Road tax prosecutions soar as drivers are confused by new rules

Road tax prosecutions soar

Drivers no longer need to have a tax disc but new rules are confusing some causing prosecutions to increase (Picture © Contracthireandleasing.com)

New tax disc rules appear to be confusing drivers and making road tax prosecutions soar. In October the traditional tax disc was abolished. New regulations state that rather than tax belonging to a car, it now belongs to the individual who owns that car. When drivers tax their cars now, rather than getting a paper tax disc, their payment is registered on a database. Police cars fitted with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras can access this database instantly. If they snap a car that is on the road but has no tax, a fine is sent out. 

Road tax prosecutions soar – By how much?

According to figures from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) obtained by Auto Express, out of court settlements issued to drivers without road tax has nearly doubled since October. From April to September 2014 there were 53,799. Between October 2014 and March this year there were 97,348. If drivers don’t pay this penalty, they’re taken to court. Between October 2014 and March 2015 there were 117,490 prosecutions. In the previous six-month period there were 82,999. That’s an increase of 29 per cent. The number of drivers having their cars clamped for no road tax has soared from 5500 a month to 8800.

Road tax prosecutions soar – Why is this happening?

It seems drivers either haven’t registered the changes or simply don’t understand them. When Auto Express quizzed 6514 readers about the new tax disc legislation, it found that one in six didn’t know about the road tax changes and that a car’s tax is void as soon as the vehicle is sold. Allied to this, some people are buying cars and being told, incorrectly, by sellers that the tax disc is still valid. When someone buys a new car, they have to tax it instantly before they drive it away from the business or person they’ve bought it from.

Road tax prosecutions soar – What are the penalties?

If your car is spotted on the road and it’s untaxed an £80 civil penalty is issued. If it’s paid within 14 days that is halved to £40. If that is ignored it becomes a criminal offence. The fines for this can be up to £1000.

Road tax prosecutions soar – How to save money

When you buy road tax, you must do so from the beginning of the month during which you’ll take ownership. And anyone selling a car can’t recoup part months. It means that if you buy a car in the middle of the month, you’re paying for a couple of weeks of road tax that you won’t use. And if you sell a car in the middle of the month, you can’t get any rebate for the road tax you haven’t used. To maximise value for money, private sellers should agree with buyers to conduct the transaction at the very end of the month.

Road tax prosecutions soar – What the DVLA says

DVLA chief executive Oliver Morley said: “Previously two-thirds of all used vehicles were sold without tax so it is no different for the majority of motorists. The changes have been widely publicised and we write to every vehicle keeper to remind them of the new rules before the vehicle tax expires. We also write to every new vehicle keeper when they buy a used vehicle to inform them that they must tax the vehicle before they use it.”

One comment on “Road tax prosecutions soar as drivers are confused by new rules

  1. david crawford January 25, 2017 10:49 am

    bring back tax discs. police cars can check instantly but a cop walking througfh a car park or on a bycycle cant .

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