Govt Counts The Cost Of Untaxed Vehicles

Thu 9th Dec 2021

The switch from paper to digital was supposed to make it impossible to dodge paying the tax on your car, but figures published this week reveal that the government is fighting a losing battle to collect the revenues.

The paper tax disc was replaced in 2014, but despite everyone’ details now being held on a digital database, the number of vehicles which haven’t paid the tax is higher than ever, up from 634,000 in 2019 to 719,000, a potential revenue loss of £119m.

The Department of Transport, which published the figures, is blaming the Covid 19 pandemic for the rise in untaxed vehicles, but it remains a huge source of embarrassment to the government that tax evasion has jumped since the old school tax disc was abolished.

And while the DVLA may be recovering some of those lost revenues via tax enforcement of late payment penalties, motoring organisations such as the AA suggest that the actual figure of cars not paying tax may be even higher.

“Today’s official figures show that the law is still on the hunt for car-tax-evaders. However, the increase in non-payment of Vehicle Excise Duty isn't as bad as might have been feared, given the hundreds of thousands of cars granted a Statutory Off Road Notification status during the lockdowns,” said Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA. 

“Some of those vehicles will have been put back on the road with the owners either mistakenly or deliberately forgetting to tell the DVLA.

“High inflation, particularly with pump prices that refuse to drop, despite big falls in the wholesale cost, always pressures many low-income drivers to run the gauntlet and not pay their tax. It's foolish for them to chance their arms, because the penalties are severe, even potentially having the car crushed.”