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End of the road for the ‘tax disc’

End of the road for the ‘tax disc’

Chancellor abolishes the car tax disc
End of the road for the ‘tax disc’

From October 2014 motorists will no longer have to display their road tax disc in the windscreen of their vehicles. Even though the paper disc is to be scrapped motorists will still be paying Vehicle Excise Duty but the treasury claims that there will also be savings of £20  million for Britain’s hard-pressed motorists as a result of changes to the way car tax can be paid. 

The number of windscreens checked for tax discs by officers has dropped 75 per cent in the last five years, thanks to the electronic vehicle register that is used by both traffic police and the DVLA. A police source said ‘the tax disc is no longer needed for enforcement purposes, the police use numberplate recognition equipment. If they pull you over they can immediately tap into this database and see whether the car is taxed and insured and what the driver ought to look like.’ Officials said that both the police and the Post Office have ‘indicated their support’ for the abolition of the tax disc. But it is thought that some sub-postmasters could suffer as they rely on customers renewing their car tax. The online process is already in action so drivers can renew online. 

Road tax is calculated based on the carbon emissions of the vehicle, there are thirteen different bands with annual duties ranging from £0 to £490 and even up to £1,065 for gas guzzlers in their first year on the road.

One thing which will most definitely be a plus for motorists will be the choice of paying the vehicle excise duty by monthly direct debit. It is always a bill that has had to be paid in full and on time so this will be a welcome addition.  It will also be cheaper to pay for a six month period due to a 10 per cent surcharge it can currently cost £55 for a half-year disc or £100 for a year. Under the reforms, the charge will be reduced from 10 to 5 per cent, reducing an identical six-month period to £52.50. Paying monthly will also attract a 5 per cent rather than a 10 per cent charge.

Vehicle tax was introduced in the 1888 budget and the current system of excise duty applying specifically to motor vehicles was introduced in 1920. The tax disc was introduced in 1921, with a plain design of black ink on grey paper which drivers had to cut out themselves. Colour was introduced in 1923.

A Treasury spokesman said ‘this is a visual symbol of how we are moving government into the modern age and making dealing with government more hassle free.’ So the paper tax disc will become something of the past, together with so many others, will we miss it probably not, might be worth holding on to one just for a memento!

Geraldine Ashton Green
By Geraldine Ashton Green
Wed, 11 Dec 2013
Your CommentsBubble
Avatar 31/12/2013 16:36:03
Dave Flower Commented:
As in Canada the licensing of a motor vehicle could be recorded by the issue of a 'one-off' number plate with the taxation details impressed into the plastic. This would last the life of the car with an annual fee to renew. At least some from of licensing would then be displayed on the vehicle concerned. But,I do like the idea of a government that at last is trying to save costs. All they have to do now is catch all those that don't insure, tax thier vehicles and/or drive without a licence. Oh! and if those people who use powered disability vehicles insist on driving them on the road thgen they should also be prepared to pay a licence fee for the privilege.
Avatar 26/12/2013 14:49:42
leonard lipscombe Commented:
I have been told there need only to add 1 penny per litre to cover cost of road tax
Avatar 22/12/2013 11:38:56
martin jones Commented:
what happens if you scrap a car how will you get a tax refund
Avatar 20/12/2013 10:10:50
Ken Wyatt Commented:
Adding road fund licence fees to the price of fuel has to be the fairest collection method. The more you use the more you pay. I would also like to see a means of collecting funds to provide 3rd party insurance to cover people hit by the uninsured.
Avatar 19/12/2013 20:47:06
James Carr Commented:
As above - the government know how much fuel we burn, they also know how much road tax they collect and they have a very good idea of the number of untaxed vehicles on our roads. Get rid of road tax and add the overall cost to the price of fuel on a 'per litre' basis (minus the cost to the tax payer for the (then defunct DVLA)). Simples!
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