Motorists warned to beware the hidden road tax trap

Tax Disc – changes have spelled trouble for unwary

Motorists are being warned that they could face fines of as much as £800 and having their cars towed away unless they become fully aware of new road tax rules.

A report on a study of the effects of changes introduced last year has found that thousands of motorists around the UK are falling foul of regulations that dictate vehicle excise duty is automatically cancelled if a car changes ownership – even if it has several months to run.

The new road tax rules came into force in October and decreed that motorists no longer had to display a tax disc on their vehicles as records of tax paid would be kept in a digital form from then onwards.

However, what appears to have been less well known is that the road tax paid on a vehicle does not carry over to new owners. That, according to a weekend report in the Guardian, has led to up to 8000 vehicles each month being taken off the road because new owners were not aware of the rules and had not paid road tax on their second-hand vehicles.

The DVLA have claimed that they have worked with motor traders and written to new vehicle owners about the changes – but still thousands have fallen foul of the new regulations and found themselves facing fines and vehicle recovery charges on top of their road tax payments.

A DVLA spokesman said: “We continue to operate a comprehensive package of measures which make vehicle tax easy to pay but hard to avoid.

“We know that the vast majority of motorists continue to tax their vehicles on time with over 23 million drivers taxing their vehicles since 1 October.

“The changes have been widely publicised and we write to every vehicle keeper to remind them of the new rules before the vehicle tax expires. We also write to every new vehicle keeper when they buy a used vehicle to inform them that they must tax the vehicle before they use it.”

However, there was a concession from the DVLA that perhaps their officials have been a little quick in imposing fines with the spokesman saying that in future recent vehicle purchasers would get a letter warning them their car was untaxed.

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