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‘For sale, taxed’ to become illegal in 2.7 million private car sales
From 1 October 2014, car owners who want to sell their vehicles privately will be unable to offer the ‘unexpired tax’ incentive to potential buyers, warns the AA. The proposed switch from relying on the display of a paper tax disc to a solely electronic record will end the transfer of the balance of car tax to the car's new owner.
With 2.73 million used cars* sold privately in 2012, the proposal is intended to protect buyers who may be misled on the vehicle’s tax status. Without a tax disc in the windscreen, it would become more difficult for a buyer to verify a seller’s claims, and the value of the vehicle.
Drivers are already very nervous of inadvertently driving an untaxed car once the disc disappears. In an AA-Populus poll of 17,629 AA members between 12 -17 December 2013, 70% said they are worried that they may drive a friend’s, relative’s, rental, company or recently bought used car unaware that the vehicle is untaxed and therefore illegal to drive on the road.
The non-transferability of VED (car tax) forms part of the cost-cutting measure ending the tax disc requirement, which dates back to 1921. The clause in the draft Finance Bill 2014 is being consulted on by the DVLA.
The AA supports the switch from a paper tax disc to a purely electronic system, enforced by real-time records and ANPR detection
Paul Watters, head of AA Public Affairs
“The AA supports the switch from a paper tax disc to a purely electronic system, enforced by real-time records and ANPR detection. It is supported by 46% of AA members who are in favour, versus 28% against (AA-Populus survey, 21-25 January 2013). However, there are potential obstacles and the current transferability of car tax is one of them,” says Paul Watters, head of AA Public Affairs.
The December 2013 AA-Populus survey also found that 47% of AA members think that not having a disc will make it more likely that they will forget to renew.
Watters adds: “It is good that reliable, real-time records now exist which have made the tax disc largely redundant. However, when it is abolished in 2014 the sting in the tail will come with unexpired months of tax no longer being transferable to a car’s new owner. Millions of motorists are familiar with the tax disc and having months to run on it can sometimes be a deal maker or breaker for someone looking to buy or sell a car privately.
“Instead, the balance of tax will be cancelled (for a refund from the DVLA) and the new owner must buy new car tax. This will be an added inconvenience for motorists who are changing vehicles, but we appreciate that this is to ensure that no-one is unknowingly put at risk of driving an untaxed vehicle.
“The Government should also consider looking at the current refund arrangements - at present refunds are only given for complete unexpired months, leaving many more drivers to lose out if a disc is cancelled early in a month.
The plan to also introduce the option of paying car tax (VED) by monthly direct debit was welcomed by 55% of members in the AA-Populus poll as they think it will make motoring budgeting much easier. However, the 5% surcharge for allowing this may not be so popular.”
You can easily check the tax status of a vehicle online if you know the make and vehicle registration number.
(3 January 2014)