The Death of the Paper Tax Disk: Changes to Car Tax Rules You Need to Know

Tax disc photo

From the 1st of October, the rules and regulations around car tax are changing, and it’s vital that you understand the changes.

The main change is the death of the paper disk. Many are sad to see the disk go, and rightly so after it has spent 93 years in the screens of British vehicles. Of course, drivers will still be charged tax (or vehicle excess duty to give it its proper name), but an online system will be kept instead, so a paper disk is no longer necessary.

To help prevent fraud, number-plate recognition camera will be used to spot vehicles that haven’t paid the duty.

Unexpired Tax is becoming Non-Transferable

From October, car owners who are selling their vehicles will not be able to transfer the unexpired tax, something that has often been used as an incentive for any potential buyers. The switch will see the scrapping of the paper disk entirely, and everything will be transferred to an electronic record.

The proposal is designed to protect buyers of used cars who may have been misinformed about the vehicle’s tax status. In 2012, 2.73 million cars were sold privately, meaning that the market for fraudulence is huge. By creating an accurate real-time database, it is hoping that additional protection will be given to buyers.

Motorists Are Wary of the Change

According to AA research, many drivers are incredibly nervous of the prospect of driving an untaxed car once the disk disappears. In an AA-Populus poll conducted during December 2013, 70% of over 17,000 participants revealed that they were worried that they may drive a friend or colleague’s vehicle without realising it was untaxed, thus making it illegal to drive.

However, 46% of members do admit to supporting the change, while only 28% are against it (poll carried out 21-25 January 2013). Meanwhile, in the December 2013 AA-Populus survey, 47% of AA members said that not having a disc will make it more likely that they will forget to renew.

Prevent a Sting in the Tail by Knowing the Rules

However, in spite of these worries, it seems as though the change will be a good thing for motorists in the long term. Now that reliable, real-time records exist, the tax disk itself is largely redundant. However, for the next six to twelve months, there will be a sting in the tail for motorists who are looking to buy second hand cars without knowing that the tax is non-transferrable.

This is undoubtedly a huge change, and both vehicle owners and drivers should ensure that they are aware of the rules before taking to the roads this October. The driver, not the registered owner of the car can be issued a non-endorsable fixed penalty for driving an untaxed vehicle, and the owner can be fined £80 for using an untaxed vehicle; one that has not been declared as off the road. On top of this, they can also be charged any back tax.

As a result, it is vital that all car owners and drivers do their utmost to establish whether their vehicle is either taxed or SORN’d (declared off the road) in advance of the change in regulations. You can do this quickly and easily by visiting the Government website here.



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