posted 2 years ago

Vehicle Road Tax Changes From October 2014

Paper Tax Disc To Be Consigned To History

Motorists will not have to display a paper tax disc in their windscreen from October 1st 2014. Discs with months remaining at this point can, therefore, be removed and destroyed. But this will not be the end of excise duty that will remain payable at the current rates – it is simply that the paper disc will no longer be issued. Drivers will also – for the first time - be able to pay road tax annually, six monthly, or monthly by direct debit. Paying by instalments will incur a five percent surcharge. Furthermore, direct debit will not be accepted for first vehicle registrations, fleet schemes and heavy goods vehicles subject to the road user levy. In addition, motorists that sell a vehicle must cash-in any remaining tax (from October 1st). The DVLA will therefore issue a refund when it has: been sold/transferred, scrapped, exported, subject to a statutory off road notification, or when its tax class has been changed to exempt. This ensures that sellers cannot claim a car has (say) eleven months tax remaining when it only has two. There will, of course, be no paper disc to instantly expose this lie. This new rule ensures the buyer must tax the vehicle before taking it home. This will be done courtesy of the new keeper supplement of the vehicle registration certificate either via the internet, or the twenty-four hour automated telephone service. The alternative is to visit the post office.

Tax Disc History And Reasons For Its Retirement

The tax disc will be consigned to history for two reasons. Firstly, it is simply a receipt that can be checked by the police to ensure vehicles are taxed. But this paper trail is superfluous as cars are now monitored by a camera system that determines  – via registration plates – whether tax has been paid. If not, a fine is issued. The DVLA also regularly checks its database to establish who is breaking the law. Furthermore, retiring the paper disc should save millions of pounds per-year in admin costs – so it is a timely move even though it has been on windscreens for decades. The first, in fact, appeared in 1921 as a circular piece of paper with a grey background and black markings. More colourful versions followed in 1923 that incorporated a vertical band of (say) green. These were not perforated so motorists cut them from their surroundings. 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 – 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.