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Avoid £1,000 fine by knowing new tax disc laws

From October 1st, the traditional paper tax disc will be eliminated, with all details of drivers and their cars being kept online instead. It means that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will be able to save a lot of money in terms of administration and physical tax disc checks. Meanwhile, private reg holders will no longer have to be frustrated by their chic and beautiful vehicle having clutter on the dashboard. However, for those who don’t properly understand the new rules, a £1,000 fine could be received. Therefore, knowing the regulations is vital.

First introduced to motoring in 1921, the tax disc has become an iconic feature of vehicle dashboards, attached to the windscreen so it can easily be checked. However, from October 1st, a digital system will replace current methods, thereby eliminating paper discs. Under the latest rules, which were first announced in last year’s Autumn Statement, drivers will have to pay Vehicle Excise Duty, or road tax, by registering their car online. Payments can be provided by Direct Debit, visiting a Post Office branch or paying via the DVLA’s website. Those who don’t register their vehicles are being warned they’ll be caught out when driving by number plate recognition cameras, so they won’t be able to get away without paying.

Most of the major changes affect those buying and selling cars. For example, traditionally, those buying a second-hand car could benefit from many months of road tax left on the vehicle. However, this is no longer the case, and drivers will have to renew their tax disc immediately or risk being caught on the road. Meanwhile, the vehicle’s seller is responsible for telling the DVLA about the ownership change. If they don’t, they could face a £1,000 fine. Informing the authority is relatively easy, and requires a V5C form being filed. Anyone selling a car will get an automatic refund of any full calendar months still left on their tax disc.

The AA’s head of roads policy, Paul Watters, said: “This is a huge change and vehicle owners and drivers need to be aware of the rules. A driver, not registered owner, can be issued a non-endorsable fixed penalty for driving an untaxed car. An owner can be fined £80 for using an untaxed vehicle (one not registered off the road) and can be charged any back tax.” He added that it’s crucial for new owners to establish whether their vehicle was previously taxed or was subject to a SORN before they drive the car.

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