RAC Cars News


Tax Disc Confusion Costing Drivers Dear

By raccars Published

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New car tax rules brought in by the DVLA last October are costing British motorists dear, as they appear to be unaware that any remaining period of road tax cannot be transferred to a new owner when they buy a second hand car. Since the abolishment of the paper tax disc six months ago, VED or road tax is cancelled automatically when a car is sold. The seller receives a refund on the outstanding tax period and the buyer is obliged to buy new tax for their purchase.

However, increasing numbers of cars are being clamped and impounded for being untaxed, as drivers claim to be ignorant of the new rules. Motoring groups are concerned that the DVLA has not given car owners enough time to get to grips with the new system and should have warned offenders about their lack of tax before penalising. The current situation has been called a Draconian money making scam for the DVLA.

DVLA clamping rates have gone up by 60% since the new rules were introduced, from an average of 5,000 vehicles per month, to more than 8,000. It can cost drivers up to £800 to retrieve their cars. Drivers are also unable to appeal fines as the DVLA is not affiliated to any independent body. As a result, it is believed the agency is making millions of pounds.

Critics claim the DVLA has not ensured enough publicity to educate car owners of their new obligations, with a number of drivers believing they are taxed because a paper disc is still within date in the windscreen.

The DVLA insists that it contacts every car owner to remind them when their car tax is due and inform them of the new rules, and that it contacts every new car owner to advise them that they must purchase new tax before using the car. The agency claims that it then sends a warning letter, if drivers fail to respond to the original reminder.

The new system is designed to save the DVLA millions of pounds in administration costs by switching to an entirely digital system. Drivers can apply for their tax online or at the Post Office and can choose to pay by monthly direct debit for a small extra fee. In June this year, driving licence paper counterparts are also due to be abolished in favour of the new digital system. Drivers and other interested parties, such as employers and car hire firms, which have been given permission by the licence holder, will instead be able to verify driver information online.

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