Refunds, renewals and buying used: Tax disc trouble-shooter

On the off chance you don’t already know, the government officially abolished the vehicle tax disc from the start of last month.

In doing so, nearly 100 years of motoring history was done away with, in the move which was designed to streamline the vehicle tax process and save the government up to £7 million a year in admin fees.

Most people will probably be aware that the tax disc can be removed from windscreens now, largely thanks to a wide amount of media coverage, but it seems that some drivers are still a little confused over the finer points.

Automatic refunds

In particular, the Government has reported that many drivers are still unsure about the automatic tax refunds () that many can be eligible for.

Prior to the taxation overhaul, drivers had to fill out lengthy and complex V14 forms in order to request a tax refund or the return of a defunct tax disc.

Although the need to fill in these forms was abolished at the start of October, officials have reported that many drivers are still placing requests for the now-obsolete forms.

Separate applications are no longer necessary for a tax refund, and refunds will instead be automatically issued to any driver who is eligible for a refund.

Due to the computerisation of the DVLA’s vehicle register, any vehicle that has been sold or transferred, exported, scrapped or written off will be flagged up by the system and the owner contacted.

The Government has stated that as of the start of October, any V14 forms that have been sent by drivers will be rejected, and that motorists will be contacted automatically like everyone else.

Each automatic refund will be for any full months remaining on your tax. For example, if your tax expires on March 31st and you sell your car on February 3rd, a refund for one month’s of tax will be given.

Taxing your vehicle

Unfortunately, while the discs may be gone, the tax isn’t going anywhere and you’ll still have to pay for your vehicle tax.

However, the DVLA and the Government have introduced new measures to increase the flexibility and ease of renewing your tax.

As of October, drivers can now set up direct debit to pay for the vehicle tax automatically, meaning that it’ll come straight out of your bank and you won’t have to worry about it.

As well as that, you can now have the option of paying every year, every six months or in monthly instalments as a pay-as-you-go option and you can set up a direct debit online, at your local post office or online.

Under the new system, you can also check your tax renewal date online, while police and DVLA will carry out online database checks to ensure all vehicles are up to date on their payments.

Traffic cameras equipped with number plate recognition systems will also cross reference against the online database, so even though you don’t need the disc, you still need the tax.

According to the government, driving an untaxed vehicle will now carry a fine of up to £1,000, while reminders to pay will be issued by post.

Buying a used car

If you’re buying a used car, then unfortunately the vehicle tax will not transfer with the vehicle and drivers will have to get new vehicle tax before legally being able to use it.

Buyers can register as the car’s new owner with the DVLA by filling out a “New Keeper Supplement”, and can also do it online or by contacting the DVLA directly by phone.

Unfortunately, it means that if you buy a vehicle mid-way through the month from a private seller, both you and the previous owner will have to pay a full month’s worth of tax.

What to do with the disc?

Doing away with the tax disc has led many drivers to wonder what to do with all that new free space on their windscreens. Some suggestions have included using it as a space for custom one-off artworks, or as drinks coasters for car enthusiasts.

However, you can take it from us a special Perrys tip that you might want to hang on to them for a while yet. Certain collectors, known as velologists, will pay premium prices for the discontinued discs, with some having been listed on eBay for as much as £1,000 already.

Not just the pastime of middle-aged anoraks, one Surrey 12-year old has been collecting discs since 2009 after seeing one in the windscreen of an abandoned Fiat.

Jude Currie currently has a collection of 12,000 tax discs, with the oldest dating back to 1926. He said: “I saw the tax disc on the abandoned Fiat and thought it would be an interesting thing to collect. I never had a target but the collection has just gone up and up, I never expected it to be so big.”

If you need any more information on the tax disc change, you can contact the DVLA via their website, and also make sure to keep your eye on the Perrys site for all the latest in news, guides and blogs.