A lot of things have changed in 2018 and road tax certainly isn’t exempt. But, do you really know what changes have been made in the last few years and how it will affect you going forward? A lot of us just pay our tax and ask no questions, so here’s what you need to know about road tax and how it works.
In 2014, the DVLA abolished tax discs with the hope of their new system more effectively stopping people from avoiding paying road tax. However, the opposite happened, with the government missing out on a huge £107 million in tax. Having said this, the system did help to catch twice as many culprits and have vehicles clamped. In 2020, the government plans to use the collected road tax to directly pay for road improvements.
I know what you’re thinking- why wasn’t that happening already? Turns out we don’t know as much about road tax as we think. So, here are the basics.
If you’ve recently been shopping for Audi new cars and you’ve found your perfect vehicle but you’re still waiting for your tax disc to come through the letterbox, you can stop waiting. No vehicle needs to display a tax disc from now on. The police and DVLA use a number plate recognition system to catch tax evaders.
It may seem like a pointless statement but, it’s the owner’s responsibility to tax a vehicle. It can be a common misconception that the vehicle is pre-taxed when bought or that there is still tax remaining on the vehicle after privately buying one. A new car should always be newly taxed.
Renewing Your Tax
If you’re paying your car tax by direct debit, you may not get a reminder through the post but you direct debit should renew automatically. Just be sure to check for any automated changes made that you’re unaware of. You can manually renew your tax by doing so at www.gov.uk/vehicle-tax or visiting the Post Office with your V5 logbook.
What Happens When You Don’t Tax Your Car?
If you’re driving an untaxed car on the road, you face certain penalties. A driver is usually issued with an initial fine of £80. This can be reduced to £40 if you pay your tax and fine within 28 days. However, if you don’t make this payment on time, you’re subject to a fine of up to £1000. If you’re taken to court, you may be liable for paying the court costs as well.
How to Avoid Road Tax
If you don’t like the idea of paying road tax, you’ll need to find a zero emissions car, like an electric car. You can also avoid road tax by buying a vehicle made before January 1977. If you’re unable to pay your road tax, you’ll need to apply for SORN. This means you’re declaring your vehicle off the road and will no longer be driving it.
Road tax isn’t rocket science, but it doesn’t mean it’s without its complications.