Number of enforcement actions for untaxed vehicles doubles since tax disc abolished

More than 1.2 million enforcement actions were issued for untaxed vehicles in 2019

Tax disc

The number of enforcement actions for drivers caught driving untaxed vehicles has doubled since the tax disc was abolished, new figures show.

In the first 11 months of 2019, 1,222,053 enforcement actions were issued to drivers who had not paid their vehicle’s road tax - officially called Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). Meanwhile, in the whole of 2013 - the last full year in which tax discs were used - only 693,270 were issued.

UK car road tax bands explained

The figures, which were obtained by MotorEasy via a Freedom of Information request to the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency), show the increase in the number of cases from 2014 to 2017 was 1,373,184. There was a decrease in the number of cases from 2019 to 2018, but the 2019 figures only include the first 11 months. The largest jump was from 2014 to 2015, when there were an extra 278,025 enforcement actions issued.

When the Government removed the need for paper tax discs in October 2014, it claimed the move would save taxpayers £14 million per year, but it’s evident that the DVLA is now issuing more enforcement actions than before.

Duncan McClure Fisher, CEO of MotorEasy, commented: “Vehicle tax is levied as an excise duty and must be paid for vehicles driven or parked on UK roads.

“Modernising the way it’s handled had to come at some point, but it seems overall there’s been a bit of a bump in the road – with a large increase in the number of people not paying last year compared to 2014.

“This means an exercise designed to save money on printed discs has resulted in a huge loss in tax revenue for the UK Government, which has a knock-on effect on public services such as road maintenance. If fines have doubled you can be sure the number of untaxed vehicles has also grown significantly.

“It may be that people think they can avoid paying vehicle tax because they don’t have to display a disc, or because they don’t have that physical reminder of their expiration date.”

What do you think to road tax rates in the UK?...

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