If you have taxed since October 1st you will have noticed something different in how the DVLA issue tax discs to you. In fact it is very different, because they dont issue a tax disc at all any more. You still have to tax your vehicle but you do not get anything to display.
The recent launch of this new system has been nothing less than chaotic with the website crashing on the very first day due to what has been called unprecedented demand. Servers are back up and running though and approximately 270,000 people have been through to process. However there are still millions of people unclear on how these changes affect the grand scheme of things. The article should hopefully cover the issues.
How does this affect number plate transfers?
In order to transfer a number plate any vehicle involved needs to be taxed and as proof of this a copy of the tax disc must be sent to us at National Numbers so we can forward it to the DVLA. In the event that a copy of the tax disc could not be sent to us we could get by with the expiry date and the serial number. We still advise you still send us this when possible.
If you no longer have a tax disc we technically will not need to take anything, as the DVLA should acknowledge the vehicle as taxed when the transfer is submitted. However because of this we cannot conduct any checks ourselves. E.g. in the past if we receive a tax disc that looks like it will expire before transfer is complete we would advise customers to send us the tax application as well to avoid delays.
Customers must be mindful of when their tax expires and how long the transfer can take as if it is submitted and the tax runs out the DVLA will simply kick it out and well have to start from scratch. For that reason we will still likely ask for tax information such as the expiry date.
How does this affect the DVLA?
The DVLA claim that the new paperless tax disc system will save them £10million annually thanks to the obvious need for less printing and posting. Administration processes are set to receive a cut because of the increasing amount of paperless services including the ability to tax online.
DVLA are striving to do away with as many pieces of paper as possible. Theyve already announced plans to do-away with old style paper driving licences at the end of the year, sending out photocards to anyone who renews afterwards, and they will only continue to streamline more and more of their processes in the future.
How does this affect the public?
In theory the public should receive a simple and easy service without much hassle at all. As of November 1st the DVLA will start allowing direct debit payments on tax renewals, which is immensely convenient, as well as the ability to pay for tax monthly (previously drivers only had the option to pay for 6 or 12 months). The DVLA have made these changes with the public very much in mind.
One source though explains that disc-less tax could end up costing taxpayers an extra £38million every year due primarily to the sale of used vehicles. Previously when a vehicle was sold the owner could pass unused tax to the new owner, but this has been changed. Now all new owners would be expected to tax the vehicle from the 1st of every month and the seller will only be refunded on whole months of unused tax.
e.g. A sale on a vehicle taxed until the end of November goes through on October 25th. The seller of that vehicle will receive a refund for November while buyer pays two months tax for the rest of October and November. In that case the DVLA have gained an extra month of tax than they would under the old system. At an average of £14 for monthly tax and 2.73million cars sold annually you can see how DVLA will be making a pretty penny.
Will this lead to more untaxed vehicles?
There is a fear that the removal of the tax disc could lead to more drivers deliberately or mistakenly driving around without any tax or insurance. In a survey conducted by the RAC 63% or drivers were worried about this, while 44% believed it would encourage drivers to break the law. While admittedly it would be impossible for members of the public to spot and report untaxed vehicles it should actually be easier for authorities to catch tax dodgers thanks to speed cameras.
Speed cameras use number plate recognition to identify vehicles and bring up a digital record of the tax. Unpaid duty is immediately flagged up and a fine is automatically issued to the drivers address. Unless a driver somehow manages to avoid all speed cameras itd be almost impossible for them to last long without tax and insurance.
Of course, some technophobes argue that digital records are unreliable and could lead to some drivers being wrongfully fined, but this remains to be seen. The DVLA will still be issuing tax reminders to motorists coming up to their renewal date and warnings to drivers that have let their tax expire, so there should not be an issue will drivers simply forgetting they need to tax their vehicle.