Car Tax Rules Change in Britain: What It Means for Drivers

car tax

The rules on car tax are changing in Britain, leaving many to question what it means for the drivers. The good news is that the rules are changing to make it easier. However, many worry that they could end up on the road illegally without realizing and have to pay a fine.

In 1921, the U.K. government decided that all cars needed to be taxed. The car tax disc was introduced, and drivers would either pay for 12 months upfront or every six months; the latter costing an extra 10 percent. Over the years, the cost has increased with tax now costing between £20 and £490 depending on the amount of CO2 emissions a vehicle has. Classic cars are tax free, but will still need a valid disc in them.

With the change in rules, there will be new ways to pay for the tax disc. The 12 month and six month payment options are still available. However, there will also be a monthly payment option, which will cost an extra five percent compared to an annual payment. The payments can be made online, over the phone or through a direct debit.

The direct debit will take some of the worry away from drivers. It will automatically renew, according to the government, but a valid Ministry of Transport (MOT) certificate will be needed. This can be checked online by the officials. Without the MOT certificate, the vehicle is not roadworthy. In Northern Ireland, valid insurance will also be needed for the direct debit.

Many British drivers wonder what the car tax rule changes mean for their current paper discs. The changes occur from October 1, 2014. Tax that is currently valid will remain valid. The discs just need to be removed out of the cars and can be discarded. A reminder will come as normal a few weeks before the tax is due for renewal.

Those who will need new tax from November—so will be taxing in October—will be able to use the new system to tax their cars. No paper discs will be sent out through the post. All the records will be kept online.

When buying and selling a vehicle, the tax can no longer be transferrable. Once a seller tells the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) about the change in ownership, he or she will receive a refund for all full months left on the tax. The new buyer must tax the vehicle right away.

It is an easier system for taxing, but many drivers worry that they will forget. A letter will be sent out for renewal, and drivers will be able to check their vehicle online to see if their disc needs updating. Those who have a current paper disc, it may be worth keeping it somewhere safe in the house—such as on the fridge or a notice board—as a reminder for when it is due. Checking online can also be carried out on rental vehicles and those that have been borrowed from friends or family members. The change in the rules for car tax are simple, but will mean a great deal for drivers in Britain.

Opinion by Alexandria Ingham