Car disc 'double charging' costs £38 million

Sarah Coles
Car tax disc
Car tax disc

The change in the Car Tax system has led to 'ghost' car taxation, which will cost car owners an incredible £38 million a year. The problem affects people buying and selling cars - who the AA says are being unfairly forced to line the Treasury's pockets.

In the past, when you sold your car, the tax paid on it would follow the car itself - so the new owner wouldn't have to pay anything until the renewal date. Now, when you sell your car, you get a refund of any future months, and the person buying the car needs to go out and get their car taxed immediately.

On the face if it, this is fairer. After all, under the old system some people would sell a car with 11 months' tax paid, and buy one with just a month left, so in one year they could fork out a small fortune on car tax. However, the AA has pointed out that the devil is in the detail.

The buyer has to get car tax from day one, while the seller only gets full months refunded. It means that in many cases there will be days, or even weeks, where the car is 'double taxed' by both the buyer and the seller. It is calling for a change in the system, so that every day of unused tax is refunded.

More problems
This is yet another problem associated with a change that has proved a headache for motorists since the start. The AA added: "October's abolition of the tax disc continues to haunt other car buyers who are unaware that the disc is now defunct. Many who, wrongly, believe that a disc on the windscreen still indicates transferable tax, have been caught out when enforcers have caught up with them." It pointed out that there had been a 71% increase in the number of cars being clamped for being untaxed - and that at the moment, more than 8,000 cars a month are being clamped for this reason.

Edmund King, president of the AA, says: "It is right that those who deliberately evade paying vehicle tax are caught and punished. But it is a very harsh lesson for those who may not be aware a tax disc is now automatically cancelled when a vehicle changes keepership." "The DVLA must adopt a cautious and more flexible approach to enforcement during this transition."

He added: "October's abolition of the vehicle tax disc and a new process for transferring a vehicle's 'keeper' is a massive change after 90 years of the old and familiar system. We are particularly disappointed that there was not an equally massive communications campaign to ensure the UK 's 35 million drivers got the message."

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