The old printed tax disc is dead – here’s the AMS guide to the new digital road tax system
Since the 1st October you are free to rip up your tax disc after the new road tax rules replaced the old perforated paper circle.
Now a digital road tax database will monitor who has paid – and those who haven’t will face a fine of £1,000. Although this change to road tax has been planned for a long time, a recent survey has shown that more than half of the population had no idea about the new road tax system.
When the new system launched the DVLA website struggled to cope with a surge of renewals, but the site now appears to be working properly.
Your friendly mechanics at AMS in Weston-super-Mare have put together this guide covering everything you need to know about the new road tax system:
What has changed?
Since the 1st October, drivers have not needed to display a paper tax disc in their vehicle. Instead you need to pay your road tax online, via the DVLA website. Drivers without internet access will still be able to pay at post offices. In Northern Ireland, drivers will still need to display their MoT discs, but this does not apply to England.
You can also now pay monthly by direct debit, which will mean your road tax will never expire as long as your car’s MoT is up to date (remember, AMS offers MOTs for just £35!). When you sell your car, you must notify your bank and the DVLA to ensure you don’t pay more than you owe. HGVs and fleet cars are not allowed to be taxed by direct debit.
Has the cost of road tax gone up or down?
No, the costs are the same as they were before, and are determined by the CO2 emissions for the car. The most environmentally friendly vehicles pay nothing, while those with the highest emissions carry a charge of £500 per year. The DVLA website has a detailed breakdown of the rates.
What if my old road tax disc is still valid for several months?
You don’t have to do anything, but you can remove your paper tax disc if you want to. Your existing road tax is already in the database and will remain valid until its expiry date, then you can renew it using the new system.
What about tax exempt vehicles like classic cars?
Vehicles which are exempt from vehicle excise duty will not have to pay any money, but they will still need to register each year through the DVLA website.
How will the police & DVLA enforce the new road tax system?
Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras will identify those who haven’t paid up and trigger fines of up to £1,000. Worryingly, The Independent quotes a Home Office presentation which states that ANPR cameras misread four per cent of number plates – up to 1.2 million per day. The DVLA have said errors would be caught before penalties were issued by cross-referencing number plates with the make, model and colour of car, so let’s hope they’re efficient!
What about the buying and selling of used cars?
This is where the changes will be most important. Vehicle tax can no longer be transferred with the vehicle, which means the buyer will not profit from any unused months left on the tax disc. They will have to renew the tax straight away in their name.
The seller can claim a refund from the DVLA for any full calendar months remaining on the vehicle’s tax. They must also inform the DVLA of the new owner and will face a fine if they do not do so.
What about driving abroad?
Most EU countries demand some form of tax disc to be displayed and some drivers have expressed fears that foreign police might be unhappy with vehicles not displaying any tax documentation. The UK government says that the European authorities have been informed about the changes. “DVLA have informed the European Union that from 1 October 2014, UK registered vehicles that are travelling in the EU will not display tax discs,” it says.
How can I check if my vehicle is taxed properly?
You can look up the tax status of any vehicle by using DVLA’s Vehicle Enquiry System. You will still receive a renewal reminder when your car tax is due to be renewed.
How much of a problem is road tax evasion?
It’s quite small – the latest estimate of vehicle tax evasion is just 0.6 per cent, although that is still about 200,000 cars.
…You’ll still need a valid MOT to keep your road tax valid. As both systems are managed by DVLA databases it’s very important to ensure you are compliant at all times. AMS offers MOTs in Weston-super-Mare for just £35.