Will the demise of paper tax discs result in drivers breaking the law?

Tax disc

Some 44% of motorists fear the scrapping of the paper tax disc will encourage people to break the law, according to the RAC.

From 1 October, it won't be necessary to display a paper disc on your windscreen, with the DVLA moving to an electronic registration system that will allow drivers to pay their car tax via direct debit.

Nearly two-thirds of motorists also fear the change will lead to a rise in the number of untaxed cars on the road.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: "There is clearly concern among those motorists that we surveyed over the issue of enforcement. Most of the changes make sense and will benefit the motorist, but too many motorists are unaware of the detail and the big question has to be whether enforcement using only cameras and automatic number plate recognition will be sufficiently effective.

"There are clearly many people who still believe that the humble tax disc is a simple yet highly effective way of ensuring all motorists pay their VED. As a result, there is real concern that without the need to display a disc, less scrupulous motorists will take a chance and try to evade payment.

"This already happens with insurance and adds an average of £33 to the premiums of the law-abiding majority who pay their insurance."

However, the DVLA disagreed with the RAC. A spokesman said: “It is nonsense to suggest that getting rid of the tax disc will lead to an increase in vehicle tax evasion. We have a proven track record in making vehicle tax easy to pay but hard to avoid, with over 99% of all vehicles taxed. The DVLA and the police have been using cameras and automatic number plate recognition for enforcement since 2001, with car tax evasion being halved from 1.5% in 2007 to 0.6% in 2013.”

Meanwhile, more than a third of motorists aren't aware that the paper tax disc is about to be made obsolete.


With less than two weeks to go before its demise, the RAC found that 36% of drivers didn't know anything about the changes, while 47% of drivers were uncertain when the changes were coming into force.

Such changes include from 1 November direct debits will be available and motorists will be able to pay their tax on an annual, six-monthly, or monthly basis.

Here is what you need to know about the scrapping of the paper tax disc.

Buying a car

From 1 October, the tax on the vehicle you bought will no longer be transferred with the car - you will need to get new tax before you can drive. This can be bought online, on the phone or via the Post Office using the existing 'New Keeper Supplement' part of the vehicle registration certificate.

Selling a car

If you sell a car after 1 October and inform the DVLA, you will automatically be refunded for any full calendar months left on the tax that are unused. You will no longer need to make a separate application for a refund of vehicle tax.

When direct debits won't be available

You won't be able to tax your vehicle via direct debit for fleet schemes, HGVs or first-registration vehicles.

How to check the tax status of a vehicle

You can check the status of any vehicle by visiting gov.uk/check-vehicle-tax

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Your Comments

Recently a very elderly gentleman I know was driving through a lonely part of Sussex and  was flashed down by a Police car.
The policeman marched over and stated that he had no road tax and no insurance and that he would have to leave his car there [ note: no offer to give elderly gentleman and his elderly wife a lift to civilisation] 
The elderly gentleman got out of his car, pointed out the valid car tax on his windscreen, then produced his valid car insurance.
Exit policemen muttering about faulty computer.
How many other "faulty computers" do the Police have? 
Hope that they sort them out before 1st October!

And just how often do the police actually get behind someone's car? The old tax disc was clearly visible to all and checking was simple. The new system relies on a computer and them actually getting behind the car. I think it will increase evasion significantly.


Saw someone taking photos of car number plates at the airport car park recently.. probably shopping for a clone number!!!  It has made it easier for the bad boys to operate.

I live in Spain, and one of the largest problems is British Cars without tax, and therefore without MOT or Insurance, at present the only way the police here have any chance of identifying the lawbreakers is through the visible tax disk.  Now there will be no way and it is therefore likely to be much more dangerous with more uninsured and unsafe cars without MOTs driving around. This will not just be a problem in Spain but across any international country.  In Spain the ITV(MOT) is a visibly displayed badge on the car, and the police regularly set up checkpoints to monitor these visible ITV Badges, a much more sensible approach.  Also I understand from a recent BBC Radio2 program that in the past 3-4 years no-one has been successfully prosecuted in the UK for no Tax and also there are only a very small number of DVLC camera cars covering the UK, I believe it is either 10 or less!!!!  This is what happens when juvenile lets be modern and embrace technology persons (without any knowledge of the whole problem) become chief executives of important bodies such as the DVLC, whatever happened to the idea of experience and CONSULTATION.

This is the whole point. Yes that may be so that they have a track record of 99% of all vehicles taxed, of course this is with the current system, but I'm sure as many agree that especially in more rural areas where the equipment will be more scarce then drivers will be more inclined to take a chance.

Seems to me there is also an oppertunity for the government to make even more money out of the motorist.?
If you can only get a refund for a full month and  you need to tax your second hand car imidiately doest that mean that one month is taxed twice in many instances??
Largely irrelavent to the individual but how many second hand cars are sold each year?