‘Extremely concerning’ rise in car tax evasion

‘Extremely concerning’ rise in car tax evasion
The RAC has said the recently reported rise in car tax evasion is “extremely concerning”.

Speaking after Government figures highlighted that the number of unlicensed vehicles on the road was higher in 2017 than 2015, RAC public affairs manager Nicholas Lyes suggested that abolishing the tax disc in 2014 could be behind the rise.

“It appears that having a visual reminder was an effective way to prompt drivers into renewing their car tax – arguably more drivers are now prepared to try their luck and see if they can get away with not paying any vehicle tax at all, or are simply forgetting to tax their vehicle when they are due to,” he said.

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He added that the fact a third of untaxed vehicles were those that changed hands is a strong indication that many drivers are still not aware that tax does not carry over when ownership changes.

The Government figures show that 1.8% of vehicles on UK roads in 2017 were unlicensed, compared to 1.4% in 2015.

This equates to around 755,000 vehicles and could lead to up to £107 million of revenue loss over the course of one year.

Mr Lyes called for more to be done to educate drivers about how and when to tax their vehicles. He also emphasised the need for stronger enforcement, so that drivers who do evade vehicle tax feel like they will be caught.

“From 2020, Vehicle Excise Duty receipts will also directly fund improvements to our strategic road network, so it is vital every effort is made to make sure we tackle evasion so our road network does not lose out on essential investment,” he said.

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Of the unlicensed vehicles identified in the Government’s research, just over half (52%) had been unlicensed for two months or less.

The West Midlands (2.1%) and North West (2%) had the highest rates of evasion.

Every vehicle registered in the UK must be taxed if used or kept on a public road. If a vehicle is kept off road, it should be taxed or have a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.