Abolition of paper car tax disc: Why are drivers being fined and having vehicles towed away?

Around 8,000 drivers are being clamped and fined per month

Lamiat Sabin
Monday 13 April 2015 10:38
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More than 90 years of car history came to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
More than 90 years of car history came to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc

Thousands more new car owners are being hit with fines and having their cars clamped and towed away since major changes were made to the tax disc system.

Drivers have been subjected to hundreds of pounds in penalties after their cars have been towed away for non-payment of car tax – even if they have a paper disc certificate in the window.

After the new rules were introduced by the DVLA in autumn last year, paper tax discs no longer need to be displayed on windscreens and are now processed digitally instead.

However, car traders are advised to notify buyers that the vehicle excise duty of a second-hand car is automatically cancelled when it changes ownership – therefore new owners should make sure their car gets the green light from the DVLA before driving.

Motorists will need to renew the tax disc online, even if the paper version has still not expired, otherwise they could be fined and their car could be taken to a pound after being spotted and checked by number plate recognition cameras.

What is a tax disc?

Drivers will not be unfamiliar with these circular pieces of paper. The licence was usually displayed on the windscreen to show that vehicle excise duty – or road tax – had been paid for that car.

When and why did it change?

How many drivers have been hit by the changes?

Before the reform, agencies working on behalf of DVLA clamped around 5,000 vehicles a month. This has now risen to almost 8,000 – with some towed away without even a warning letter. More than 100,000 vehicles are expected to be clamped this year compared to 60,000 last year, according to The Guardian.

I want to buy a second-hand car. What should I do?

Buyers of second-hand cars are advised to pay the road tax by visiting the Post Office, phoning the DVLA or via their website, as drivers will not be able to use the tax disc of the previous owner. This is to avoid being clamped or fined.

I want to sell a car. What should I do?

As the tax for a particular car is cancelled after an ownership change, DVLA should send you an automatic refund. You are advised to check that you have given the department your correct address to allow this to happen.

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