From the 1st of October, DVLA will no longer be issuing paper tax discs. Instead you’ll buy your car tax online and authorities such as the Police will be able to tell if your vehicle is taxed (which they can already do) from your number plate.
All sounds good? But here’s what they haven’t told you. They’re going to double charge you, the car driver, for car tax.
DVLA double charging for car tax
The DVLA will make a month’s extra money every time a car is sold – the seller doesn’t get a refund for the remainder of the current calendar month but the buyer has to pay for a full calendar month as well.
So, in the month a car is sold, DVLA are charging both the buyer and the seller for a full month’s car tax – a double dipping rip off which car owners will be unable to avoid.
In the age of electronic payments, and paperless car tax discs, you should buy car tax or receive refunds based on the exact date you bought and sold a car, not in calendar month chunks. However, the DVLA is either too lazy or (more probably) too technologically incapable and prefer to double dip on car tax than to charge tax fairly.
1) Buying a car
It doesn’t matter if the car is new or used. DVLA say “You will need to get new vehicle tax before you can use the vehicle” or in other words you can’t drive the car away until you’ve managed to get online and buy car tax. Fines are up to £1000. The seller can’t pass the existing tax on to the buyer.
2) Borrowing or renting a car
If you borrow or rent a car, you’ll have no easy way to see that the vehicle is properly taxed.
You will be able to check online if you can remember the correct URL and you have an internet connection and suitable device with you on which to check. You, the driver, will be fined if a rented or borrowed car is not taxed.
3) Selling a car
When you sell a used car any tax remaining will not be transferred. You as the seller are responsible for notifying DVLA of the sale. When you notify DVLA they’ll automatically refund ANY FULL CALENDAR MONTHS remaining on your car tax. The buyer of your car has to purchase car tax before they drive the car away.
The ideal date to buy and sell cars
The cost of buying a car just went up and will leave both the buyer and the seller out of pocket. The only good date to sell your car will be the last day of the month and the only good day to buy a car will be the 1st of the month.
Of course, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to conveniently arrange to sell a car in this manner – one wonders how long it’ll be before “I’ll rent you the car until the end of the month and you’ll legally buy it at the stroke of midnight on the 1st of the month” type deals begin to be offered?
Motor Dealers, Garages and Service Centres
This will affect every single motor dealer in the country as well as every single car owner. Sooner or later you’ll want to buy or sell a car and DVLA will double dip you for car tax. It’ll affect the price your buyers are willing to pay for cars as they’ll factor in the additional immediate cost of paying car tax before they drive away.
If you are a motor trader, any part-exchange cars with unexpired tax cannot be used on the road. How you’re supposed to enable prospective buyers to go for a test drive without buying car tax I’m not sure. (Update, All dealers will have to apply for trade plates… or buy car tax for each vehicle).
Unless there is private ground available (which for most small dealers isn’t the case), test drives could be a thing of the past as dealers simply won’t be able to afford to pay for car tax for every car they trade. If cars are turned in a couple of days, casual dealers without trade plates will still have had to pay a full month’s car tax (and then the DVLA will get triple tax for that calendar month!).
It’s also an inconvenience for repair and service centres, they won’t be able to road test cars in for service without the hassle of checking online that they’re correctly taxed (or using trade plates) – both the driver and the company or director can be fined if the vehicle is untaxed and there’ll be no more convenient paper disc that can be checked with a glance.
Plus if you’re a dealer with a customer car park at the front and workshop at the rear, you’ll have to check vehicles are taxed before you drive them from your forecourt to your workshop if that means taking them 10 yards on a public highway.
If you’re a motor dealer we’d love to hear from you on how you plan to cope, these new changes will of course affect all dealers whether they’re selling from a forecourt, selling online, or are casual traders working from home.