The demise of the paper tax disc: Your questions answered

The demise of the paper tax disc: Your questions answered 18th September 2014

On October 1st the paper tax disc, which has been a staple of the British automotive sector since 1921, will be abolished and replaced by a simple electronic register of taxed vehicles which the DVLA will use to keep track of who has and who hasn't paid the levy. 

The move is designed to make it harder for people to avoid paying road tax, with the DVLA able to rely on number plate recognition cameras rather than the more difficult visual checks. 

However, a survey published by the RAC has discovered that 36 per cent of people are unaware of the impending changes, while 63 per cent believe it will actually lead to an increase in people not paying road tax. 

With the move a little over two weeks away, we answer some of the key concerns Brits have over the changes to a system that has been in place for over 93 years. 

  • Does this mean I don't have to pay? No, the change in the law merely means that you don't need to display a physical tax disc in your windscreen. Road tax will still be a requirement. 
  • How do I know my vehicle is taxed? Drivers can check the status of their car's tax at any time via the DVLA website on the Vehicle Enquiry System, which will confirm the status and when tax is next due for renewal. 
  • Will I still get a reminder? Yes, there will be no change to the process, and you will still get the same reminder in the post when it comes time to renew your road tax.
  • What happens when I buy or sell a car? This is one of the bigger changes taking place. From October 1st, road tax is no longer going to be transferred with a vehicle. This means when you buy a car, you'll need to buy tax from the first day, while sellers will be able to apply online for a refund. 
  • What if I need to provide tax proof to buy a parking permit? The DVLA has informed all local authorities about the changes, and they will be able to check online. 
  • Won't it mean more people avoiding road tax? No. In theory, the new process should make it harder for people to avoid tax. The visual check of tax discs has already become somewhat outdated and obsolete, with number plate recognition a much more efficient way to ensure car's are taxed. It is estimated that this will save the taxpayer £10 million per year. 

Posted by Danielle Barge