DVLA slash red tape for motorists as tax disc comes to end of the road

UK Car Tax Disc

Goodbye UK Car Disc. Photo: Brian Snelson

The government has launched a package of measures aimed at cutting the amount of red tape that motorists have to face. From 2014, whether you own your car or drive it under a car leasing or contract hire agreement, you will no longer have to have your car insurance policy checked when you buy your road tax.

The government has also signalled an end to the iconic ‘tax disc’ from next October. Keep reading to find out more.

Road tax changes will cut red tape for motorists

Roads Minister Robert Goodwill has announced that drivers will no longer have to have their car insurance checked when getting their road fund licence. This is just one of several changes which come into force from 16 December 2013 which also mean that motorists will only need to tell DVLA once when they declare their vehicle off the road.

Currently, motorists who make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) have to renew their SORN every year. Last year, around 4 million SORNs were made, with over 1 million of those repeat renewals.

Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for motorists to access government services. Getting rid of needless bits of paper, making changes to free up motorists’ time, while saving money for the taxpayer, is all part of our commitment to get rid of unnecessary red tape.”

Insurance checks are no longer needed because the DVLA regularly checks existing databases for insurance under Continuous Insurance Enforcement rules. DVLA’s records are compared regularly with the Motor Insurance Database to identify registered keepers of vehicles that have no insurance.

Ashton West, Chief Executive at the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) said: “Motor insurance remains a legal requirement and these changes recognise the value and importance of the insurance records held centrally on the MID.

“The introduction of Continuous Insurance Enforcement in 2011 was always designed to provide a more robust and technology driven solution to ensuring that vehicles have insurance in place. The successful introduction of the new process by the DVLA and the MIB has enabled these changes to be made now, which will bring benefits to millions of motorists.”

Commenting on the changes to declaring SORN, Geoff Lancaster of the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs said, “DVLA are to be congratulated for making sensible use of their technology to maintain their high standards of service while at the same time simplifying life for road users.”

Car tax discs to end after 92 years

As well as cuts to red tape, the Chancellor has also announced that car tax discs will cease to exist from October 2014.

Vehicle tax was introduced in 1888, when Queen Victoria was on the throne and the Marquess of Salisbury was Prime Minister. The current system of excise duty followed in 1920 and the original tax disk was introduced the next year.

Originally, the tax disc was plain grey paper printed with black ink and sometimes carried ads on the back. It went colour in 1923 and perforations were introduced in 1938, making it easier to fit into a holder.

Now, the small paper discs are no longer required as checks to see if drivers have paid their road tax on their contract hire and car lease vehicles will be done electronically using databases.

It is estimated that motorists will be £20million a year better off thanks to the move, with businesses saving £7million in admin costs. For example, the six-month road tax charge – a popular option – will fall from 10% to 5%.

A Treasury spokesman said: “These changes mean it will be easier to tax your car, and cheaper than before to do it by instalment.”


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