Death of paper tax disc sees evasion double
Instances of car tax evasion has more than doubled, after the scrapping of the old paper tax disc, according to official figures. If you put your head out of the window now, you'll be able to hear a load of people muttering 'I told you so.'
Now, the number of people dodging tax is 516,000 according to Department for Transport statistics. That's a loss of around £80 million according to their figures. Not to be sniffed at, given that this new system was brought in to save £10 million (thanks to not having to print out discs, and the removal of some red tape).
The Department for Transport said: "The rate of unlicensed vehicles observed on the road was much higher in 2015 than when previously surveyed in 2013, following changes in the licensing system."
Other than people just thinking they can get away with it, what's caused this rise? Well, the new way of doing things ended the practice of letting drivers transfer unspent car tax across to a new owner; now, each owner must re-tax a car when they buy it. This extra bit of hassle for drivers looks like it has resulted in them not bothering to do it at all.
The DfT report continues: "The increase is probably due to major changes to the vehicle licensing system which took place in October 2014, especially the automatic refund of tax when a vehicle changes hands. This could cost about £80million in lost VED revenue over the course of a year, about 1.4 per cent of the total amount due."
RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: "These are very worrying and disappointing statistics indeed. Sadly, the concerns we raised about the number of car tax evaders going up at the time the tax disc was confined to history have become a reality."
"The number of car tax evaders has more than doubled from 210,000 in 2013 to 560,000 in the latest statistics and is now at its highest level for eight years. We really cannot afford for this to increase again for the sake of both road safety and the country’s finances. Hopefully, much of the increase in evasion is due to the system being new and these figures will reduce as motorists become more familiar with how it works."