Bit of a bumpy driving lesson for the launch of the new DVLA digital road tax disc database for every car, motorcycle, lorry and van on the UK roads!  

We suddenly came over all nostalgic for the little perforated paper tax disc, banished from our windscreens after 93 years, especially as the BBC reports that:

“… thousands of customers have been unable to renew their car tax online” after the DVLA website “was swamped”. “Some motorists have spent up to 13 hours online, trying to get their car tax renewed.”

In their defence the DVLA declared that “30,000 more people had tried to access its website than on this day last year.” Doesn’t it make you wonder if anyone thought to volume test a major system integration before setting it loose on the public and public purse?

Hiccups aside, once things are running smoothly for the DVLA tax disc department, here are a few answers to questions collected from drivers, and learner drivers, via our Facebook page.

  • What are the changes?

From today, 1st October, 2014 paper tax discs will not be issued by the DVLA as they move to a digital database. Motorists will be asked to pay for their road tax online via the DVLA  website. You will also be able to pay over the ‘phone and at Post Offices. Drivers in Northern Ireland will need to continue to display their MoT discs, but not their tax discs.

  • What happens if I already have a tax disc?

Your current road tax remains valid, but you can take your tax disc out of your vehicle window if you want and destroy it. When your road tax comes up for expiry the DVLA will still send you a V11 or V85/1 renewal reminder as part of the new system.

  • What about tax exempt vehicles such as classic cars?

Tax exempt cars still won’t have to pay, but will have to continue to register with the DVLA via their website.

  • What about Blue Badge holders?

Car park attendants and traffic wardens will now no longer rely on your tax disc to verify a blue badge, as they can digitally scan your number plate to access information about your vehicle.

  • What happens if I buy a used car now?

Changes a foot! From now on vehicle tax won’t transfer with the vehicle, so buyers won’t benefit from any unused months left on the tax disc. Instead, they will have to renew the road tax straight away before driving off in their new purchase. This can be done online or by ‘phone 24 hours a day, or you may visit a Post Office.

  • What happens if I sell a used car now?

The vehicle seller will now automatically get a refund for any full calendar month left on the vehicle tax, as the seller is responsible for informing the DVLA of change of ownership, with a fine if this isn’t done. Any outstanding vehicle tax will no longer be transferred with the vehicle.

  • What other situations warrant a refund?

Separate refund applications will no longer be necessary as they will automatically be issued when notification is received from the person named on the DVLA vehicle register. This covers vehicles: sold or transferred; scrapped at an Authorised Treatment Facility; exported; where a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) has been made; and if the tax class on the vehicle changes to an exempt duty tax class.

  • What about travelling abroad?

Whilst Europe still uses some form of displayed tax disc, says that the relevant European authorities have been informed of the UK changes, so there shouldn’t be a problem for UK registered vehicles travelling in the EU.

  • How does it all work?

The DVLA has invested in a new digital database upon which vehicle and vehicle owners details are stored, streamlining their service. Using Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), cars can be automatically tracked and the Police National Computer System will allow those caught driving with no valid road tax to be fined up to £1,000.

  • How do I check if my vehicle is taxed correctly?

You will be sent a renewal reminder when you tax is due anyway, but you can check the status of any UK vehicle by visiting the DVLA site Vehicle Enquiry System which is unavailable as we write as we checked!

  • What are the benefits of the new system?

It’s claimed that the new streamlined service will save £7 million a year in administration costs throughout the UK, which works out at 18p for each driver in Britain.

Julie Daniels, head of motor at says that the new system “should have a positive impact on (insurance) premiums” as it should remove more tax dodgers from the UK roads.

  • What are the cynics saying?

There are fears that uninsured drivers and car thieves will find it easier to drive as tax discs aren’t on display anymore, especially if policing levels aren’t stepped up considerably.

If you want more, then check out this video direct from the DVLA themselves, which aims to reassure //