Drivers caught out by new tax rules

Drivers caught out by new tax rules

Thousands of drivers are unwittingly falling foul of recent changes to tax rules .

The new regulations, which came into force from 1 October 2014, scrapped the humble tax disc after 93 years of service. It means you no longer required by law to display one in your car's windscreen.

But this is not the problem. The issue appears to be the new tax rules that apply when buying and selling cars.

As RAC spokesman Simon Williams explains: "There continues to be confusion on the rules around vehicle tax, following the changes that came in last October. When cars are sold with in-date tax discs still on display in the windscreen, some motorists are mistakenly thinking this means the vehicle is still taxed.

"But the changes mean that vehicle tax can now no longer be transferred when a vehicle is sold; it is the duty of the new owner to ensure it is taxed from the day they purchase it."


Research by the Guardian reveals that clamping by the DVLA has rocketed since tax discs became a thing of the past.

The organisation used to clamp around 5,000 vehicles a month before the changes. But this figure has surged to more than 8,000, with some motorists even having their cars towed away without any warning.

Most drivers have been caught out by the new rules regarding used car sales, under which a vehicle's tax is automatically cancelled when it is sold, even if it has an in-date tax disc displayed in the windscreen.

This means the seller is no longer able to transfer the tax to the new owner. Instead the seller receives a refund for the number of fully remaining months of tax left on the vehicle, while the new owner has to tax it again.

Lack of awareness

The vast majority of drivers know that tax discs are no longer required to be displayed in car windows.

But the research suggests that not everyone is aware that vehicle excise duty is cancelled automatically if a car changes ownership. Many motorists are being left with heavy fines because of this.

How much tax you have to pay on your car depends on the engine size or fuel type and carbon dioxide emissions, depending on when the car was registered. Other types of vehicles have different rates.

The DVLA says it writes to every vehicle keeper to remind them of the new rules before the vehicle tax expires.

It also claims drivers who do not tax their car will be sent a warning letter to remind them to tax it as they are at risk of enforcement action.

Copyright Press Association 2015 (DVLA)