The Tax Disc change: One month on

25 March


The tax disc is one of the most instantly-recognisable pieces of paper to a UK driver but in the years to come, new motorists won’t know what they are.

From the beginning of October new rules came in which scrapped the need to display a valid tax disc, although sadly not scrapping the charge itself.

We take a look at the change in the rules around the tax disc and what has happened, one month later.

The new rules

In case you’re not familiar with the new rules surrounding the tax disc, it’s worth running through exactly what the changes are.

Vehicle Excise Duty, to give road tax its proper name, still must be paid on all vehicles which meet the criteria but displaying a brightly coloured circle of paper on your windscreen is no longer necessary.

A system which has been in place for 93 years has been scrapped without a backward glance and replaced with what seems to be on first appearances, a far more flexible and simple scheme.

You will still get the reminders from the DVLA in the same way that you do now, but once you pay up, you won’t get physical proof to display. Instead, checks can be made based on number plate recognition, rather than a manual inspection of your windscreen.

Payment can be made in all the same ways as before but now there’s a sparkly new addition to the list: monthly direct debit.

From 1st November 2014 motorists can choose to pay their road tax by monthly direct debit rather than handing over larger lump sums once or twice per year, a far more flexible option that many drivers are certain to snap up.

Has the tax disc disappeared?

Regardless of when your tax disc was due to be renewed, from 1st October 2014, the need to display it was removed. Therefore, in theory, all drivers could have removed their discs from the windscreens of their vehicles.

In practice, very few have bothered.

What this means is that thousands of car drivers are tootling around the UK’s roads with meaningless coloured circles of paper in their windscreens, a form of decoration but with no formal legal status…

As more time passes and a greater number of vehicles are due to renew their tax, experts believe that the tax discs will start to gradually disappear, changing the look of windscreens irrevocably.

A new purpose?

But this doesn’t mean that all the tax discs in the UK are destined to die away quietly, never to be seen again.

Out of the ashes of the old system has arisen a new thirst for tax discs amongst collectors.

There has always been a niche market for tax disc collecting but its popularity has rocketed in the last month, with some discs being listed on EBay for up to £1000 each.

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