicle inspection at the last minute in case you fail and have to go back another day, as this could cause you to be late in paying your road tax.
How do you pay road tax?
You can pay your road tax in the following ways:
- Online on LTA’s OneMotoring website
- At AXS machines
- At SAM kiosks or via SAM online
- By GIRO
- In person at Road Tax Collection Centres
The LTA OneMotoring website accepts payment by credit card. However, most credit cards exclude tax payments from their cashback/air miles/rewards programmes. Some credit cards offer an income tax payment facility in exchange for a fee, but there doesn’t seem to be such a programme for road tax.
That said, you might still want to use a credit card to pay your road tax if you’re trying to meet the minimum spending requirements on any particular card in order to qualify for their perks.
Do check the T&Cs to make sure that tax payments are not excluded from counting towards the minimum spend.
What if you miss the road tax expiry date?
Pay your road tax late and you’ll get slapped with a late payment charge, which varies depending on your vehicle and how late you are.
Engine Capacity (cc)
Late by 1 month or less
Between 1 to 2.5 months late
More than 2.5 months late
More than 3 months late
1,000 and below
1,001 to 1600
1,601 to 2,000
2,001 to 3,000
3,001 and above
In addition, it is an offence to drive a car whose road tax has not been paid. Get caught and you could be fined up to $2,000. Moral of the story: Go for vehicle inspection early and renew your road tax on time!
Found this article useful? Share it with a fellow motorist.