Sunday, 5 April 2015

Are untaxed drivers getting away with it now paper discs have gone?

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The abolition of the tax disc October 2014 raised fears it would become easier for motorists to get away without paying Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).
The  DVLA says that, despite some motoring organisations warning that the change could lead to a sharp rise in the number of untaxed vehicles, "the vast majority of drivers continue to tax their vehicles on time".

A spokesman adds: "Since 1 October, more than 16-and-a-half million drivers have taxed their vehicles – with over 70% doing it online, more than ever before."

The DVLA is confident that the new system will not see more tax evasion. This is mainly because even before its abolition, the tax disc was not the chief means of ensuring VED had been paid. The DVLA staff rely on its own database to see who has failed to tax their vehicles, with the keeper of an untaxed car sent a penalty notice in the post.

Fines for failing to pay tax can be steep: there is a potential fixed-penalty notice fine of £50 and untaxed vehicles can be clamped, with a £100 release fee charged. A £160 surety also has to be paid before the vehicle is released, although this is refunded provided the vehicle is taxed within two weeks.

ANPR cameras are also used to catch offenders, says Ian Crowder at the AA.
"There is the risk that the abolition of tax disc will encourage some people to believe these things won't be followed up," he adds.

It would appear however that changes to the vehicle tax system that were introduced at the same time as the disc was phased out are catching some motorists out. These changes meant that tax on a vehicle no longer carries over to a new owner as it did before October 2014 making it the responsibility of the buyer to pay tax immediately even if the vehicle is only part way through its current tax year. (the seller will automatically get a refund of any tax remaining when they sell it)

"This simplifies the process of buying and selling used vehicles as now all new keepers must tax the vehicle before they use it rather than having to find out if it’s taxed or whether the seller has had the tax refunded."

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