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How the Disappearance of the Tax Disc Will Affect You?

The paper tax disc fist appeared in 1921 and has been a feature on more or less every UK car windscreen since. Now, however, technology has finally caught up with what is an admittedly fairly archaic system, and from October 1 you no longer need to display a tax disc on your car.

The paper tax disc fist appeared in 1921 and has been a feature on more or less every UK car windscreen since. Now, however, technology has finally caught up with what is an admittedly fairly archaic system, and from October 1 you no longer need to display a tax disc on your car. This is because the system has now been computerised and all the details are held on a central database. The following guide explains what is happening, why and how you will be affected.
 
What Is Changing and Why?
 
From October 1, the paper tax disc is being scrapped, and it is no longer a legal requirement to display one. This is because the DVLA already has a database of who has paid and who has not, so the actual physical tax disc is more a symbol than anything else and is now unnecessary. The police can simply check if you have paid by consulting the database, and automatic number-plate recognition cameras throughout the road network will automatically check that all cars on the roads have paid the tax. 
 
Must I Throw Away My Tax Disc?
 
Almost all cars will currently have a paper tax disc, and it is not necessary to get rid of it. It is not an offence to display it. On the other hand, as from October 1 it is no longer required, so you can remove it if you want.
 
Is This Going to Cost Me More?
 
The change will be cost-neutral unless you decide to pay in instalments. As part of the changes, you cannot decide to pay twice a year or monthly. If you do, you will be charged a 5% fee on top of your tax for the privilege. You can also pay by credit card, but this will incur a further 2.5% charge. To make payment a little easier, you will be able to pay by direct debit from November 1. 
 
How Am I Going to Remember When My Road Tax Is Due Without the Disc?
 
It is true that a lot of us have depended on the paper tax disc to give us a visual reminder of when our tax is due. According to the DVLA, however, they will send you out a reminder shortly before it is due. If you still don't pay up, you will get a warning before any fine is imposed. It is very important, therefore, to ensure that the DVLA has your address details right.
 
What Happens If I Buy a Car with Time Left on the Tax Disc?
 
Previously, you would be able to benefit from the period of tax left on the disc when you buy a car, but this is no longer the case. You will now have to renew the tax immediately when you buy any car, regardless of the time left on the disc.
 
I'm Selling a Car — What Happens to the Unused Tax?
 
If you are selling a car that has unused tax left on it, then you can get a refund. This, however, will only apply to whole unused months. So, for example, if your tax is up at the end of December and you are selling your car in mid-October, you will only be able to claim back for the full months of November and December.
 
Will This Lead to More People Dodging Their Road Tax?
 
This is a thorny question. The RAC believes that the new system could lead to an increase in road-tax evasion by as much as £167 million per year. They point out that crooks could simply change their registration plates to that of a different car of the same model and colour, and this would be undetectable by the automatic cameras. The DVLA, however, have dismissed these claims and point out that other tax systems, such as the TV licence, for example, work perfectly well without the need for a display of the physical licence.

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