back to article Car tax evasion has soared since paper discs scrapped

The abolition of the paper tax disc is costing the UK government £107m due to an increase in car tax evasion. According to statistics from the the Department for Transport (DfT), 1.8 per cent of vehicles on UK roads in 2017 were unlicensed, compared to 1.4 per cent in 2015. This equates to around 755,000 vehicles and could …

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    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No car tax?

      DVSA had loads of cars out with ANPR checking for tax shortly after the change. I haven't seen any for many months now.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: No car tax?

        I drove a brand new car for 6 months with the wrong number plate on it, and the only time it became apparent was when I took it to another garage to get serviced. The number plate didn't exist. So back I went to the garage I bought it from, and they very hastily changed the number plate.

        Quite simply, the way we pay for car tax now and the method is brilliant. No one I know has moaned about it. The issue is remembering it's due. Thats where the tax disc was brilliant as it was a visual reminder. Now we don't have it.

        1. alain williams Silver badge

          Re: No car tax?

          Thats where the tax disc was brilliant as it was a visual reminder. Now we don't have it.

          How hard would it be for DVLA to generate a PDF with a tax disk in it that the car owner could download & print ? This would have no legal standing but it would serve as a reminder. It could even be a money spinner ... there are enough people who would pay an extra 50p car tax in exchange for a personalised tax disk: picture of your cat, iconic background (Buck house, ...), slogan (my other car is a ...).

          1. David Nash Silver badge

            Re: No car tax?

            "How hard would it be for DVLA to generate a PDF with a tax disk in it that the car owner could download & print ? "

            Good idea. When the change first came in I photoshopped a scan of the old disk to make a new reminder.

            However they do send letters reminding me to pay. So it's not that hard to remember.

            1. Loud Speaker

              Re: No car tax?

              they do send letters reminding me to pay.<P>Which may, sometimes, even go to the right address. However, they don't always arrive at all.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: No car tax?

            "Thats where the tax disc was brilliant as it was a visual reminder. Now we don't have it."

            I suspect that may be a big reason from the increase in untaxed cards - from the headlines I'd assumed there were a huge proportion of cars now not taxed but from the figures here then 1 person in 300 forgetting that their car need its tax renewing would explain the change which doesn't sound entirely impossible.

            "How hard would it be for DVLA to generate a PDF with a tax disk in it that the car owner could download & print ?"

            When you renew online you can get an email to confirm which you could print out and file. Also, they still send you a reminder letter if you've kept the "keepers" address upto date - I just write on that thah I've renewed and file that. Finally, there is an online mechanism to check the car tax status of anycar (you have to click to say its your car or you are authorised to look up the status!) on the governemnt web site and I think that also gives the renewal date.

            Now, ensuring you car is insured when Direct Line forget to send you the renewal letter is another matter - a couple of weeks back I thought I ought to have heard from them, checked the existing policy and found it was about to expire in 4 days!

            1. swampdog

              Re: No car tax?

              I've never had an email confirmation. I do ctrl-p on every page because they do say it is a beta.

            2. leexgx

              Re: No car tax?

              i just have mine set to monthly payment if that stops coming out of my bank i know my car is untaxed (but i agree this is a pure money grab and they saying that they are losing £80 to untaxed cars is a farce as they fine you over £100-400 fine+tax fee to re tax your vehicle (if police catch you its 3 points+ fine),, if the come around and see the car on the road or a DVLA controlled APNR cam catches it

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: No car tax?

              Avoid Direct Line like the plague.

              They stopped my ex's insurance without even a letter, so she got done for driving without insurance.

          3. iRadiate

            Re: No car tax?

            How about an email reminder? My insurance company manages it. So does my dentist. So do the hotels I stay at.

        2. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge

          Re: No car tax?

          "Thats where the tax disc was brilliant as it was a visual reminder. Now we don't have it."

          Well we all have smartphones, PCs, laptops, online services, pen and paper, calendars, there's an Office World in most towns, there's not real reason to not put a quick reminder in your phone to nag you in 6 or 12 months time to pay such-and-such.

          Here's a Blue Peter idea!

          The tax disc doesn't exist, so print your own and stick in your car to remind you. There must be plenty of stock photos of them online, slap it into Word or whatever, put the next due date in and print your own handy reminder!

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: No car tax?

          " The issue is remembering it's due."

          If you ignore the form DVLA send out headed "Vehicle tax reminder" in large friendly letters I doubt the tax disk will be a more effective reminder.

        4. handleoclast Silver badge

          Re: No car tax?

          Thats where the tax disc was brilliant as it was a visual reminder. Now we don't have it.

          How hard would it be to cut out a paper disc of the same size, write a date on it, and slip it into a tax disc holder glued to your windscreen?

          If you need a reminder and don't have a mobile phone with a calendar app on it, that low-tech trick would work.

        5. jmch Silver badge

          Re: No car tax?

          "the way we pay for car tax now and the method is brilliant. No one I know has moaned about it. The issue is remembering it's due"

          Here in Switzerland the licensing department simply sends an invoice when the tax is due. How difficult can that be to set up, as opposed to leaving it to individuals to remember to pay it??

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: No car tax?

      All speed averaging cameras are capable of dumping ANPR info for this purpose. All of London low emission zone cameras can do it too. Same for the congestion charge. Same for parking charges. Same for...

      Not doing so is a waste of public money - in most cases we f*** paid for the bloody things to be put up. In the cases where they are private (ANPR at parking entrances and exists) the police is perfectly entitled to ask for a nicely formatted dump once a month.

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: No car tax?

        @Voland's right hand: a nicely formatted dump once a month.

        a nicely formatted dump once a month day.

        FTFY

        Ahhh...bliss.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No car tax?

        "the police is perfectly entitled to ask for a nicely formatted dump once a month"

        I'd be happy to give them one of mine.

        1. Anonymous Coward
      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: No car tax?

        "All of London low emission zone cameras can do it too. Same for the congestion charge. "

        7 years ago the Met was estimating that thanks to congestion charge cameras, around 8-10% of cars on London roads were running on cloned plates.

        The dork that drove into me went one better, not only was the plate fake, but the tax disc that went with it was visually quite credible - and the car even had a faked up VIN that passed casual view (as in right for the model). It shouldn't be a surprise that he ran off and left his pride&joy sitting in the middle of a busy Croydon road, rather than be there when the Plod arrived.

      4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: No car tax?

        "the police is perfectly entitled to ask for a nicely formatted dump once a month."

        Under what legislation are they entitled for this?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No car tax?

      Simply enable automatic fining from ANPR camera's and smart motorway camera's across the UK. They'll get flagged up by police vehicles too.

      Flag them for enquiry, but automatic fining would run into issues (unless you have a robust appeals system).

      For instance, last year I moved house and duly submitted the V5 portion for change-of-address.

      The monkey at the DVLA somehow decided I had sold the car to another person of the same name and did a change-of-keeper.

      Because tax does not transfer, the car was then technically untaxed for over a month whilst the DVLA unpicked their mistake.

      ANPR would have told you that the "new" owner was untaxed, but in reality there was no new owner, just a paperwork error. Since I did not pay in the cheque they sent me for the unused tax (I sent it back with the erroneous V5), any court would be forced to concede that I had indeed paid my tax and the DVLA had my money, they'd just messed up their paperwork.

      But we don't really want to bung up the court system with that sort of nonsense.

      1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: No car tax?

        Similar with myself a few years ago, I was taxing the wife's new (to her - used) car but they asked for my name, I'd assumed for legal purposes I gave it.

        The V5 later arrived with my name on it. Sent it back with an explanation letter and to correct to my wife's details, they sent one back in her name but with myself as previous owner. Which means that instead of "2 previous owners" it now has 3, minor but these details help when it comes to resale.

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: "2 previous owners" resale

          ...and if your name is Godfrey Davis then you would have no chamce.

      2. swampdog

        Re: No car tax?

        Seems like an awful lot of bother. Just buy a car with foreign plates. Is there a point at which offences stack up enough for our police to bother pulling them over?

      3. The First Dave

        Re: No car tax?

        A better idea might be to dump the car tax completely, we pay more than enough via fuel duty + VAT

        A few years ago, the main reason for the tax disc was actually to ensure that you had an MOT...

    4. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: No car tax?

      "Car tax evasion has soared since paper discs scrapped"

      Petrol angle grinders are becoming cost effective alternatives...

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: No car tax?

        "Petrol angle grinders are becoming cost effective alternatives..."

        But a lot harder to ride on!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No car tax?

          "But a lot harder to ride on!"

          Not always!

          https://youtu.be/Cbbztd6eb1Y

    5. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

      Re: No car tax?

      >simply enable automatic fining from ANPR camera'

      Proposing additional automated surveillance yet posting as AC. The same kind of "works-for-me" thinking that resulted the decrease in car tax revenue and no doubt other (un)intended consequences

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No car tax?

      Nice, but I have another idea.

      1. No tax, automatic fine.

      2. No MOT, vehicle impounded, MOTed and returned at owners expense, lets say 500 GBP, and this money goes to fixing the roads.

      3. No Insurance, car crushed by the new mobile car crusher, owner pays 1000 GBP for the privilege, money goes to the roads.

      Round here no ANPR cameras, so rural driving for free (not that I do it)

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: No car tax?

        "this money goes to fixing the roads."

        Sort of good idea but here's a better one.

        All money paid in VED goes primarily to fixing roads. If and only if there's any left over does it go to the Treasury.

        This was a tax previously known as the Road Fund Licence. That, obviously, was embarrassing once the Treasury decided to use it as a form of general taxation.

      2. swampdog

        Re: No car tax?

        1) Have you ever, ever been unlucky? My road tax fell off my van minutes after renewing it. Camera. Instant fine.

        2) An MOT is a certificate that the vehicle is roadworthy. If it ain't moving? You might as well lump it into (1) as a tax.

        3) Ever had a car crushed? Sorry, it wasn't registered as insured in your name.. talk to fob off dept.

        Under your new rules.. am I not allowed a party? Someone left a car on my back lawn. It wasn't taxed. No idea if it had an mot. Who's responsible? I waited a couple of weeks, applied for the reg docs then asked local plod: "fuck it, it's yours mate".

        The above is an extreme example of "a parent may be in hospital". Get a grip!

      3. david 12 Bronze badge

        Re: No car tax?

        Punishment (automatic fines, impound fees, car crushing) is not an effective way of reminding people to pay their tax. Whish it was. Would be nice if it was. But it's not.

        This hits people hardest who are stupid, disorganised or crazy. The people who have no money and are doing it tough because they are stupid, disorganised or crazy.

        I understand that the police don't use tax disks anymore, they are all compuertised. I don't think poor, stupid, ignorant, crazy people should be penalized because the police don't need hard copy.

      4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: No car tax?

        1. No tax, automatic fine.

        2. No MOT, vehicle impounded,

        3. No Insurance, car crushed by the new mobile car crusher,

        Th big problem with all this (apart from the draconian nature) is that (as previous posters have shown) is that none of the management of these things is perfect.

        Do you fancy losing your car (or having it crushed) because some clerk somewhere is having a bad day and enters details incorrectly?

        I don't..

    7. swampdog

      Re: No car tax?

      I'd agree in principle though I suspect you must be young. Decades ago before "sorn" I had a traffic warden attempt to lift the cover off an off-road car. PCSO's and wardens are the same mentality. We knew he would be back. My mate owned a 1939 US army comms truck, one of those six wheel jobbies. If you were lucky it would crank raw fuel down the sidepipes then fire up. Told you to move mate.

      ANPR only works for the masses. Buy a number plate with my reg on it and I'm in a whole load of shit.

    8. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: No car tax?

      in the USA the car license fees (and taxes) are handled by departments of motor vehicles. In Cali-Fornicate-You, they issue a sticker that you put on your license plate. Some states issue new license plates every year (or used to). Your car gets cited if the sticker is observed to be out of date. And each year's sticker is a different color so it's easy to see from a distance.

      The sticker system works pretty well, actually. I'm not sure what a paper disk looked like, but if it was placed in the car windshield it would be a similar kind of system.

      now, if Cali-Fornicate-You would just STOP IT with the tax increases I'd be a lot happier...

    9. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: No car tax?

      Simply enable automatic fining from ANPR camera's(sic)

      Because no one would ever clone another number plate would they? Or use a numberplate from another vehicle..

      (Like most automated enforcement methods, ANPR is a pretty blunt instrument. Useful in certain circumstances, pretty useless in others).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is there a corresponding increase in uninsured cars?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It appears to be the case according to this article in July 2017.

  3. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Abolish road tax and put it on fuel instead. It's done elsewhere so why not here. You pay more or less according to your road usage. Simple, fair and no way of avoiding it.

    Oh, and an insurance disc required to be displayed on the windscreen for good measure, to me that's more important to know that is covered.

    1. The Commenter formally known as Matt

      no more disks in windscreens! ANPR can look it up automatically, no need to go back to last century tech!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "no more disks in windscreens! ANPR can look it up automatically, no need to go back to last century tech!"

        Is this on the same site that is sick of governments spying on everyone? Yes, yes it is.

        You're suggesting what realistically, 10,000 to a 100,000 cameras?

        You do know those that are deliberately avoiding them, will just dodge down a different road to avoid any fixed ones.

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          You're suggesting what realistically, 10,000 to a 100,000 cameras?

          From ACPO and Surveillance Camera Commissioner announcements It is possible to say with confidence that we've got something around 45,000 public surveillance cameras already (not including ten times that number of private or commercially owned cameras), and since the authorities have gone large on surveillance, they might as well use the things properly. We know they don't, but that begs the question why did the tossers bother in the first place, other than wasting my money on toys for bureaucrats?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "You do know those that are deliberately avoiding them, will just dodge down a different road to avoid any fixed ones."

          Or put their number plate in the front window obscured by wipers, and the rear one recessed back in to the bumper so high up ANPR cameras can't read it but it looks acceptable on road level.

          Anonymous because of reasons...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Or put their number plate in the front window obscured by wipers"

            Yes seeing more and more of this at least 2 a day.

            Simple answer.

            Any car with number plate in windscreen = Car crushed.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "You do know those that are deliberately avoiding them, will just dodge down a different road to avoid any fixed ones."

          That's already nigh on impossible unless you live rurally and never visit any towns or use any major roads.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >ANPR can look it up automatically, no need to go back to last century tech

        But ANPR is still using last century's tech - 10 secs on AutoTrader is all it takes to find a vehicle of the same model/colour and a number plate to copy.

        1. Craig 2

          It should be feasible to cross-reference number plates and flag impossible situations such as the same plate being 'x' miles apart within an impossible time frame.

          Even better, a plate that is regularly flagged close to the registered keeper's address is more likely to be genuine than one being driven around locally in a completely different area of the country. Obviously exceptions apply, before some smart alec posts his particular situation.

      3. YetAnotherLocksmith

        But humans haven't memorised the current status of a million numberplates...

        The whole point of a visible representation of the tax on the car was so that *everyone* could, at a glance, see that it was taxed, not just the owner.

        It was a very useful way to tell if a car or even a house was abandoned. The public could see the car was untaxed and had run out 3 months before.

        For the cost of a single full colour letter, not having a disc to display is a stupid cut.

    2. DailyLlama

      Mostly agree

      But there's no need to increase the tax on fuel, it's already expensive enough thanks

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mostly agree

        "But there's no need to increase the tax on fuel, it's already expensive enough thanks", you are already paying the tax up front. Putting it on fuel means that the money stays in your bank until you buy fuel or alternatively don't because you have legs.

        As to tax on fuel being too high but until all VED goes only to repairing the roads then some people need a graphic example to understand just how much tax you are paying to be allow to drive to work.

    3. BrownishMonstr

      Wait,even more tax on fuel? Supposedly we pay 61%of fuel duty, plus VAT on top of the duty and fuel. It might not be called tax but it's practically the same.

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        Yes more tax on fuel but no VED that's the point. It's fair and proportionate to your actual usage. As for the "no more paper discs" comment, for insurance this is exactly what is needed to ensure less scum are driving around without it. It's also easier to get the details of the insurance company from someone you've had a bump with because it's right there. More rests on someone having insurance than someone unfairly not paying their road tax.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Because nobody would dare mock up a fake paper disk? Or use foreign number plates? Without rigid and effective enforcement it doesn't matter.

          In some countries, the cops will pop 'round and remove your number plate, in others they scratch off the city seal. They're notified by the insurance companies/tax agency for lack of payment. Considering we happily give private companies access to the database of vehicle registrations, allowing the extortion racket access wouldn't be a stretch.

      2. Kevin Johnston

        Actually no....The tax and duties on fuel are around 200% of the fuel value. They way it is talked about is a ruse to understate that since the 61% you mention is the proportion of the pump price. That means when it was £1 per litre, the raw fuel cost was 39p and the tax and duties were 61p. All the companies in the delivery chain from the original refinery got the VAT back from the next in the line but the poor (and rapidly poorer) motorist paid for everyone.

    4. S4qFBxkFFg

      It's a good idea, but "Simple, fair and no way of avoiding it." matters much less than:

      - the Government deciding it deserves time in Parliament

      - transport minister(s) being prepared to lose part of their little empire to the Treasury

      also:

      "But there's no need to increase the tax on fuel, it's already expensive enough thanks"

      "Wait,even more tax on fuel? Supposedly we pay 61%of fuel duty, plus VAT on top of the duty and fuel. It might not be called tax but it's practically the same."

      Er, OK - so how is the shortfall to be made up? Not sure of the most recent numbers, but I'd expect somewhere above £6,000,000,000.00/year would be required if the car tax was abolished.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        VED is about £5 billion per year to the government.

        Fuel taxes are more than 10 times that much revenue (£65 billion in 2009)

        When Cameron promised to ringfence vehicle taxation for roading, he knew full well that it was a minor issue in comparison to the income from motor spirit taxation and duty. (a litre of petrol's _actual_ cost is about 20p, the rest is tax of some sort or another.)

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "(a litre of petrol's _actual_ cost is about 20p, the rest is tax of some sort or another.)"

          It's always puzzled me how VAT can legally be added to price + duty on fuel and alcohol. Where's the "Value Add" in the duty part of the cost?

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "Where's the "Value Add" in the duty part of the cost?"

            In the Treasury.

    5. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

      But they do plan on increasing the duty on diesel, because despite previous governments telling us we were saving the planet by buying diesels with high mpg and low co2 figures, with cheap or next-to-cheap VED (£20 a year was half the price of taxing a 151-400cc motorbike!), the Tories say diesels are now evil, and must now be taxed to oblivion, and we must all now drive electric.

      And then in 10-20 years they'll realise coal fired power stations are bad, and increase the price of electricity / VED on electric/hybrid cars.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        And then in 10-20 years they'll realise coal fired power stations are bad

        They're all due to close within five years.

        Oh, hang on, I see your point now!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @ Rich 11

          Re coal fired power stations closing down in 5 years..

          Then all the lights will go out.

          See here for an interesting site re electicity

          http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "And then in 10-20 years they'll realise coal fired power stations are bad, and increase the price of electricity / VED on electric/hybrid cars."

        Your time frame is probably optimistic. As soon as any tax incentive is effective enough to cut into the takings it will be removed. Emissions might be used as an excuse but the Treasury wants its pound of flesh (but will take cash as a preferred alternative).

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Abolish road tax and put it on fuel instead. "

      And electric cars?

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        "And electric cars?"

        Erm... They don't pay road tax anyway!

        1. Ochib

          "Erm... They don't pay road tax anyway!"

          No one pays Road Tax, it's call VED

          1. Martin Summers Silver badge

            "No one pays Road Tax, it's call VED"

            Bit pedantic. People know what it means. I've used it interchangeably and so have others.

          2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

            Actually as of the last budget they do pay a form of VED now but *all* vehicles, even if zero-rated, need valid VED.

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              but *all* vehicles, even if zero-rated, need valid VED.

              Indeed. I still have to suffer the Month of Smugness from the Senior Managment when I'm forced to pay out the extortionate fee of £0 on her Morris Minor[1].

              [1] One year younger than me and in far better mechanical condition..

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "No one pays Road Tax, it's call VED"

            Maybe you should tell the DVLA then?

            https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-tax

            "Tax your vehicle

            Tax your car, motorcycle or other vehicle using a reference number from:"

          4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "No one pays Road Tax, it's call VED"

            Actually DVLA now seem to be referring to it as "Vehicle tax" in their reminders.

            What's more, the Treasury won't thank you for reminding people that it's not a road tax; they prefer that people continue to think of it in that way; it makes them think they're getting better roads for what they pay although applying common sense to what they actually get in the way of roads should disabuse them of that.

        2. Credas Silver badge

          Erm... They don't pay road tax anyway!

          Now, while they're a tiny fraction of cars. Wait until the VED hosepipe starts slowing down, then you'll see a sudden change of attitude - much like those millions of people who responded to government incentives to buy diesel cars are about to find out.

        3. Paul Hargreaves

          Yes we do... though it's called a supplement and we only pay it for 5 years.

    7. Tom 7 Silver badge

      @Martin Summers

      Putting it on fuel has its problems. Apart from pushing the price up and encouraging further fuel cleansing to avoid tax - you'd be amazed how people come down to my remote farm to try and steal red diesel for just that purpose. Also smuggling is easy - most foreign truckers coming to this country have extra large tanks already to avoid having to re-fuel here and any excess can often be bought from returning truckers.

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        Re: @Martin Summers

        "Putting it on fuel has its problems. Apart from pushing the price up and encouraging further fuel cleansing to avoid tax - you'd be amazed how people come down to my remote farm to try and steal red diesel for just that purpose. Also smuggling is easy - most foreign truckers coming to this country have extra large tanks already to avoid having to re-fuel here and any excess can often be bought from returning truckers."

        I think that's always going to happen though Tom regardless. It's not something most people will do casually and so as a scheme it's less risk and likely to stop evaders. If they're avoiding paying road tax now they're going to keep doing it regardless of how it's collected.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: @Martin Summers

        "...most foreign truckers coming to this country have extra large tanks already to avoid having to re-fuel here and any excess can often be bought from returning truckers..."

        Yup. Time we made them pay a toll on entry as soon as they disembark from the ferry.

        Also make it per person - speaking with a friends' dad who owned a transport company, he was saying one of the reasons he decided to sell up and get out of that business was because of the number of Eastern European companies who could pay such ridiculously low salaries, that they would have three drivers in a cab. One driving, one sleeping and one in the passenger seat. Once the driver had done his hours, swap the discs and drivers over and carry on.

    8. barbara.hudson
      FAIL

      Fuel tax

      How do you plan to put a "fuel tax" on electric vehicles?

    9. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Abolish road tax and put it on fuel instead. It's done elsewhere so why not here. You pay more or less according to your road usage. Simple, fair and no way of avoiding it."

      Well, avoiding the ""road tax"/Vehicle Excise Duty definition...Another way to look at it is that roads are a social and economic necessity, so just because someone doesn't own a vehicle doesn't mean that they don't depend on the roads being there and in good condition. Looked at that way, everyone should pay tax for the roads so just increase VAT. The more you buy, the more use you are making of the road network for the transport of goods.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Looked at that way, everyone should pay tax for the roads so just increase VAT."

        Why do people not grok that taxes do not get abolished by such schemes?

        The VAT may go up but "road taxation" will not come down. Apart from anything else it's not road taxation, it's just taxation. If it equated to what was spent on roads we'd have much better roads and pay much less road taxation.

    10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Abolish road tax and put it on fuel instead. It's done elsewhere so why not here. You pay more or less according to your road usage. Simple, fair and no way of avoiding it."

      I'm not sure where your "here" is but in the UK something like that happens - they just replace "instead" with "as well". However, your "here" might raise this money as a means of paying for construction and repair of roads. In the UK this connection is tenuous to say the least. It's all treated as general taxation with a little doled out for road expenditure.

    11. Adam 1 Silver badge

      > Abolish road tax and put it on fuel instead.

      Not the smartest idea. It is both unsustainable and regressive. It is unsustainable because a significant percentage of vehicles in the next decade will be PHEVs or EVs. We can agree to disagree on the rate of growth of these categories, but price is coming down, choices are increasing, range is increasing and a shed load of money is going into R&D, so it will increase over time. That also drives the regressiveness. It is the wealthy who can afford such cars, so they are the ones getting the tax break. The poorer folk fighting to keep some old rust bucket alive are the ones who get hit with this tax worst (that is true even today) but because of the reduction in tax take, the rate gets increased to retain the total revenue.

      We saw something similar here (down under) with our power grid and the growth of home air conditioning. Back 30+ years, it was somewhere near 1 in 4 houses that had it. Today, every new house/unit has it almost without exception. Every renovation adds it. The extra draw on the grid means that* the distribution gets expensive upgrades to cope with the <50 hours a year where all those units are simultaneously on. Furthermore, old, unreliable, and inefficient powerplants at retirement age get billions pumped into them to keep them on life support for another 5 years. It's hard to complain** if you are sitting their in your A/C, being part of the primary cause of the demand side of things that requires. It is quite another (perverse) thing when you are not wealthy enough for A/C yet your pet bill has doubled in the last decade (and then some). The wealthy will respond to this by buying solar panels and battery storage, meaning all that investment capital gets recouped by those who can't afford to go solar/battery. It's a death spiral. So back on point, by all means have a sales tax on inefficient vehicles in the first place, or incentives to buyback old inefficient vehicles, or per Km billing, but don't put it on the fuel itself.

      * not the only reason, also some gold plating going on.

      ** actually, it doesn't seem that hard at all

    12. TonyJ Silver badge

      "...Abolish road tax and put it on fuel instead. It's done elsewhere so why not here. You pay more or less according to your road usage. Simple, fair and no way of avoiding it..."

      I've said that many times.

      Hell, even add a couple more pence per litre of fuel and use it for third-party insurance. That way no one can ever drive uninsured or untaxed.

      And on the plus side, you could potentially close a large portion of the DVLA and reap those cost benefits.

      As others have said the current system is far from ideal.

      I bought a new vehicle and had to have it replaced due to unreliability (in the few months I owned it, it was in my possession less than 25% of that time and the rest back at the dealer, so I ultimately said replace or refund).

      As a 40th birthday present my wife had bought me a cherished plate a few years prior to this.

      Quite some time after replacement I got a tax refund. Thought nothing of it, as they'd taxed the replacement.

      Not much longer after I was pulled over by the police. I was untaxed and the vehicle was showing as being in "dealer stock".

      The dealer was adamant I must've done this...no mention of the fact they most likely did it by using my cherished registration rather than the original one (despite my having put the original plates back on!).

      Thankfully the police officer was incredibly pleasant and understanding but it's not an experience I'd want to repeat.

      And...what is with this rip off concept that if I sell my vehicle today, I lost the rest of the months' tax but I can only tax a replacement from the start of the month, so effectively I pay twice. No excuse for that now it's all done automatically.

  4. Alister Silver badge
    Facepalm

    What they should do is introduce some sort of token that car owners have to display on the vehicle, which proves that they have paid their VED.

    You could print the date on it, and perhaps make it different colours every year, so an out of date one would be obvious.

    What do you think? would it work?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Alister

      That's crazy talk! Next you'll be suggesting that drivers are issued with a piece of paper, detailing things like licence endorsements, that they could carry alongside their photo card driving licence.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RE: Alister

        "That's crazy talk! Next you'll be suggesting that drivers are issued with a piece of paper, detailing things like licence endorsements, that they could carry alongside their photo card driving licence"

        Glad you mentioned that, I nearly forgot to print off the list of my endorsements so I can hire a car while I'm abroad.

    2. David Nash Silver badge

      would it work?

      It used to work...so of course they had to change it.

      1. King Jack
        Headmaster

        Re: would it work?

        It used to work...so of course they had to change it. So that they could get even more money buy making the tax non transferable on the sale of the vehicle. I'm glad they are losing money. Governments always want a larger slice.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: would it work?

          'So that they could get even more money buy making the tax non transferable on the sale of the vehicle'

          This massively gets on my tits. It's a computerised system now, why can we only buy tax valid from the start of a calendar month, why not any day? I brought a motorbike just after Christmas so my choices were ride illegally* for 4 days or pay for 27 days tax I wasn't going to use.

          *And uninsured.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You could print the date on it, and perhaps make it different colours every year, so an out of date one would be obvious. What do you think? would it work?

      No. I can scan and print an adequate copy with ten year old home technology. You can add all the farty holograms and watermarks you want to the original, those mean nothing on a sun-faded circle of parchment behind a dirty windscreen or disc holder.

      The problem here is not the lack of tax discs, but the ineffectual enforcement by the public sector dossers who wanted to get rid of tax discs PURELY FOR THEIR CONVENIENCE AND COST SAVING.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "[...] perhaps make it different colours every year, [...]"

      Except to remember not to use the colour that makes it look very like a Guinness bottle label.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Except to remember not to use the colour that makes it look very like a Guinness bottle label."

        Or very similar in colour to another disc in use at the same time. There was a case where the car tax disc and a much cheaper one - I think for tractors - were used at the same time. A clerk in the taxation office was issuing the cheaper one and pocketing the difference.

  5. Justicesays

    Moving house...

    Is one of the issues here.

    Previously you would move house, see that your tax disc was about to expire, then realize you had to update your vehicle registration document with the new address in order to get a new tax disc sent.

    Now it's the wrong way around, if you move house, your tax reminder is sent to your old address, and you have no reminder that the tax is due. Not surprising that people miss it, and I expect getting fines/tickets to people is also more problematic as addresses are less likely to be up-to-date.

  6. The Commenter formally known as Matt

    The evasion going up isn't the issue, its the enforcement. The new system was (partly) supposed to make enforcement easier (or put in place because enforcement is now easier - I can't remember which).

    So of this 1.8% how many were caught and dealt with appropriately? Sadly the article doesn't tell us

  7. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Time to bring out the mobile crushers

    Won't that make a few of the miscreants get legal?

    Nah, they don't care.

  8. Whitter
    Paris Hilton

    I was under the impression that the system automatically checked every UK licensed vehicle for a current valid tax payment, removed those with a current SORN declaration and then pestered the rest for payment.

    Is that later pestering section failing? Not being done thanks to overculling staff? Are there a lot of false SORN declarations?

    Drivers forgetting should have little to no impact if the system worked as adverstised, so what is wrong with the adverts?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      SORN

      Ah yes. I have a Motorcycle (in several boxes) that I have tried a number of times to get a SORN. Nope, can't be done. Why? It is pre 1939. Doh!

      For some reason I get the threatening notices about using a SORN vehicle on the road but the thing is not in the DVLA/DVSA/whatever database.

      They are welcome to come and inspect the boxes of bits and decide if it can be used on the road.

      When I finally retire, I'll get around to restoring it and getting it road legal. Until then, it stays in boxes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SORN

        Have a similar problem with a fully working Yamaha motorbike in storage that hasn't been ridden/taxed since 1988. No one has come pestering though, as it was last taxed before SORN. Keep meaning to sell it, but not sure if I can still.

  9. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    A cost saving

    Presumably the digital system, being a govt IT project, cost more to implement than the amount they are losing so it's a win

  10. alain williams Silver badge

    Rip off on car sales ...

    you used to sell the tax disk with the car, now you need to buy a new one with the car. In spite of it being done on-line you need to buy one from the start of the current month, but the refund only starts from the start of the next month - so double taxation.

    It is bad enough to have corporations screwing their customers, but I don't like my government to screw their tax payers.

    1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

      Re: Rip off on car sales ...

      The double-tax sale month is indeed a scam.

      However a lot of sellers still don't understand the system - the amount of cars I've seen on gumtree and Facebook groups that state "6 months tax" or "Taxed til end of ..." when it doesn't matter anymore!

      1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

        Re: Rip off on car sales ...

        "The double-tax sale month is indeed a scam."

        I suspect that a certain percentage of the non-payers will be those who felt ripped off by this and decided not to renew immediately, to recoup their losses.

      2. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: Rip off on car sales ...

        "The double-tax sale month is indeed a scam."

        Yes, and it almost certainly means the numbers presented in the article don't give us the complete picture. As well as the amount of revenue lost due to unlicensed vehicles, how much was gained due to the one month's double taxation of any vehicles transferred?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Rip off on car sales ...

      "but I don't like my government to screw their tax payers."

      You make it sound as if it's something new.

  11. Blotto
    Holmes

    How much did they collect then in £’s and how much did they collect before in £’s

    I’d like to see the actual numbers rather than sooner percentage that’s been manipulated to account for factors like inflation etc.

  12. 0laf Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Is it 'evasion' or just drivers forgetting?

    The intent is probably quite important

    1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

      Maybe we should register our cars in Mauritius, as a company asset and lease them back to ourselves?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I never pay before the 14th of the month. I use the two week grace.

      There is two week grace minimum, if you haven't previously missed it, you have 21 days minimum. Though you'd be pushing it, if you pass a Go Safe Camera van, as these detect for No MOT, No Road Tax, No Seatbelt, Mobile Phone Use and of course, Speed.

      I'm not even sure there is the 10% + 2 mph anymore, as I heard someone getting a ticket for 34mph in a 30mph zone recently.

      Absolutely hate Go Safe, they achieve absolutely nothing, enter an area, issue a fine and p*ss off elsewhere. They are equivalent to modern-day highway robbers in rural areas because we see absolutely no benefit from them and it's not as they get a mass of complaints, saying we need their services, GoSafe "assume" we need their services - we don't and if we did, we'd ask.

      I wish we could take a vote, and have a 12 month sabbactical, get an injunction against their use, and see if we really do have a noticeable speeding problem, or it's made up by GoSafe, to just collect revenue/"clip heads".. Most here are just people trying to stick to the limit, caught unawares. All the speed limits have been reduced massively as an 'experiment', no legal justification in doing so.

      GoSafe are taking reveune away from the local rural economy, that could be spent locally on services. Most moved a rural location to get away from this sort of constant monitoring, and crime/deliberate speeding is pretty rare, you soon end up behind an 'old boy' retiree still unware of Camera Vans, doing a constant 40mph, whether it's 60mph or 30mph.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I never pay before the 14th of the month. I use the two week grace.

        @AC

        The speed limits haven't been reduced massively as an 'experiment', it was deliberate. Legally, they don't have to maintain the roads in such good repair if the limit is 50 rather than 60.

        Absolutely nothing to do with safety.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I never pay before the 14th of the month. I use the two week grace.

          The lawmakers have as much respect for safety as the public has for the lawmakers...

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: I never pay before the 14th of the month. I use the two week grace.

          "The speed limits haven't been reduced massively as an 'experiment'"

          It's always an experiment - an experiment in what they can get away with.

          I remember the "experimental" variable speed limits on the M25. I didn't drive there regularly but certainly drove there often enough to have been through during a control day if such a thing had existed but never saw any.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I never pay before the 14th of the month. I use the two week grace.

        "I'm not even sure there is the 10% + 2 mph anymore, as I heard someone getting a ticket for 34mph in a 30mph zone recently."

        That has never been an official stance in law. Here in the UK, your speedometer must never under indicate your speed, but it can over indicate up to 10%. This means if your speedo is reading the same as the speed limit and no more, then you can't be speeding if your speedo is operating within the law. The 10% grace (and in some cases 10% +2) is a local thing where Chief constables have instructed their officers to be lenient to cut down on number of stops and the attendant paperwork.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You fools!

    The reason for this news is so they can outsource it to Crapita.

    I haven't checked but it probably already is.

  14. Rono666

    Tax is theft..

    1. Ochib

      Proper Tea is theft, that why Labour party staff drink P-Tips

      1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

        "Proper Tea is theft, that why Labour party staff drink P-Tips"

        I see what you did there. :)

        Mine's a cup of Yorkshire Tea.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "that why Labour party staff drink P-Tips"

        Well they are certainly well equipped to advertise it!

  15. steelpillow Silver badge
    WTF?

    Uh?

    Question is, is this 9% of owners breaking bad and spending 100% of their time unlicensed or 90% of owners running a bit over and spending 10% of their time unlicensed? The solutions for each are very different.

  16. The Electron
    Big Brother

    Meanwhile, out in the countryside...

    ...the yokels have never heard of your ANPR dark-magic, never taxed their heap, have never been caught as they never see a police vehicle, and they park off-road (or off the main road that a police vehicle may breeze along once a month). The chances of having insurance and a valid MOT are also slim.

    The VED (tax) disc was handy to spot people like this out in the countryside villages. The oik renting a house opposite a friend's house had left his SORNd car out on the public highway. It was blocking her driveway swinging-room and causing a nuisance. Spotting no VED disc, we reported it. It took the DVLA a couple of weeks to come out, but when they did, they did the whole village. The muppet nearly lost his car to the crusher. The chances of being caught again are slim to zero. With no VED disc, it is impossible for the general public to spot un-taxed vehicles, or vehicles that may have been dumped from several counties away.

    1. JasonLaw

      Re: Meanwhile, out in the countryside...

      As one who also lives in the country : bollocks.

      https://www.gov.uk/check-vehicle-tax

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meanwhile, out in the countryside...

        And having found your unpleasant neighbour is untaxed

        https://www.gov.uk/report-untaxed-vehicle

        You could also check if they're MOTd as well. Police might turn up quicker than a letter from DVLA

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Meanwhile, out in the countryside...

          Yeah, great idea. Support the government's divide and conquer policies. Let the peasants fight amongst themselves.

          In the 70s, it was reported that 1 in 10 Chinese were state snitches spying on their fellow citizens - that's what we need more of. Yeah.

          /Sarcasm off.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Meanwhile, out in the countryside...

            "In the 70s, it was reported that 1 in 10 Chinese were state snitches spying on their fellow citizens - that's what we need more of. "

            HM government are aiming to emulate East Germany in social control. 1 in 6.5 persons in the population were Stasi informers.

  17. Matthew Glubb

    No need to crack down on murderers either

    > A DfT spokesman said that the vast majority of motorists paid tax on their vehicles correctly.

    A Home Office Spokesperson also added that the vast majority of people don't go around murdering others.

  18. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    excuses excuses.

    The 'demise of the disc' excuse is rubbish. An A4 paper reminder is sent out three weeks before VED expires. One good bit of gov IT is that you can successfully pay what is owed with two minutes online ...

    One bad thing is that some of us (yes I am one) have zero rated vehicles - how the hell is that economic? Make everyone pay at least a sensible base fee - say £20 - to cover at least the admin of the system. At present, every zero-rated reminder COSTS the system money.

    Otherwise, as someone else said, stuff the entire cost on the fuel (that includes electricity - raise the VAT to say 9% and catch electric bikes too ...) then if you use it you pay it. In addition, if they have to be refueled, foreign registered vehicles also pay ... The advantage to the Government is that the cost of admin falls through the floor and far fewer administrators are required at DVLA and ... oops, just seen the flaw in my argument ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: excuses excuses.

      "Otherwise, as someone else said, stuff the entire cost on the fuel (that includes electricity - raise the VAT to say 9% and catch electric bikes too [...]"

      Then you would have to colour electricity that wasn't used to charge an electric vehicle.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: excuses excuses.

      "The advantage to the Government is that the cost of admin falls through the floor and far fewer administrators are required at DVLA"

      What makes you think that? They may up the tax on fuel but they'll not scrap the VED. Your zero-rating OTOH...as soon as that makes a significant dent in VED, that will get scrapped.

  19. JaitcH
    Happy

    Car Tax? Oh, Yes, I Remember That . . . Many Moons Ago

    Living in a country where the only tax due is one registers a new vehicle, the UK system seems so quaint.

    The only other charges here are toll roads and bridges - but only for vehicles other than motorcycles - which are free. The road toll for a bus is GBP2.67 for 80 kilometres.

    Ho Chi Minh City/SaiGon has, however, been installing a 10,000+ camera system to implement road charging, but also free for motorcycles - which only have one plate, and the results of the massive system are available on-line now.

  20. Clockworkseer
    Paris Hilton

    Or then you get the situation that skewered us. Sell car. Send off V5 and give new owner their part.

    DVLA claims no reciept of your half of v5. New owner doesn't bother sending their part off. Ring DVLA to point this out after getting letter about fine for not taxing vehicle which we hadn't owned for two months. get told to go on website to sort it out. Website says "you cannot do this online, you must phone us." Phone them, they try to charge £25 for a replacement v5 for a car we don't own. Send more forms off. DVLA claim not to have received them. Finally get these shenanigans sorted two months later when they admit we don;t owe them back tax for a car we didn't own, but still owe them the £80 fine for not taxing the car we didn't own. Continued shenanigans including appointing someone to speak on behalf of the car owner due to anxiety problems, having no problem working with that for the previous process, andthem suddenly claiming they can;t speak to the appointee due to not having explicit permission. Which they had.

    Paris, because at least when she gets screwed, she gets something out of it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      DVLA - jobsworths.

      How about giving their jobs to people who would be grateful for the employment rather than just take it for granted no matter how badly they do it?

      And before the apologists come out to support the DVLA, just remind me when their customers were last given the opportunity to judge the quality of the DVLA's services for themselves? Oh, they weren't. Ever.

      1. Clockworkseer

        Like FB, like google, and related others, as far as the DVLA is concerned, you are the product, not the customer in this scenario

        The customer is the government, who are not known for encouraging leniency and common sense in bureaucratic tangles that affect the regular person.

  21. batfink
    FAIL

    Colour me surprised

    Goodness gracious me! A change which results in no visible indication of tax status results in a large rise in evasion. I AM surprised - who could possibly have foreseen that?

    And no, "forgetting" isn't an excuse.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More to the point - how much has it saved?

    After all, that was the reason it was introduced wasn't it?!?

    If not, why not?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More to the point - how much has it saved?

      Expected savings £10m - current estimate is they will lose £107m a year according to this article.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: More to the point - how much has it saved?

        It's like the massive IT projects rolled out in the UK, Asutalia and New Zealand in the 1990s linking banks, welfare and tax information together in order to find all those bludgers fiddling the system - we were told it would pay for itself in the first year, yadda yadda.

        In every case, what was found was that there were very few welfare cheats (but a lot of people who were entitled to claim but didn't) and 90+% of the fraud detected was actually being committed by welfare department staff (which should have been detectable anyway). Even with that, the amount of welfare fraud detected came to less than 10% of the rollout costs.

        1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: More to the point - how much has it saved?

          I'm sure we can beat that. If we ever get the new benefit system going it will probably save less than 1% of the rollout costs.

  23. DougS Silver badge

    Huh? Don't they send you anything in the mail?

    Forgive me since I'm a yank and don't know how your road tax works, but in the state I live in the US I get a notice sent to me each year with an invoice to pay my yearly registration fee for my car which is due by the end of the month I was born in. When I pay it, they sent me a little sticker that goes on my license plate over the previous year's sticker (they have the year printed and are a different color every year - repeating every 6 to 8 years I guess) to show it is current.

    Can't argue you "forgot" since they send you something in the mail. Did they previously send you something in the mail but no longer do and you have to remember yourself? Or are you talking about some sort of reminder sticker you put in the windshield?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Huh? Don't they send you anything in the mail?

      "Can't argue you "forgot" since they send you something in the mail. Did they previously send you something in the mail but no longer do and you have to remember yourself? Or are you talking about some sort of reminder sticker you put in the windshield?"

      As I understand it, previously you had a dated "tax disc", ie a bit paper you displayed inside the windscreen, and it was up to you to check the expiry data on said disc and pay for a replacement every year. The new system has no physical tax disc any more, but they do send you letter a month in advance telling when the next payment is due. If that system works properly and they have the correct and current address, then it should work much better since they now remind you instead you having to check yourself.

      The primary problem seem to be that under the new system, if you sell the car, the tax paid automatically expires on change of ownership, despite the fact the tax has already been paid. The seller can claim back any full months worth of paid tax and the buyer has to start a new tax payment immediately. This means that the tax is double-dipped for one months value on every private sale and probably many used car dealer sales too. Exactly when in the month the sale transfer occurs shifts the balance of who has been ripped off the most, eg sell on the first and the seller loses all of that months tax but the buyer loses nothing.

      Fortunately for me, I've been a company car user for the last 30 years or so and don't currently have to worry about all three shenanigans!

  24. Denarius Silver badge

    behind the Times ?

    In Oz there are many speed cameras which flag unlicenced vehicles, as do all police cars. Regular event is someone getting pulled over for unregistered vehicle. However, most vehicle mechanics now put rego due dates on same windscreen sticker reminder of next service due

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: behind the Times ?

      "However, most vehicle mechanics now put rego due dates on same windscreen sticker reminder of next service due"

      Those stickers are something you simply don't see in the UK.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: behind the Times ?

        "Those stickers are something you simply don't see in the UK."

        My car gets a new sticker with a service due date on it after each service. The trip computer is also supposed to do that too, but for whatever reason that function is disabled.

  25. Herby Silver badge

    Meanwhile in sunny (it rained last night) California..

    We have these things issued by our wonderful friendly DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) called stickers. We attach them to our license plates to indicate we have paid $$$ in fees and taxes to our wonderful state. These change color every year so friendly policemen can tell if you have paid up. Thankfully, they allow one to renew registrations online eliminating ghastly lines at the local DMV office (hours!).

    Of course the local police aren't that observant. While I do renew, the sticker on my vehicle still says 2015. In a year or so the color will be back in vogue. If you DON'T pay (and get your vehicle smog checked every other year), the fines are a real mess. I won't even go there.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile in sunny (it rained last night) California..

      They used to use a similar system in Norway until about six years ago. Now it's all done electronically.

      Unlike the UK though the government here doesn't send out a reminder every year, they simply send out a bill instead (electronically appearing straight in your online banking system with an email notification, of course). Don't pay, and it's processed the same as any other bill: reminders with interest, and then (I presume) a court summons.

  26. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Meanwhile north of the excited snakes

    We've much the same system - registration is tied to owners birth date, and tax (and/or emissions test) is due annually on or before said date - sticker on plate in multiple colours, here in Ont, there are 8 colours in a (FG/BG/Frame colour) cycle that result in a whole crapton of different colour patterns.

    Were the "tax disks" at one time not metal? My Granpapa came from Liverpool and had a bunch of metal disks from the 1920's and 1930's with a date and county name on it.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    beer mat

    you could put a calendar reminder on that phone you are always looking at but I guess thats to hard for some.

    Personally I think the lack of disc may be first phase to just lumping it onto the pump price.

    All the vehicles screaming about 24x7 must be what pays for pretty much everything.

    Could backfire as everyone goes on economy mode and the cars sit idle a lot more.

    Good for the environment but no revenue for the parasites to squander.

  28. unwarranted triumphalism

    Now get the treehugging brigade to pay it as well.

    Good luck.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The should finally scrap road tax

    Put a combined tax on the fuel instead and everyone pays as a proportion of how much they drive, much more sensible and without the paper overhead or hassle of chasing drivers. Foreign vehicles/lorries pay a lump sum on entry to country based up their fuel level and if they have a receipt for fuel purchased here then they get a refund on the difference.

    That the money never went to repairing the roads anyway is why there are potholes, everyone wants someone else to pay for it but ultimately if you want it done then redirect the road tax to where it belongs.

  30. mark l 2 Silver badge

    The paper disks were duplicated by fraudsters or stolen from a cars by thieves who use solvents to remove the ink and write a new registration number and I doubt the figures the government is quoting was taking the losses they use to get from the old system into account.

    Not being able to transfer the tax when you sell the car is a pain though, especially when the DVLA mess up the paperwork. My sister got married and updated her details to register the change of name to her married name but the DVLA registered her as a new keeper - at the same address - and so she had to re-tax it for another 12 months and wait for her refund to come though for the tax she had already paid. For people who are on low wages mistakes like this from the DVLA could put the car owner into debt having to pay twice for road tax and wait for them to refund you for the first lot.

  31. pleb

    Scrap car tax, simples.

    Just get rid of car tax, save every penny spent on its administration. Put the tax on fuel.

    The argument used to be that the tax disc was a useful check that a car was insured. That no longer applies. Scrap the tax.

  32. John Savard Silver badge

    One Measure

    Tax doesn't carry over when ownership changes? If the tax system were changed to be less unfair, perhaps the law would be respected more. The tax on vehicles should be pro-rated to cover precisely the period during which someone owns a vehicle, rather than having two people both pay a full year's tax on the same vehicle.

    EDIT: I see I misunderstood the system. People aren't charged twice - except up front. They can apply for the eventual return of the overpayment.

  33. michael.moon

    All wonderful points

    All seeing a different point of view , yes tax people , yes punish people yes fine people .

    Perhaps we should look at the more underlying problem, the white elephant in the room, why is tax evasion going up ? . Well lets look at the vehicles not being taxed, I would guess that they are not Teslas or Porsches , bmw or any other luxury car , they are owned by poor people with little or nothing. these people are living on pay day to pay day , paying what bills they can , deferring others until they can pay them. With britex looming this will only get worst, wait until the uk economy officially declares bankrupt , but don't worry the car tax will be least of your worries, as the banks (private or publicly owned ) will start pushing up interest rates same as they did in the past , so even the snobs of you reading of others misery and suggesting taxing people into the ground will soon learn what it means to have everything you have taken from you , you will learn what it means to have government watching your every move , you will be deemed use-full (producing something they want, taxes, products services) or irrelevant (to be thrown away , taxed into oblivion or benefits illegally frozen until you die ) perhaps conscription comes back good way to murder a few million people , send the poor off to war, most won't come back so problem eliminated , look car taxes being paid, unemployment down, everything is wonderful.

    I recommend to the people that want to spew disapproval and judgment on others , try to live as the people your despise before you judge . The more likely reason people are not paying car tax , you have reached a tax threshold with cost of fuel and other taxes where something has to give, there is no money left, people cant afford it anymore, I expect someone will say well then you cant drive, ok thats fair, but then how do these people work to earn money to pay the taxes ?

  34. Mike Cresswell
    Joke

    Here's a possible solution

    I saw this at the end of an article written by Richard Aucock for Motoring Research. Seems like a good plan to me.

    The treasury will be keen to solve this dilemma, particularly as the amount lost due to licence evasion has gone up so dramatically. The answer, it seems, is simply a better reminder system.

    Motoring Research has one idea that might work: a brightly-coloured piece of paper on the windscreen telling everyone who looked at it if the vehicle was licenced or not, instantly, at a glance.

    Even if the car’s owner forgot, their partner, or kids, or neighbours might spot it. It would be very obvious indeed if you’d evaded road tax – and who wants the embarrassment of displaying to the world that they’re a tax-dodger?

    We estimate it could only cost £10 million a year to enact, a mere fraction of the amounts being lost to road tax evasion. It’s such a strong idea, we’ll certainly be sending it on to the DfT. We’ll let you know how we get on.

    Full article at

    http://www.msn.com/en-gb/cars/enthusiasts/the-%c2%a3100-million-question-why-is-car-tax-evasion-rocketing/ar-BBF3xa0

  35. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Who, who could have predicted this entirely unexpected behaviour from the British public?

  36. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    DfT spokesman found to be 'paltering'

    DfT spokesman said, "...the vast majority of motorists paid tax on their vehicles correctly."

    Yes, but that 'truth' precisely fails to respond to the present point.

    BBC: "Misleading by 'telling the truth' is so pervasive in daily life that a new term has recently been coined to describe it: paltering."

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20171114-the-disturbing-art-of-lying-by-telling-the-truth

  37. Pat Harkin

    "a third of untaxed vehicles were those that changed hands"

    "He added that the fact a third of untaxed vehicles were those that changed hands is a strong indication that many drivers are still not aware that tax does not carry over when ownership changes."

    1.4% plus a third gives up pretty much spot on the 1.8% we see. Doesn't look like the temptation to "push your luck" needs to be invoked - or that the absence of a tax disc prevents people remembering.

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