With the abolition of the vehicle tax disc taking effect from 1 October and a flurry of confused people asking about the situation through social media, leading road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists has taken the opportunity to clarify the rules.
Basically you will still need to buy vehicle tax to keep any vehicle on the road. You will still receive a reminder from the DVLA, and you can continue paying using the previous methods. However now you will be able to pay by continuous direct debit – meaning there will never be a risk of forgetting to pay, and driving with an out-of-date disc.
The direct debit will continue as long as there is a valid MOT for the vehicle.
You can apply online to tax your vehicle using the 16 digit reference code from your vehicle tax renewal reminder (V11) or 11 digit reference number from your log book (V5C).
One major change the new road tax rules has created is that vehicle tax can no longer be transferred with the vehicle if you sell it – often an added incentive when purchasing a vehicle. If after 1 October you sell a vehicle and have notified the DLVA, you will automatically receive a refund for any full months remaining on that vehicle tax.
You will now always have to buy new vehicle tax when you purchase a new or used vehicle.
As of 1 October, you will no longer be obliged to display a paper tax disc on your car – so you are free to remove and destroy it. However you might want to keep it as a souvenir, if you are feeling sentimental over the disappearance of an iconic part of UK motoring life!
Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: "As with all new systems, it will take a little time to get used to. But the move to allow people to set up a direct debit will mean greater peace of mind for many, so your vehicle will never be untaxed.
"However, moving more of these processes online will make things very difficult for those without regular internet access – as ever, the poor and elderly could lose out.
"And it will be interesting to see if some people think that without a visible tax disc it will be easier simply not to buy one. We'll see in time how effective this has been in catching those who avoid paying."
For more information visit the website https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vehicle-tax-changes