Changes to DVLA vehicle taxing – is this the end of the line for the tax disc?


Dealerships no longer responsible for issuing tax discs

From July 2013 dealerships will no longer be responsible for issuing tax discs for new cars.


In this years’ Budget, it was agreed that a new car may be driven for up to 14 days without displaying a tax disc, as the DVLA will be supplying them directly to the consumer – not from the dealerships as happened previously.


Car dealers throughout the UK have expressed their concern over these changes especially with regards to some of their retail customers being uncomfortable with the idea of driving their new cars without displaying a tax disc.

The DVLA have responded to these worries by agreeing to produce a leaflet that will be available for all dealers to hand out to their customers, hopefully helping to reduce any concerns.



The AFRL (Automated First Registration and Licensing) system that was in place for dealerships licensing new vehicles changed on the 22nd July. As of this date no dealerships hold licence discs for issue. 

Upon a new vehicle being registered through a dealership, the supplying dealer is given the option to either have the disc sent directly to the end user or to the dealership. As a customer buying a new car you should have been advised of this.


Is this just the start of phasing out the tax disc?


A government consultation which was recently published by the Department of Transports suggests ‘replacing the tax discs with a digital registration scheme would streamline services and reduce costs’.


The government is considering ways of reducing the amount of unnecessary paper involved with driving, including abolishing the paper part of your driving license (due to be axed 2015) and the consideration of scrapping the tax disc.


Should the nostalgic tax disc be saved?


The police can now instantaneously check car details using ANPR (automatic number plate recognition). Vehicle Insurance, Tax, MOT can all be checked within a matter of milliseconds, meaning the police don’t have to waste time making calls to insurance companies and the DVLA to find motoring offenders.


With the improvement to low emission vehicles that are often ‘free’ to tax surely this is another sign that the little piece of paper you show in your windscreen is irrelevant or will be in the not to distant future.


The money that could be saved in the long term from not printing tax discs could be used (it may well not be) for infrastructure improvements, road safety improvements or to bring down the cost of car tax.


Is there a reason to save it? Other than nostalgia.


Possible replacements?


In Belgium they don’t have tax discs they use insurance discs (which look very similar) - could the UK scrap road tax in a roundabout way and adopt a similar strategy? Including the cost of road tax in the price of insuring a vehicle and remitting this element to the government could make collection cheaper and it would also make it easier to see which cars are insured and which aren’t, as well as making it easier to get insurance details following an accident.


With what seem to be almost daily improvements in technology, who knows what form a new approach to vehicle tax could take, one thing is sure, the future for the paper disc is uncertain. 

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