Five Questions: Changes to car tax discs

 

I've heard I won't need to tax my car any more. Is that true?

I'm afraid not. The traditional tax disc will no longer need to be displayed from 1 October 2014, after 93 years on our windscreens, but drivers will still have to pay vehicle excise duty (which we commonly refer to as "car tax").

If you didn't know about this change you're not alone: price comparison website money.co.uk conducted a poll and found 40 per cent of all drivers are completely unaware of the impending changes to car tax.

Without a tax disc how will any passing police officers know if my car is taxed?

It's all done online these days. Tax discs are being ditched because the DVLA has a digital record of payments and so a paper tax disc is no longer necessary as proof.

Number-plate recognition cameras track each vehicle on the road and catch out tax dodgers.

How can I pay for my car tax?

The way drivers pay for vehicle tax is changing too. Currently you need to buy either six months' or a year's tax up-front, but from 1 November you'll be able to pay by monthly direct debit over 12 months.

However, be warned that drivers buying vehicle tax bi-annually or monthly will incur a 5 per cent additional charge. The good news is this is half of the 10 per cent surcharge currently applied to the six-month tax discs.

What happens if I sell my car?

You can get a refund from the DVLA for any full calendar months left on the car tax.

Even if you're not due a refund, make sure you tell the DVLA if you sell your car. Failure to do this means you could face a fine of up to £1,000. You'll also remain responsible for taxing the vehicle you no longer own and you'll have to pay any fines the buyer may clock up.

I thought tax was transferred from seller to buyer?

It was – but no longer. Transfers have been abolished. From 1 October car buyers will need to tax their new vehicle before they drive it home.

For more information, visit gov.uk/government/news/vehicle-tax-changes.

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