posted 5 years ago

End of the road for the ‘tax disc’

Chancellor abolishes the car 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!


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.

I have been told there need only to add 1 penny per litre to cover cost of road tax

what happens if you scrap a car how will you get a tax refund

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.

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!

I for one will greatly miss the tax disc. It is a symbol of our nation and something that I'm not sure I will be able to live without. The brightness and vibrancy of that little coloured disc always brigtened up my day.

I have owned 3 cars for the last 20 years. Have to tax them all but can only drive one at a time! The government need to abolish tax disc and put it on fuel so when the other cars are not in use, which is months on end in winter, I'm not paying for them!

17/12/2013 16:47:57 David Foster Commented: !Check out the neighbourhood watch tax disc inspector!, I didn't realise the scheme would encourage quasi- official local busy bodies to spy on motorists reporting on expired tax discs, and then moan when they hear tax discs are being scrapped!! You pathetic little meddler..

One of the other commentators already said it and I agree, calculate the revenue and then 'add' it to the cost of fuel. Can't be hard for any government to work out as they do that already whenever there is a hike in fuel duty.

So no tax disc in vehicles a haven for the tax dodgers. As a neighbourhood watch member we walk our area and any vehicles with an out of date tax disc are reported to the DVLA end of reporting for us

recovery companies cannot tow an untaxed vehicle with wheels touching the road i.e.: front lift/rear lift on a bar or an a bar, but they do not have the access to the dvla web site to check it is down to the driver at scene to check the disc, so what is gong to happen there ?

Why doesn't the government just put 1p per litre on fuel. Then the people who use the roads the most pay the most and you do away with the tax dodgers.

At present you can on the DVLA website and put in any registration plus type of car and it will tell you if its taxed or not( I assume that could also be extended to show if its taxed and tested). Seeing as pretty much everyone nowadays has a smart phone glued to their hand,information is at everyones fingertips, who needs paper anything? I will miss that little coloured circle though.

The streets near my house have recently become a dumping area for scrap cars and a car park for trade cars from local dealers. The police and council only take action if these vehicles display a tax disc that has expired by a whole month,so without a disc for us to monitor the problem will increase.Once again the government have not thought things out properly before making decisions!

On the face of it, this makes sense, but consider the cars that never pass an ANPR gantry or are never tailed by police - this is a 'dumper's charter' to leave un-taxed cars in the street. We need some form of on-line input so the public can query the taxation status of cars that stand in the road (usually outside my house!)for long periods without being moved.

Presently everyone can see which vehicles are not taxed. This change will mean only specially equipped enforcement vehicles will be able to detect tax dodgers. Usually no tax = no insurance. We will probably be more at risk from being hit by an uninsured vehicle.

These changes,will cost the motorists more in tax fees as usual, Rip off UK.

As normal the UK is about 100 years behind ,its a must if you want the UK to move forward , we are years behind with ID cards ,even third world countries have ID cards , come on the UK lets catch up with the real world .the only thing we are ahead in is taxing every one .

You will still be able to tax your vehicles at Post Office branches. There will no longer be tax discs, but some form of barcoded bill to be scanned when payment is presented. I'm a SubPostmaster and another hit to our incomes. The Government have let us down. What happened to the front office of Government work, promised two years ago?

I like the idea to remove the tax disc. I personally don't like the post office so not going there wouldn't hurt me, however I do consider the risk of more job insecurity this incurrs. I like the idea of taxing the fuel as it seems Moral? The more you use the more you pay. I think Petrol stations will need to hire security. So more security jobs to come? As far as I knew the police can only report you for not having tax as your next door neighbour could? Why would the police care? Oh well I've learnt to accept what will be will be.

What happens when you buy a 2nd hand car how will you know if it has been taxed and or not sorn???


I wonder how long it will take for someone to devise an electronic hack. Once these thing are computerised they are never safe.

Put it and third party costs onto fuel, the more you drive the more you wear out the roads and the more you are at risk of being in an accident, if you are you know the other person is insured. You only pay for fully com. So Simple the politician's will not understand it!

The best bit will be when you can only pay monthly on line......then you won't notice big increases! We all know that everything the stupid government dream up is a 'con' and usually not thought good point is when the uninsured, untsxed car with an uninsured driver at the wheel hits you, all he'll need is a fake/stolen number plate so he's untraceble and a complaint to the 'plod' can be ignored as "not enough evidence" to allow a trace. As "Mr. Slippery" said 'were're all in this together'.....It should all be great fun - but was the 'plod' consulted unless, of course, someone wishes to climb the political ladder when he retires at a relatively young age, and gave the answer someone wanted to hear.

It should be added to fuel duty - already collected so saving money wasted in admin costs involved running vehicle excise duty. Insurance and MOT already checked electronically. Millions lost in unpaid duty from foreign registered cars driving over here and not paying duty. Added to fuel they pay like everybody else. This alone would generate millions (estimates say 300,000 cars driving on UK roads with foreign registration)

I honesty cannot believe that people are giving their hard earned money to pay a tax they know nothing about, they seem to believe it is “Road Tax” when it is not, it’s VED, a vehicle tax. Are you people illiterate? Or do you have down syndrome? It states quite clearly on your reminder and on the gov website that it is a vehicle tax, not a “road tax”. “Car tax: get a tax disc for your vehicle. Buy or renew your tax disc (vehicle licence) online - get tax for your car”

Only the police have the database, what about car buyers or just your friends and neighbours

I totally agree with the other comments... PUT THE DUTY ON THE FUEL the more you drive the more you pay, I myself don't drive much but I do have a big car.. my choice

Abolish road tax,as we pay more than enough On fuel.The more we drive the more we pay on Fuel tax

You should put road tax fee on to fuel

How will this affect car dealers

What a good deal for people that dont pay road tax.With all the cars not showing road tax.What sort of Government have we got???

Its a great idea that the tax disc is to be scrapped with regards to a pointless bit of paper in today technology but why stop their put the poxy tax on fuel so the more you drive the more you pay and please please MR Camerons government introduce a tax based on bums on seats that way you can tax all your minister that fall asleep in the house of commons and charge them for not getting off their bums and going out into the wide world and doing what the are paid to do......Yep Your Job!!!!!

VED should be added to fuel. I have a gas guzzler - 4x4 on average 12mpg but I only drive it about a 1000 miles a year. It is my choice of vehicle. I could own a poxy little shopping trolley with a 600cc engine, and pay zero VED but I choose a big car. If I start doing more miles per year I will pay more into the government pit. People who do own little cars that do many mpg will have to travel alot further to match my contribution to the government. Seems fair to me. Also, I think that the tax 'disc' should be replaced by an insurance disc instead, that cannot be obtained without an MOT cert.

I can foresee thousands of cars virtually abandoned on quiet estates where the police do not check. The locals will not know whether a vehicle is taxed or not - or wiil provision be provided for the public to check a car registration for this?

An overhaul of this archaic system is well overdue, but WHY continue with any form of vehicle tax? It was proven many many years ago adding 1 or 2 pence to petrol prices would recover far more revenue to HMRC, it would be far easier and cheaper to administer - ultimately saving tax payers money, and EVERYONE who uses the roads would have to pay - no cheaters, and those who use the roads more would pay more, meaning the little old lady who uses her car once a week would pay virtually nothing! By far the fairest system available. The Gov has missed a trick here.

The emissions based CO2 charge is a /LOCAL/ CO2 emissions based charge: Picking a two seater electric car at random off the web it does 68 miles on a full charge of 21.75 kwh. The Drax power station gives off approx 658 g COS per kwh (kiloWatt hour) electricity generated, which means this two seater electric car (based on being charged from the Drax power station) actually emits, albeit remotely (when charging), approx 132 g/km CO2! Not very green compared to some of the other fuelled cars; at that rate it should be in band E - £125 per year - just like petrol/diesel fuelled cars...

What does concern me about this is databases are not 100% accurate. I was pulled over a few months ago as my car showed uninsured on the ANPR. The police phoned and found I was insured. The officer could see I had renewed the insurance nearly 3 months before and could not understand how I could drive around for that time without being pulled over. Also if a car is clamped or towed away in error and the motorist loses money as a result will he be compensated?.

@ Iain Ellis VED is not a “Road Tax” it is a vehicle tax and is based on your carbon emissions or engine size, it is a general taxation and none of it pays directly for the roads you drive on. The Road Licence Fund was abolished in 1937. Local councils recive up to 75% from the central government to cover the cost of the upkeep of the roads the other 25% is paid by council tax.

people keep talking about non-payment of 'vehicle excise duty'. Sorry, it's a road TAX and was intended to pay for new roads and repairs to existing ones. Where I'm from (and I'm sure everywhere else) that never happens!

As an ex Police officer and the issue of the tax disc, for as long as I remember we have had figures in excess of £100 million lost by the non paying brigade so as mentioned before put the VED on fuel (its always changing away)so EVERYONE who drives on the road pays for the roads and the DVLA staff could be re-employed dealing with company refunds to make sure hauliers etc aren't penalised for having to use transport to move goods around or bus companies if you get what I mean.ALL will have to pay

Its not 'just' traffic police, it's all police. We don't all have this magic computer system that lets us see who we are speaking too, who has that!! And where did they get the stat for 75% of us no longer check windscreens......... I smell shiiiiiite!

This website is called "" the people who would go to this website are people who are informed about motoring, right? Yet there are some really ignorant people on here who still call VED (Vehicle Excise Duty) "Road Tax". VED is a vehicle tax and is based on your carbon emissions or engine size, it is a general taxation and none of it pays directly for the roads you drive on, it has been this way since 1937. “Motoring taxation is made up of two elements: vehicle excise duty (VED) – a tax on ownership; and fuel duty – a tax on use. Although historically the road fund tax was considered a hypothecated tax to pay for the building and maintenance of the road network, this has not been so since 1937 and it is now a general revenue raising tax.” The below named are some of the aforementioned “ignorant people”: Ramesh Sharma Vernon. Taylor Stewart Graham Nik Mundy Graeme Sheridan-Wallis Brian Scorgie David Clynes Paul Morgan Alexander Fraser

Yet again a correspondent repeats the old chestnut that VED should be scrapped and tax added to fuel. Are you blind? Do you not realise how much of the fuel cost we pay is already tax on tax??? People who drive more are already taxed more. Add another tax to it. Genius. At least the paper in the windscreen was an instant visual of who was likely to be insured / generally compliant if they hit you. Number plate cloning is already a problem. Watch what happens next.

First of all the insurance is very expensive that is why there are to many vehicles in the uk that are uninsured, as for tax, as long as it wont exceed #100 a year, that's when you will find that every vehicle in the UK is taxed, as for the insurance they should insure the vehicle and not the driver. You buy a car and park it on the road you should have insurance for that vehicle it has got nothing to do with the driver or his driving licence. All insurance companies don't know what turn over is...

It has been suggested that the VED be scrapped and a suitable charge be added to the fuel to compensate. The advantage to this would be that vehicles that drive greater distances would effectively pay more for more use of the road while Sunday drivers would pay less. The argument there was the need for vehicles to still display a VED disc on the windscreen at a nominal cost of £5 to cover costs and postage. The problem I see is that these costs would steadily rise until a point where the VED would cost the same as it does now but the motorist would also be paying the extra tax on fuel. Another point of a VED duty based on CO2 emissions is that motorcycles and scooters are as yet paying a rate based on engine capacity. My 1300cc car has a VED of £30 while my 300cc scooter has a VED of £36. Yet my scooter does not cause congestion or damage to roads unlike cars and commercial vehicles. The laws in the UK are a farce.

Will the general public have access to the Electronic Vehicle Register?? If not how would we know whether a privately purchased vehicle is taxed?

I would be interested to learn what percentage of cars on the road currently have no tax, insurance or MoT. The tax on my main family car is annoying but the £0 tax on my Morris Minor makes me smile every time I see it and it reminds me of the MoT and Insurance dates. I wonder if the number of cars on the road without tax, insurance and MoT will now increase?

How will the police or DVLA be able to identify those vehicles where the owner has failed to renew the tax disc, and don't say using technology, when it be seen easily in a casual visual check.