We’ve witnessed the biggest change in the vehicle tax legislation since it was introduced with paper tax discs no longer being produced or required to be displayed in vehicles. Seen as the ‘end of a motoring era’ across the country tax discs are being removed from windscreens and kept as mementos for the future or sold on for profit online. The question is, with this change to car tax legislation what lies ahead?
What next for car tax?
The next wave of change will take place from January 1st 2015 with the counterpart license being axed. DVLA computer systems have become advanced enough that a paper counterpart in longer required to successfully manage the vehicle tax database. Two-part licenses (photo card and counterpart) have been used since 1998.
Cost savings have been one of the key drivers of recent and scheduled tax changes with an estimated saving of £8 million being achieved from axing the counterpart alone.
How do these changes affect vehicle owners?
The biggest change will be for user experience. As the world around us becomes more digital and technologically competent we will see an enhanced experience provided by the DVLA. With over 44 million drivers on Britain’s roads a move toward a digital offering will make purchasing vehicle tax as straightforward as shopping or banking online.
Moving to a paperless system also presents more options when it comes to renewal. As opposed to paying for 6 or 12 months tax in one hit it is now possible to pay vehicle tax via monthly direct debit instalments. This proves especially beneficial for vehicles that are more expensive to tax or for individuals and families that may struggle to pay for tax all at once.
Thinking further into the future it may be likely that car tax reminders are sent via text messages and email as opposed to the traditional letter through the front door. With an electronic system managing vehicle tax information it is likely that we will receive updates in this manner.
Vehicle tax considerations
It’s true that Britain is becoming a more technology driven nation with great strides made in providing infrastructure to support our digital demands. However, with this in mind there are still many people without an internet connection and even a mobile phone (we get this A LOT) so it is vital that the DVLA have resources available to help these individuals.
One important consideration moving forward lies in accuracy. With an electronic system replacing paper based systems it is of vital importance that details are inputted accurately, otherwise a driver may find they are physically stopped on a journey.
With any change that affects such a great number of people awareness is of paramount importance. With any scheduled changes it is required to heavily promote not only when changes will occur but also how they will directly affect each of Britain’s vehicle owners. Although the DVLA wrote to vehicle owners and used some digital platforms to highlight the changes to vehicle tax legislation there are still an enormous number of vehicle owners who are unsure or completely unaware of how these changes will directly affect them. This is particularly the case when it comes to transferring tax between vehicles, or more to the point that this is no longer possible.