The change that threatens to catch most motorists out is that vehicle tax can now no longer be transferred to the new owner. A DVLA spokeperson told TM: “The buyer will always need to obtain new vehicle tax immediately upon the point of sale of a vehicle, using the V5C/2 [green part of the V5]. When a motorist tells us they’ve sold a vehicle, they will automatically receive a refund for any full calendar months left on the vehicle tax.”
So now, when buying a car, a buyer must not only arrange insurance, but must also arrange vehicle tax immediately before driving the vehicle. This can be done by calling: 0300 790 6801, visiting a Post Office branch or online via: www.taxdisc.direct.gov.uk Note that the phone number should be treated as a geographical number, so if you get free minutes on your mobile phone, there should be no charge.
However, some seem inclined to ignore the new rules. One enthusiast, who would prefer to remain anonymous, told us: “The DVLA won’t know the car has changed hands until they receive the V5, so if the car was still taxed by the previous owner, then it’ll show taxed on the Police computers for several days. I’ll just take the chance and sort the tax out when I get home as it’s more convenient.”
But sellers need to be wary too. You will only receive a refund for any complete months of outstanding tax. If you sell a car after a new month has started, you’ll lose a month of refund. Remember that if you declare SORN, which now automatically triggers a refund, you won’t be able to conduct test drives on public roads.
But why have these changes come about at all? The same DVLA spokesperson added: “The benefits of a paper tax disc have become redundant over time as the DVLA and the police now rely on the DVLA’s electronic vehicle register and ANPR technology to check if a vehicle is taxed or not.
“That is why from October 1 motorists will no longer need to display a tax disc in their vehicle. They will still need to tax it, they just won’t get a tax disc. Getting rid of the tax disc will save taxpayers around £10 million every year and remove administrative inconvenience for businesses and motorists up and down the country.”
So, you can now legally remove your tax disc, even if it has time left on it. You can then replace it with nothing at all, or perhaps a replica tax disc from when your car was new. Some have welcomed the changes. Rob Norman of the Škoda Owners’ Club told TM: “I think that there will be a period of adjustment required as people get used to the new system, particularly when buying secondhand cars. The ability to pay by direct debit makes ownership easier and more affordable and I feel it will be a welcome addition for our members.”
Paying by direct debit will cost the same ‘premium’ as purchasing six months’ worth of tax rather than 12 – in other words, five per cent more than buying 12 months’ worth in one go. It will automatically cease if the MoT of the car expires. The option of paying via direct debit comes into effect today (Wednesday, October 1) for those purchasing tax online though those who would prefer to tax their vehicles by visiting a post office branch will need to wait until this Sunday (October 5).
But with no tax discs, how can the public check a suspect vehicle? Head to the website: www.vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk where you can check the MOT and vehicle tax status of any car.
Finally, don’t forget that even if you own a Historic vehicle, which qualifies for free vehicle tax, you still need to tax it. Vehicles that no longer require an MoT – i.e. pre-1960 – still need to be ‘taxed,’ even though it’s free and even though there is no longer a disc to show it.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Do you agree that the paper tax disc is now no longer necessary? Do you foresee any issues taxing your classic car in the future? Whatever your views, drop us a comment below.