End of the road for the tax disc

End of the road for the tax disc

From 1 October the paper tax disc will cease to exist and instead vehicles on the road will be tracked by number plate recognition cameras, catching out those who fail to register for road tax.

The change was announced by Chancellor George Osborne last December but it appears not all motorists know about it with the RAC reporting more than a third (36%) of drivers are unaware they will no longer need to display the disc in windscreens. Here's a summary of the changes.

What it means for you

If you have a tax disc with any months left to run after today, then it can be removed and destroyed, says DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency). This includes customers with a Northern Ireland address, however they will still need to display their MOT disc.

Car owners will still need to buy vehicle tax to drive or keep a vehicle on the road - and DVLA will send you a vehicle tax reminder when your tax is due to expire. Police cameras will automatically check a car’s number plate to establish if road tax has been paid.

Buying a vehicle

Motorists who buy a used car will no longer benefit if there are months left on the tax disc. Now buyers will have to renew their tax disc immediately, or risk being caught on the road in an untaxed car.

Used car sellers will be responsible for telling the DVLA of a change of ownership, otherwise they risk a £1,000 fine. Under the new rules, sellers will get an automatic refund for any full months left on the vehicle tax.

Spread the cost

From November, motorists will be able to spread the cost of the tax in monthly or biannual direct debit payments. However, there will a 5% surcharge for opting to pay this way, but this is half the 10% surcharge previously applied to six-monthly tax discs.

Motorists can pay their road tax online via direct debit on the DVLA website at or at a Post Office branch.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “For the vast majority of law-abiding motorists the new rules will make very little difference, and in fact the option to pay by monthly direct debit from November will make it easier for many to budget for the payments.

You can check the status of any vehicle by visiting gov.uk/check-vehicle-tax.

Tax disc facts

  • Road tax - or vehicle excise duty - was introduced by Chancellor David Lloyd George to pay for the upkeep and building of roads.
  • The first paper tax disc was issued on 1 January 1921.
  • 99% of motorists tax their vehicles on time.


There’s more money-saving advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.