After 93 years in service, the humble tax disc is to be resigned to the history books.
Announced in Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, the paper-based proof of vehicle excise duty (VED) is to be replaced with an electronic system.
The move, which will come into force in October 2014, shows the Government was moving “into the modern age,” according to the treasury.
The new system will allow motorists to pay for VED by monthly direct debit, albeit with a 5 per cent administration fee added. Currently drivers have a choice of paying for six or twelve months at a time.
Enforcing a paperless system is likely to involve greater use of road surveillance cameras and CCTV.
However, 200,000 drivers were caught driving without having paid road tax in 2012, through either the authorities of members of the public noticing an out of date tax disc on their cars.
This was on top of the 600,000 drivers the DVLA prosecuted for non-payment just through analysis of its databases.
The news has raised concern from some corners. Paul Lewis, of BBC Radio 4’s Money Box program, asked: “How will people tell if a vehicle’s been abandoned?”
He also raised concerns about how a second-hand car buyer would know when the tax on any prospective purchase would expire.
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