The Government has confirmed that the demise of the tax disc will coincide with a range of new rules. To clarify, from October 1st 2014 no vehicle will be required to display a disc in its windscreen. Even valid discs that expire (say) in January 2015 will be superfluous. Why the change? Because discs are simply receipts that can be checked by the police to ensure vehicles are taxed. This is no longer necessary as compliance is enforced via a computer-based database. The Government has also revealed that motorists will be able to pay by direct debit annually, six-monthly or monthly. Those that pay by instalments will incur a five percent surcharge and payments will continue until cancelled. However, there will be some people that cannot pay in this manner such as those with first registration vehicles, in fleet schemes and with HGVs (paying the Road User Levy). And there will be more changes. Motorists that sell cars privately will no longer be entitled to offer the "unexpired tax" incentive that adds value. Why? Because the absence of discs could make it easier for sellers to misrepresent how much tax is remaining. So, sellers will have to claim refunds for remaining months from the DVLA. Buyers will then re-tax online, at post offices, or via the phone before taking to the road.
History Of The Tax Disc In The United Kingdom
The first tax disc appeared in 1921 as a circular piece of paper with a grey background and black markings. More colourful versions followed in 1923 which incorporated a vertical band of (say) green. These discs were not perforated so motorists had to cut them from their surroundings with scissors or craft knifes. Alternatively, some people folded the squares into a round shapes and shoehorned them into their mounts. Perforations followed in 1938 then vanished in 1942. They reappeared in 1952. This gap might have been caused by the destruction of the necessary equipment during World War 2. Furthermore, until this point every disc - irrespective of when it was issued &dash expired on December 31st. This was a nightmare for the issuers that were inundated with applications over festive periods. Mercifully, from 1961 drivers could pay for a twelve month disc at any point of the year. This coincided with rigorous anti-forging measures that included circular vignettes (designs), bands of colour plus the half-tone background.
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By Stephen Turvil
Mon, 10 Mar 2014