The scrapping of the paper tax disc was a move that courted controversy with a number of groups, and this was not helped by the DVLA’s perceived lack of communication with drivers. Although most critics pointed to the fact that cars would be double taxed for some period of time when they were sold, and that it would become much more difficult to trade second hand cars because they could not be sold with valid tax, there were also some critics that said the physical abolition of the paper tax disc would also cause problems.
Specifically, motoring groups like the RAC warned that it would make it easier for people to avoid paying car tax, because there would be no easy means to determine whether a car was taxed or not. According to recent figures, obtained by the RAC, there premonition has come true; there are now more than half a million untaxed cars on the road, compared to 210,000 that were on the road in 2013, although these figures are only estimates.
The motoring group has called for the figures to be reviewed in 12 months, rather than in two years, when they would ordinarily be reviewed, and has said that some action needs to be taken by the government and the DVLA. The DVLA has defended itself by saying that they take these cases seriously and rigorously go after those that keep cars on the road illegally. They have also said that they write to car owners to remind them that their tax is due, and that there are many more ways to pay for tax now than ever before, making it even easier for law abiding car owners to be able to tax their vehicles.
The tax disc was scrapped on October 1st 2014, and many drivers complained at the time that they had little or no knowledge of the changes. The DVLA said that they had written to all vehicle owners at their registered address, and that they would continue to write to vehicle owners as and when their tax was due for renewal.