I understand that paper tax discs are being phased out this week. Does that mean I will no longer have to display the disc I bought recently, or must it remain on the windscreen until it expires? MS, London
From Wednesday, UK drivers will no longer be required to display a paper tax disc (officially a vehicle excise duty licence) on their vehicle. Even if you have a tax disc that expires well after this date, it can be removed and destroyed.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and police will enforce payment of vehicle excise duty (commonly known as road tax) solely by means of an electronic register and automatic numberplate recognition cameras.
Without a paper disc to hand over, all cars will have to be retaxed when they are sold, with the seller able to apply for a refund of outstanding tax from the DVLA. To check whether a car is taxed, put the registration number into gov.uk/check-vehicle-tax.
But before you tear up your disc, consider this. Tax discs are already a collector’s item, with one example from 1921 — the year they were introduced — recently selling for more than £800. With discs on the way out, values are predicted to rise. If you’re buying one of the final few tax discs this month, yours could be even more sought after by velologists, the technical term for tax-disc collectors, in the future. Why? The DVLA has run out of the paper on which the discs are printed, so it will be making up the last examples from ordinary stock without perforations: drivers will have to cut them out themselves. Look after it and it could make you money in years to come.
The tax can still be paid in one go at a post office, by phone (0300 123 4321) or online (gov.uk/tax-disc). It is now also payable by direct debit annually or, for a 5% additional fee, six-monthly or monthly. This can be set up online from Wednesday or at a post office from next Monday.
Emma Smith is a journalist specialising in consumer issues and is a regular Driving contributor – read more from Emma here.
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