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DVLA swamped as tax disc changes arrive

With October having arrived, it can only mean one thing in the motoristsí world; the end of the traditional paper tax disc. However, matters havenít run smoothly, with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) saying theyíre swamped with the high levels of enquiries.

From October 1st, the paper tax disc, a standard feature in cars thatís been around for over nine decades, is no longer required. Instead, all records have become digital, with automatic number plate readers able to feed into databases and indentify cars and other vehicles that arenít taxed. For many, including those with personalised number plates, the removal of this clutter from the windscreen is a welcome step. However, it seems that many motorists arenít up to date with the changes and have, as a result, been calling the DVLA for help.

Talking to Sky News, a spokeswoman from the DVLA said, ďWe can confirm that the unprecedented demand for car tax online temporarily affected the services provided by Vodafone to DVLA. Vodafoneís engineers worked hard with us to resolve the issue as quickly as possible and the service has now been restored. Vodafone will continue to monitor the service closely and will be carrying out a full investigation into the issue,Ē she said.

On Tuesday, September 30th, 270,000 enquiries were made to the DVLA, a figure that was 30,000 higher than the previous year. Meanwhile, motorists have reported slow access to the DVLAís official website and long queues when trying to make telephone enquiries.

Now that paper tax discs have come to an end, people can pay their vehicle excise duty (VED) at post offices, over the phone or online. Itís been suggested by the government that the changes will result in £7m of savings for the DVLA each year because of reduced administration expenses. However, a number of motoring groups have suggested the new system might allow extra revenue-raising potential. Meanwhile, a study also showed that many motorists are unaware how the new rules will affect them.

For example, those buying vehicles will no longer be able to use outstanding tax time from previous owners. As soon as they purchase a vehicle, new tax must be paid, with previous owners able to gain a refund for any outstanding full months. The RAC has said this could result in a spike of untaxed vehicles on the road. This could cause the Treasury to lose out on an estimated £167m per year, though the DVLA have been quick to dismiss such claims, saying thereís no reason to expect a spike.

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