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DVLA axe vehicle tax disc

By Carl Tomlinson
Senior Regional Underwriter

The traditional British tax disc will be no more from today. The DVLA has abolished the 93-year-old paper tax disc in a move to save an estimated £10 million per year in administration costs, whilst simultaneously simplifying the payment process for motorists. Although there has been publicity around the overhaul of road tax arrangements, it is worth highlighting some of the key changes...

The traditional British tax disc will be no more from today.

Display

From today, there is no need to display a tax disc on your vehicle and any existing discs can be removed. The DVLA will now rely on ANPR (Automated Number Plate Recognition) cameras to confirm whether a vehicle has been taxed. 

Payment 

The payment reminder will still be sent out in the time honoured way. The only difference is that you now have the additional option of paying by monthly Direct Debit. Payment via Direct Debit is a positive development, allowing motorists to budget for the outgoing.

Buying and selling vehicles 

Vehicle tax can no longer be transferred with the vehicle. The seller must inform the DVLA of a change of ownership, or face a £1,000 fine. They will then receive an automatic refund for any full calendar months remaining on the vehicle tax.

Buyers must renew their tax disc straight away. Tax will be backdated to the beginning of the month the vehicle was bought. With that in mind, it is worth avoiding buying a used vehicle at the end of a calendar month, as you will lose almost a month’s worth of tax. 

Driving an untaxed vehicle

In another change the driver, as well as the owner of the vehicle, will be fined if driving an untaxed vehicle. Without that reassuring paper tax disc, how will you know if a car you do not normally drive is taxed? Thankfully, the DVLA has thought of that and you can use this website to check:

https://www.gov.uk/check-vehicle-tax

Concluding thoughts

There are concerns, in some quarters of the industry, that the end of the tax disc could see road tax evasion reach the levels of uninsured motorists. We are yet to see a convincing case for this assertion. In any case, we have confidence that the DVLA will take sufficient enforcement action, from their electronic records, against any evaders. Overall, with most of the changes benefiting motorists, we consider this a positive development.

Carl Tomlinson, Regional Senior Underwriter - Motor Trade