Saying goodbye to the tax disc

Sam Bisby

By: Sam Bisby

Officially announced in last year’s Autumn Statement, the government is calling time on the tax disc. From October this year, that little circle of paper will be vanishing from our car windows to become completely digital.

This will mark the end of what has been with us since 1921 and after the issue of 1.7 billion tax discs.

Modern tax disc

Now, no driver will have an excuse for not having vehicle tax, as automatic plate recognition cameras will now enforce those who have forgotten or refuse to renew their car’s tax, with a £1,000 fine for anyone doing just that.

October 1 will be the official date for the switchover, with the Driving Vehicle and Licensing Agency (DVLA) halting production of paper tax discs. Not only do the changes mean drivers will now save on postage, but they will also be able to pay for their tax on a monthly direct debit basis. The new process is estimated to save the tax payer around £10 million a year.

Drivers will still be able to pay for their vehicle’s tax over the counter at the Post Office, as well as online.

Some are predicting the changes to catch many drivers out, with enforcement of those without tax expected to tighten.

1923 Car Tax

Sellers have also been encouraged to get clued-up on the new rules as they too can face fines if the process isn’t upheld. Used car buyers, for example, will no longer transfer the vehicle tax; meanwhile, those selling a used car can claim unused tax.

Sellers who fail to notify the DVLA of a change in ownership will still be liable for any speeding or parking offences as well as tax charges even if they’ve sold the car on.

The party selling the car on is always reminded to send the car’s V5C to the DVLA rather than relying on the buyer to do so; a £1,000 fine could be the result of failing to complete the process in the proper manner.

Quick summary of changes:

  • Physical tax discs to be abolished and system to be completely digital.
  • Automatic number plate recognition will enforce those who fail to attain vehicle tax.
  • Fines up to £1,000 and penalty points for those who don’t comply.
  • Vehicle tax will be able to be bought on a monthly direct debit basis, as well as through the Post Office.
  • Estimated tax-payer savings of £10 million.
  • Ends 93 years of the tax disc.