RAC Cars News


Abolition Of Tax Discs Could Encourage Non-Payment

By raccars Published

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The RAC has raised concerns about the impending abolition of the paper tax disc in the UK, suggesting that it could encourage drivers not to pay their VED. The association believes that drivers may feel more confident in evading detection for non-payment of their road fund licence without the need to display proof in the form of a tax disc.

While the DVLA is adopting an electronic system to manage car owners' tax payments, in an attempt to save up to £10 million annually, the RAC fears that those savings could be wiped out by the losses caused by drivers dodging their VED payments. The association fears a similar situation arising to that whereby an estimated one million car owners continue to drive without valid insurance cover, which could end up costing the Treasury £167 million per year.

Although the tax disc was a very visible method of ensuring that VED was paid on a car, the new system of enforcement will rely upon number plate recognition technology used by traffic and police cameras. Licence plate information will be automatically checked against the DVLA database, to identify which cars have had tax paid on them and which have not. While urban areas, motorways and other major roads can contain a comprehensive network of fixed cameras, quieter and more rural areas are inevitably subject to far less coverage, putting a lot of extra pressure on police officers on the ground, to identify and prosecute untaxed car owners.

Data analysed by the Department for Transport showed that only 0.6% of road traffic failed to have VED cover last year, amounting to 210,000 cars and lost revenue of £35 million. However, a recent RAC survey of 2,000 motorists saw 63% of respondents confirm a belief that tax disc abolition would cause a rise in the untaxed vehicles on the roads, and 44% believed that people would be actively encouraged to break the law under the new system.

There is further concern that with only days to go until the new tax system takes effect, too many British car owners are unaware of exactly how it will affect them. On an everyday basis, few motorists should suffer any problems and in fact the new availability of direct debit payments should make life easier for many car owners. But motorists need to make a point of informing themselves about how the changes will affect them, in order to avoid potential £1,000 fines for breaking the new regulations.

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