GOODBYE TO THE TAX DISC – BUT WHAT NEXT?
The countdown is on for October and the disappearance of the tax disc from vehicles in the United Kingdom.
After 93 years, Chancellor George Osborne has decided that the Road Fund disc has had its day and that it is no longer required. But that doesn't mean that you have to stop paying.
The change is purely administrative: Now that ownership, MOT, insurance and tax disc records are totally computerised, the authorities say there is simply no need to print millions of tax discs every year and the money can be used elsewhere.
However, the move is not without reservations. Of the 800,000 people caught without a disc every year (according to official figures), a significant proportion of these were the result of eagle-eyed police, traffic wardens and members of the public spotting an out-of-date badge on a windscreen.
Will this mean that tax dodgers will find it easier to get away with it? The government says no – there'll be camera cars on the streets catching untaxed and uninsured cars, and you can bet they'll be doing their best to catch as many motoring criminals as they can find. Untaxed cars often have no MOT or insurance either (and can even be driven by unlicensed or banned drivers), so it's up to the police and local authorities to keep this menace off our roads.
But what happens now? The bad news for you is that you've still got to keep paying your road fund licence, even if you don't get a piece of paper to show for it. If you drive a low emission car which is rated at £0.00 for road tax, you'll still have to go through the process, and the old SORN declaration still remains if you're keeping it off-road.
The good news is that you no longer just have the choice of six monthly or annual payment – there'll be the option of paying monthly by direct debit, but it'll cost you an extra fiver per cent in administration fees. What this will do to post offices that rely on tax disc income is anybody's guess.
And we'll mourn the passing of the novelty tax disc holder. Actually, no we won't.