As of October 1st, the paper tax disc will be no more. In its place will be a new online tax registration system, with drivers needing to make the switch before the beginning of October or they will risk being fined.
The paper tax disc has been in existence for over 93 years, but these new changes to the system will involve no tax disc needing to be displayed. Drivers have been told that it will be easier to make car tax payments, and that the system will be cheaper for the authorities to run.
Without tax discs displayed on car windscreens, the authorities will be relying on numberplate recognition cameras to check that vehicle owners have paid the appropriate tax for their cars. Most inspectors that currently patrol the streets in search of untaxed vehicles already rely on numberplate recognition cameras rather than simply looking for tax discs that are displayed, so these new changes will not make a great deal of difference in this respect. Reports have stated, however, that there will be substantial savings made by switching to the new system, with taxpayers saving an estimated £10m per year as a result.
There will be no change to road tax prices when the new regulations come in, and in addition to being able to pay either yearly or six-monthly (as is currently the case), drivers will also have the option to pay in monthly instalments. There will also be a new facility giving drivers the chance to pay their road tax via Direct Debit.
When the new regulations come into force, drivers will receive a reminder by post when their road tax is coming up for renewal. If drivers choose the Direct Debit option, however, the tax payments will continue to be debited until the DVLA is informed that car tax is no longer needed, reducing the risk of forgetting.
The changes will have the biggest impact on those buying and selling cars, with tax unable to be transferred with the sale of a vehicle. If there is any tax remaining on a car that is sold, the seller will be able to apply for a refund from the DVLA. In all car purchase situations, the buyer will need to ensure that they tax their new vehicle immediately, or risk fines.
Anyone will be able to check whether a car is taxed by visiting the Government website – all that is needed is the registration number, make and model of the car. While these changes may seem complicated in some ways, they will work towards simplifying an antiquated system.