12 October 2014

End of the tax disc

With the tax disc consigned to the history books after 93 years in service. Here's what you need to know, plus Luke McCormack gives his views on the disc being axed...

THE tax disc will be no more. The Government has decided on scrapping the tax disc. The round piece of paper that displayed on the car windscreens will no longer be in practice - starting from this month. For the first time in 93 years, since the first tax disc was used on motor vehicles back in 1921.

The Government has made the decision on scrapping the tax disc, because they're convinced that it will save them money. That it will apparently save them around £10million on printing and posting the discs. Personally, I think that scrapping the tax disc is a bad move. They may argue that it will save them money, but it could also cause more problems.

Issue of tax evasion

With no longer having the need to display the tax disc on the windscreen of your vehicle. This could lead a problem of tax evasion. The RAC has warned the Government that it could 'encourage to break the law with tax evasion' and they will 'lose around £167m in revenues' from axing the tax disc. The estimated losses massively outweighs the potential savings that the Government intend to make.

RAC chief engineer, David Bizley said: "There is real concern that without the need to display a disc, less scrupulous motorists will take a chance and try to evade payment. This already happens with insurance and adds an average £33 to the premiums of the law-abiding majority."

There will be automatic numberplate recognition cameras set up nationwide to catch out the tax dodgers. In theory, it may be a good idea, but if they do that as well as keep the disc. The general public can also help catch out the evaders as well, thus lowering the revenue losses.

With not having to display a disc on the windscreen, you won't know on whether the vehicle is road legal or not. That's one of the very reasons it will encourage tax evasion. However, there is no evidence to suggest that this will happen.

Lack of awareness

I also find it baffling on why the DVLA haven't informed the public about the up and coming changes on taxing our vehicles in the forseeable future. There's been no adverts on any medium you can think of. None on television, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards and online.

With the DVLA not raising enough awareness about the changes. I think the more innocent law-abiding motorists will get caught out for tax evasion. Simply because they haven't been informed them about it. According to the RAC, only 1 in 5 motorists are aware of the changes on taxing our vehicles. However, I did get a letter for when the tax on my car needs renewing, but that's the only way the DVLA have informed me about the changes.

What you need to know

Some things will remain the same. Taxing your vehicle can be still be done online on the DVLA's website, but you can also do it at the Post Office. You can still pay VED (Vehicle Excercise Duty) for your car for 6 or 12 months. There's also a new scheme being into place where motorists can tax their vehicle on a monthly basis via direct debit payments.

When it comes to buying and selling cars, there will be changes. You will need to notify the DVLA immediately after selling or buying a car. If you don't, the penalty will be a £1,000 fine.

When you buy a car in future, you will also need to pay for VED once you've purchased it. If you've sold your car that's been taxed, you will get a refund from the DVLA with any full calendar months remaining on it.

With the new changes, you can also get tax refunds if your vehicle is either:

  • Scrapped at an Authorised Treatment Facility
  • Exported
  • Removed from the road and the person on the vehicle register has made a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)
  • Changed by its owner to an exempt duty tax class

To end this...

I'm rather sceptical of the changes with regards on scrapping the tax disc. I don't know what you make of it, but the Government is probably trying to fix something that isn't broken. The truth is that only time will tell.

RIP Tax disc.

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