September is a busy month for my life admin especially for Geoffrey, that’s the name of my car if you’re interested. MOT – check (it’s being tested at my local HiQ as I type), break down cover – check and car tax, well not quite checked off the list yet.
My car, like thousands across the country will be the first convoy to change to the new car tax regulations on 1st October but are motorists aware of the changes? Online comparison company money.co.uk recently revealed that a staggering 50% of drivers are still unaware that a change to the tax disc is imminent. I must admit that it wasn’t until my renewal letter hit the mat last week that I really paid any attention to the changes so in the name of research, the HiQ blog and most importantly making sure I am playing by the rules, I did a bit of digging.
The iconic tax disk has been around for over 93 years with 1.7 billion issued in its time but from the 1st October we will wave goodbye to this must have for cars. This has all been done to make paying your car tax easier and moves the monitoring of such compliances to the modern age as most towns, cities and police forces use number plate recognition cameras to determine if you are driving legally. According to the government these system changes will also save the tax payer a staggering £10 million per year.
Ok, so this all sounds great in principle but how will the changes affect drivers like me and my car Geoffrey?
First off, you will no longer need to display your task disk in your car so either bin it or stick it in your scrap book. But remember, just because you don’t have to display one in your car doesn’t mean you can stop paying. You’ll be sent a handy reminder by the team at the DVLA when your tax is up for renewal prompting you to pay up online, at your local post office or by phone. Unfortunately the cost of your road tax won’t change but the way in which you can pay it will. You now have the option of paying 12 month or 6 months worth of tax there and then along with a welcome change for many motorists of being able to pay monthly via direct debit from 1st November 2014 (but don’t forget the additional 5% charge for this service). There will even be an option to set up a direct debit to pay your tax via direct debit no matter how you chose to renew meaning you’re always covered. Phew, that’s one less bit of life admin to worry about!
That’s the simple stuff out the way, but what about when you come to sell your beloved car. Will you still be able to sweeten the sale by throwing in several months’ car tax? I’m afraid that will be a no. Instead, the seller will be able to get a road tax refund on any tax remaining on the vehicle, while the buyer will have to pay to re-tax the car. This is quite an important point to remember as you want to make sure you’re not out of pocket and most importantly not breaking the law.
Thankfully your refund will be an automated process with a tax refund winging its way to you automatically when the DVLA receives notification that your car has been sold, scrapped, exported or taken off the road with an SORN (that’s Statutory Off Road Notification to you and me). It’s important to make sure you inform the DVLA of any change of ownership straight away as you will still be liable for any speeding or road fines once the car has changed hands and risk a £1,000 fine. Unfortunately the DVLA don’t have the use of magic like Harry Potter and aren’t able to know changes have occurred without you telling them, but I’m sure someone in the government is working on it.
So that’s it in a nut shell.
I hope this makes these significant, if somewhat over looked changes clearer for you. I must admit I will be sad to see these little disks disappear from cars across the country. With its iconic design and fond memories of people’s first cars, I’m sure this little piece of history is set to take its rightful place in automobile nostalgia.
To find out more about the changes why not visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vehicle-tax-changes they even have a snazzy little film to keep you informed.