The Government has been accused of being too quick to penalise motorists following the tax disc changes that took effect in October 2014, after it emerged that 100,000 enforcement cases were brought in the six months following the date that the changes took effect.
At the time of the changes, the government and the DVLA were accused of poor communication leading to confusion among car owners, and this has been blamed for a lot of incidents, especially those where motorists have bought a second hand car not realising that the tax did not transfer from the old owner to the new owner.
The AA, as well as other motoring groups and consumer groups have suggested that the DVLA should issue warnings because many car owners used to rely on the physical reminder that was printed on their tax disc so that they would go out and renew their tax. The changes that were introduced in October 2014 didn’t just see the scrapping of the paper tax disc that previously had to be displayed in car windscreens; it also made it impossible to sell a car with tax on it. As soon as the car was sold, the old owner would be refunded for any full months of tax that were remaining, and the new owner legally required to pay for tax, either online or through Post Offices.
It is this change, in particular, that has led many people to fall foul of the new regulations, with some owners claiming that they were led to believe that the car was taxed, only to find that that their vehicle had been towed and they had to pay a fine in order to get it back.
The AA has said that some motorists simply forget to inform the DVLA of a change of address, which means that they do not receive the reminder in the post, and that these owners are being hit with fines of up to £1,000 for a genuine mistaken and not because they intentionally attempted to dodge having to pay road tax duty.