The DVLA website crashed on 1st October; the day that new tax disc law changes were brought in. Critics of the scheme say that they believe the high volume of traffic was partially caused by people looking for further information on the changes, because the DVLA failed to adequately inform car owners of exactly how the changes would affect everybody concerned. Other critics have hit out saying that the group should have expected, and been prepared, for high volumes following such a significant change.
This month is the first month in 93 years that cars do not legally have to show a tax disc in the windscreen of their car, but this is only one area of the law that has changed. People selling cars are no longer permitted to include tax in the sale, which means that buyers must arrange tax before they drive the car away or face being stopped by police.
Other changes mean that owners will, for the first time, be able to pay by direct debit either on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. This element of the change will only come into effect for those that are renewing their tax from the 1st of November, although the Post Office has said that it will be offering the service from 5th October.
Motoring groups have criticised the changes, saying that more people will be inclined to believe that they can get away without paying for tax, and that there is likely to be a similar number of cars driving around without tax than drive around without insurance. They have also said that, if this is the case, then it will cost the Treasury, and ultimately taxpayers, £167m. They have also criticised the double taxation that will arise because sellers can only sell full months of tax, and buyers must buy full months of tax. Both parties will effectively tax a car for parts of the same month.
The car tax disc system has been in operation for nearly 100 years, but drivers can now throw away their tax discs and the holders that adorn most vehicle windscreens – however, problems with the DVLA website, mean that it could prove more difficult than it should to actually pay for the tax duty on their cars.