Road Tax, a Buyers’ Guide

On October 1, 2014, some interesting changes to the UK road tax system came into play. Essentially, the key change involved paper discs and the switch to a more...

On October 1, 2014, some interesting changes to the UK road tax system came into play. Essentially, the key change involved paper discs and the switch to a more efficient digital system.

The whole scheme was designed to cut down on unnecessary administrative burdens on the agencies forced with making sure everyone complies with the law. In addition, in today’s day and age, the paper disc system was beginning to be seen as a little archaic, to say nothing of unsustainable in terms of its paper usage.

Now, the price of car tax is determined solely by CO2 emissions and engine size; another element which hints at the shift towards more sustainable systems. The vast majority of road tax convictions in recent years have been made from cameras which scan registrations against a database, not the paper disc.

So, now the UK works on the basis of sustainability based charging, against a fully digital system.

When it comes to what buyers actually have to do, little has changed. If you’re getting involved in car sales, and you’re seeking a new motor, you just have to renew on the DVLA website without any need to actually get a paper disc. It is as simple as that, and you can pay in monthly or bi-annual instalments, as you choose.

At AutoTrader, we believe that a year on from the launch, the new system makes sense. There really is no need to use paper discs in today’s society, and more flexible payment terms, within a more efficient digital system, offer favours to the motorist that the previous method simply can’t match.

In terms of used cars, the crucial difference is that when you buy a used car, you now have to tax it immediately, as the tax can’t be transferred between owners. Then again, if you sell a car and have prepaid tax leftover, you can claim that back too. And if you’ve still got a paper disc, you just need to wait until it runs out, and renew on the DVLA website in future.

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