Tax discs on car windscreens will soon be a thing of the past. Photograph: John Lynch/Demotix/Corbis
From today you will no longer need to display a paper tax disc in your car window as records will, instead, be electronic. Here’s a guide to what you need to know about the system.
What is happening to tax discs? From today, they are being scrapped so you will no longer need to display one in your car window. They have been around since 1921 but as the DVLA also keeps electronic records of who has paid vehicle tax it is a “visual symbol” of a “move into the modern age” according to the Treasury .
Do I need to rip my car disc from my window right away? You can do but you don’t have to. Some people may even decide to keep theirs for posterity (or to add to a collection of tax discs ).
Will I have to pay more? Not unless you pay in instalments, which you will now be able to do. Instead of paying in a lump sum you can now pay monthly or in two six-monthly instalments. However, this will cost you an extra 5%.
If you pay by credit card you will also be hit with a £2.50 surcharge. The option to pay by direct debit is available for people who need to tax their car from 1 November 2014.
How will I remember to pay
my tax? A question that is on the mind of many motorists as the tax disc has always been a handy reminder of when payment is due. The DVLA says it will still send out reminders before a driver’s tax is due to expire. If you still forget to pay you will get a warning before you are fined. Make sure the DVLA has your correct address.
I am buying a car that has some time left on the tax disc. Can I still transfer this to my name? No. Under the new rules you will need to renew the tax immediately, even if there are some months left on it.
I am a seller with months left on my tax disc. Will I get a refund? Yes, but not for partial months. So if you sell your car on the first day of the month (for example) the buyer will still have to pay for a whole new tax year and you won’t get any money back. You will get a refund for any other full months you have remaining.
Won’t the lack of any visible tax disc lead to more tax evasion? The RAC certainly thinks so – it believes it will lead to tax evasion amounting to £167m a year. But the DVLA has dismissed this as nonsense, arguing there is no need for a TV licence to be displayed in a window but that the system is still policed.