posted 2 years ago

Are you brave enough to tear up your tax disc?

Motorists divided on whether they know enough about road tax changes

Many British drivers say they are brave enough to tear up their tax disc – and are planning to do just that.

However, some say the Government should have done more to communicate Vehicle Excise Duty changes removing the legal requirement to display a tax disc from October 1, 2014.

We conducted video interviews with motorists and asked whether they were aware of the substantial changes to the tax disc system.

We also asked whether they thought more people would avoid paying car tax once there is nothing to alert passers-by and police officers. 

Some of those interviewed felt it more likely that people would avoid paying their tax once there is no physical disc on the windscreen, while others said they thought that automatic number plate recognition equipment would make it easy for the authorities to trap non-payers.

However, there was scepticism about the additional cost of policing the digital system of ensuring that car tax is paid, and concern that computerisation of the system would not be as safe and accurate as a physical tax disc.

Keep hold of paper tax disc

Lavinia Leader, 37, a PA and VW Polo driver from Hulme, Manchester, said she wasn’t brave enough to tear up her tax disc and thinks more people will get away without paying.

George Berry, 57, a cab driver who lives near Bury, Greater Manchester, was happy he knew enough about the changes but said he would be keeping his tax disc on the windscreen until it expired.

John Webster, 49, a joiner and manager from Rotherham, who drives a Citroen C4 Picasso, said he is confident that new technology will catch drivers who do not tax their cars. However, he said that he does not trust electronic records and will be keeping hold of his paper tax disc.


Michelle Hazell, 39, a knitting pattern editor from Glossop, and Andy Castle, 62, an IT support worker from Lymm, Cheshire, said they were both brave enough to tear up their tax disc.

A DVLA spokesman said it was entirely up to motorists to decide what they do with their tax disc after October 1 – display it, keep it as a souvenir or tear it up.

National research

The drivers interviewed for echoed national concerns.


The RAC believes tax evasion will cost up to £167m compared to £10m saved by scrapping paper tax discs.

An RAC survey of 2000 motorists found that:

  • 36% were unaware of the scrapping of the paper disc
  • 47% did not know when the change was due to take effect
  • 63% feared there would be a rise in the number of untaxed cars on the roa
  • 44% reckoned the change would actually encourage people to break the law

A survey for found that 50% of drivers were ignorant about when the changes take effect.

  • Nearly a third of them said they will not even try to find out what the new rules are
  • Around 53% of drivers said they would use the new option of paying by direct debit, according to the survey. 

A poll of 1,000 drivers by The Independent newspaper found that 40% were completely unaware of the impending changes.

Of those who were aware, half were unsure when they were coming in and many were not planning to find out more.


A survey for the AA found that 70% of drivers are worried that they may drive a friend’s, relative’s, rental, company or recently bought used car unaware that the vehicle is untaxed and therefore illegal to drive on the road.

  • 46% of AA members are in favour of the change
  • 55% of members in the AA-Populus poll think Direct Debit will make motoring budgeting much easier
  • 47% of AA members think that not having a disc will make it more likely that they will forget to renew

tax disc has produced helpful advice for anyone wondering what the changes to the tax disc system will mean to them.

*Are you brave enough to tear up your tax disc? Share your video with #tearupyourtaxdisc

*Sign up to MyMotoring for free reminders of driving essentials including vehicle tax and insurance.


why doesn't the government look at combining the road tax and the mot in one so when you have your mot done a holographic sticker is issued and placed on the number plate and in the windscreen so everyone can see the vehicle has tax and an mot i know this will only work on 3yo cars yes this will make the mot more expensive but sort's things out in one go.

This idea is rubbish, so we can all check tax status of cars on line at anytime, not the case, try getting vehicle status from DVLA, unavailable for the last 24 hours at least. People will still go around without tax and no one will know now if disc is not displayed. The police have better things to do than "chase" tax dodgers, how many of the police have ANPR'S on board - not all that's a cert - and do they go round back roads to check - definitely not. The whole thing is designed by the government which is riddled with flaws. There are lots of ways to improve the system without the hassle to annoy us motorists yet again. Tax on petrol might be a good idea to cover tax and insurance, plus the more you drive the more you pay? Don't agree with how much it saves the government, it will most probably cost more in the end - and I wonder where the extra income from - yes the poor motorist again. Why not make a law for every motorist to have to hand taxation, MOT and insurance to hand when stopped? The whole system is so flawed I'm sure it will make no difference to the illegal motorists but will make it more painful for us legal people. Saw on the news this morning one motorist was stopped twice for not displaying a tax disc - this on the first day of not needing to, perhaps no one has told the enforcers? Guessing this will be yet another government run shambles.

3 points , 1 there is no such thing as "ROAD TAX" IT IS VED -VEHICLE EXCISE DUTY which is an emmissions tax .2 now that the tax discs are scrapped there will be more untaxed vehicles on the road as more drivers will chance it . 3 , why won,t the government just do what the french do ie the ved tax is on the fuel ,so no one can dodge it and the more you drive ,the more you pollute so you pay more ,and if you vehicles parked for say a month you are not polluting so pay nothing !but thats too fair and simple for the government ! the french system also requires a vehicle to disply a small mot and insurance disc to show that the vehicles has an mot and is insured

No visible tax disc is surely not a good thing.I'm not a believer in entrusting everything to technology as it just isn't secure enough.What happens when the hackers get in or the fuse blows?????

Great set of changes and about time too. Sadley our money grabbing government have failed to make taxing your car in the same way as insurance i. e. If taxing your car on any day of the month. Then it expires on the same day of the following year. Yet again if you sell your car in the middle of the month. Then you should get every unused day back, but not with this bunch of thieves. Full months only as they haven't develpoed the technology to calculate the refund.

Removed mine as soon as I got up.

These changes aren't about saving money or catching tax-dodgers but just another step towards the total regulation of as many citizens as possible; just another step towards 1984... I will keep my tax disc until it expires - after all I paid for it, after that I will look around for the traditional tax disc replacement to display. Does anyone have an old Guinness label to spare?

Fuel is high enough, I've had plates stolen so if my van has road tax then so does the other driving round with my plates on. 90% of Road tax goes to government expenses so keep the tax disc, we 're going to get penalised if we forget to tax our car because we have nothing on show to let us know.

Adding more tax to petrol/diesel won't help the ved exempt vehicle users like myself (disabled) as I'd be paing for the extra tax on the fuel like everyone else! This would be ANOTHER penalty for us to bear!!

No I will keep mine to put in my nostalgia box along with my green shield stamps :-D

We have had ANPR cameras for years, it will make no difference to anybody who decided to drive untaxed. They will continue to run the gauntlet as before in cheap throw away bangers. The onlt difference now, is that the public will not know if a car is taxed or not. The stupid incompetent nanny state pushers have screwed up again, all they had to do was add a very small charge to fuel, then nobody gets away with it except those who steal the fuel. The more you drive, the more you pay, its just too simple for them to understand. But then the staff at DVLA would be out of jobs, well - boohoo. I've had enough of this stupid nanny state, I need to buy an island somewhere in the sun!

Automatic number plate recognition works on normal number plates, what about the adjusted personalised ones? It will also flag up as OK if somebody uses somebody elses number plate for a nearly identical car!

Surely if they abolished road tax and then added it to the cost of fuel it would be totally unavoidable.It would also mean those who drove less would pay less and vice versa. Not only that but it would require no police involvement or any admin at all.Would also be self governing as the 'gas guzzlers' would pay more and electric none at all.

If they are to catch every untaxed vehicle via ANPR they will need to have a system on every road, in every town & city in the UK or this "idea" will not work at all. Which will require much more layout than income from road excise for many years to come. It will allow those that already drive round in untaxed vehicles less chance of being "dobbed in" by law abiding citizens. This idea of cutting corners will not work & also expect to pay more for your vehicle insurance as it goes up on a monthly basis due to untaxed, un MOTed & uninsured cars become more & more in the very near future & having accidents with people who actually pay for the above for their vehicles.

Not every police car is fitted with the ANPR system this might have to change in the near future now the tax disc as been abolished.

I don't think we have much to fear of being caught, there are no Police cars about thanks to Teresa May and her lot!!

I removed my tax disc this morning. Looks good without it !!!

The simple solution to prevent fraud etc is to seize untaxed vehicles and only release them when police are satisfied that the individual is the owner & pays all costs plus tax.

Great Idea,ANPR and DVLA have been on top with things for some time,but it leaves things open for them to issue instant fines if you don't see or get the reminder, as I did once with a SORN vehicle I was restoring,SORNed every year for 4 years,no reminder £80 Fine 2 weeks over, so be warned, they just said its the owners responsibility

the problem as i see it is unless police stop the car in question it will be reg to nobody or a dummy name so on my opinion there will be more untaxed cars and dvla will be after ghost owners

so will we be getting a reminder like we do now? if not we will be forgetting to renew.

so will we be getting a reminder like we do now? if not we will be forgetting to renew.

so will we be getting a reminder like we do now? if not we will be forgetting to renew.

I agree entirely with James Carr's comment. Why the Governments past and present havn't adopted this idea is beyond me. Though maybe the total tax on Petrol an Diesel at 76%!! could be something to do with .

With the old visible car tax you could see if a car had been dumped as usually there was an out of date tax disc on display. Now the public have no visible sign to see if the car is legal.

The Government knows exactly how much tax is raised via the VED; just divide that number by the total number of litres of fuel used per year and add the answer to the amount of duty on each litre of fuel. Simples: everyone pays - the more one drives the more one pays!

What a bunch of Luddites. nothing has changed: 1. The authorities have not visually checked the VED disc for ages. ANPR cameras are everywhere and that makes it harder to evade VED. 3. It's most unlikely to lead to more cars being stolen because the car thieves won't know if the car they are stealing is taxed - but most are also pretty dumb and will not know about the changes. 4. If you need a disc to remind you when your tax is due (are people really that stupid!!!!) then get a circular piece of paper and write the expiry date on it and pop it in a sticky holder and place it in your windscreen - it will say a lot about you. 5. Don't tear up your last disc as it will be worth money in 20 years' time.

Sounds good for the Tax Man. If you are short of cash a month before your road tax is due and you only get one reminder and nothing els to remind you,how are you to not forget before they send you a fine in the post. I think this will lead to drivers being used as cash cow's. I have forgot before and only remembered when I noticed the date on my now out of date Tax Disc.

increase fuel duty abolish vehicle road fund license regarding electric vehicles charge at the charging point that way it is a level playing field make vehicle tax a thing of the past

The gov has not gone far enough. If they put 2pence on each litre of fuel and did away with road tax it would be fairer.No one could avoid it and the more you used the road the more you would pay and the smaller the car the less you would pay Simples drive and you are taxed

So now your tax is essentially your vehicle registration plate!! Registration plates are easily removed. Let's see how many get stolen in order to avoid VED.

Wonderful, checked today for taxation on cars DVLA site currently UNAVAILABLE, a good start or not? Sign of things to come?

In response to the headline 'Are you brave enough to tear up your tax disc,I haven't a choice as I renewed mine to start on the first of October. It was done online so I know it's offfical, but I feel a little uncomfortable because there wasn't a tax disc to display. I shouldn't continue to display the old one as an offical may think I've not renewed but it will seem very odd to have the car parked on the road without one.

done mine

To discourage any drivers from driving their vehicle without road tax, I suggest, that if caught, they will be fined VERY heavily indeed and their car impounded until the fine is paid.

are foreign plate cars exempt?