The move to scrap paper tax discs, which comes into force next month, could leave the UK treasury severely out of pocket
Darren Moss
18 September 2014

The abolition of the paper tax disc could cost the UK government up to £167 million.

That’s according to the RAC, which says the cost of chasing those who fail to tax their cars – including those who also drive without insurance – could prove to be extremely costly. 

The RAC estimates that the cost could be more than 16 times the estimated £10 million of savings the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) says it will make by adopting the new system.

According to a survey of more than 2000 motorists carried out by the RAC last month, one third were not aware of any change being made to the car tax system, and almost half were unsure when the changes were due to come into effect.

Announced as part of Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement in December last year, the traditional paper tax disc will be scrapped from 1 October. From that date, drivers will be forced to tax their cars online, and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras will be used to catch motorists avoiding payment.

The RAC also found that most drivers are unaware that any remaining tax can no longer be transferred to a new owner when a car is sold. Instead, new owners will be required to tax their car immediately, while the seller will receive a refund.

While the Department for Transport estimates that car tax evasion affects just 210,000 of the 31.9 million cars on UK roads – accounting for £35 million in lost revenue last year – the potential financial pitfall is inflated when around one million uninsured UK drivers are also taken into account.

If those drivers also fail to tax their vehicles using the new system, it is estimated that an additional £135 million of revenue will be lost.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said the new rules would make “very little difference” for the majority of motorists, but raised concerns over how the new rules would be enforced: “Although there is a network of fixed ANPR cameras in urban areas and on motorways and trunk roads, there are inevitably fewer in rural areas. 

“And, while police officers have the ability to identify untaxed vehicles, they don’t have the capacity to take on an additional workload.”

There have also been concerns raised that, as is the case with insurance, law-abiding drivers will find themselves paying more for car tax in order to cover those who fail to pay.

However, the DVLA has said the new system will work when it’s activated. A spokesman told the BBC: “There is absolutely no basis to these figures and it is nonsense to suggest that getting rid of the tax disc will lead to an increase in vehicle tax evasion.”

The concept of vehicle tax was introduced in 1888. Paper tax discs were first brought into use in 1921, with drivers initially paying £1 for every horsepower produced by their car.

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rxl

18 September 2014
so much talking is it is a simply thing to resolve: when you go to an MOT, you should be obligated do show the tax payment proof paper. simply as that, or you would fail MOT. simple as that. you use the MOT resources ate free, and MOT only adds one more point to check. government only need to make a tax document that cannot be forged and it is problem solve. or even MOT could check in a special government website that the car (by its register number) is legal and add that do MOT file.

289

18 September 2014
....Ok, I see your point, but what happens when you go for an MOT....say on the 10th September and the RFL runs out end September....how does the MOT check the remaining 11 months until the next MOT check?

rxl

18 September 2014
289 wrote:

....Ok, I see your point, but what happens when you go for an MOT....say on the 10th September and the RFL runs out end September....how does the MOT check the remaining 11 months until the next MOT check?

if it happens as you say, the next MOT will do that. because if you not ,you wont pass the MOT, so either way would must pay that tax at least before the MOT, so in the end the tax will be paid anyway. and if you were stop by the police until then, you get a fine. unless don't care about the law and don't do MOT, pay insurance, etc. and you be an outlaw LOL!

18 September 2014
When the move was first introduced the government was claiming that less than 5% of non-taxed cars were caught via the tax disc - the rest (95%) were caught via database checks.

If(!) this is true then RAC are simply wrong with their claims.

18 September 2014
As far as I'm concerned it simplifies a cumbersome process. I'm sure in the long term it will save in cost. The production of all those paper tax discs seem a complete waste when everything has moved to electronics.

18 September 2014
And it clearly states that drivers will be FORCED to tax their cars online, what about the many hundres of thousdands that dont have access to online, the elderly for instance, how do they re-tax their cars.

ALSO, this issues of you ahve to have the car taxed immediately, what if you go to a random house to buya second hand car, you may or may not buy it, so how does that work ?

Seems like a there are a few issues that need to be ironed out first.

18 September 2014
You are suggesting that anyone "elderly" might not have online access! If they are so doddery that they can't find a library, ask help off a friend or relative or visit any one of millions of places where they can access the internet they shouldn't be driving anyway. The world is digital get used to it.
PS I'm a pensioner.

18 September 2014
jonboy4969 wrote:

ALSO, this issues of you ahve to have the car taxed immediately, what if you go to a random house to buya second hand car, you may or may not buy it, so how does that work ?

Its quite simple. You won't be able to buy a car on the spot and drive it on the roads, legally, unless you have managed to tax it. And of course you won't be able to tax it without insurance. Which you won't have. Think of all those newly privately bought untaxed/unisured cars? - basically the government doesn't want private car sales to happen!

18 September 2014
"government only need to make a tax document that cannot be forged and it is problem solve."

Good idea. Perhaps they could make it disc shaped so it could be placed in the windscreen for ease of checking.

rxl

18 September 2014
Sid Slim wrote:

"government only need to make a tax document that cannot be forged and it is problem solve."

Good idea. Perhaps they could make it disc shaped so it could be placed in the windscreen for ease of checking.

I meant a A4 internet printed paper payment comprovative with a unique checksum digit print in it...right?

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