DVLA double car tax rip off for drivers

By Chris Dawson August 29, 2014 - 9:59 pm

Tax DiscFrom the 1st of October, DVLA will no longer be issuing paper tax discs. Instead you’ll buy your car tax online and authorities such as the Police will be able to tell if your vehicle is taxed (which they can already do) from your number plate.

All sounds good? But here’s what they haven’t told you. They’re going to double charge you, the car driver, for car tax.

DVLA double charging for car tax

The DVLA will make a month’s extra money every time a car is sold – the seller doesn’t get a refund for the remainder of the current calendar month but the buyer has to pay for a full calendar month as well.

So, in the month a car is sold, DVLA are charging both the buyer and the seller for a full month’s car tax – a double dipping rip off which car owners will be unable to avoid.

In the age of electronic payments, and paperless car tax discs, you should buy car tax or receive refunds based on the exact date you bought and sold a car, not in calendar month chunks. However, the DVLA is either too lazy or (more probably) too technologically incapable and prefer to double dip on car tax than to charge tax fairly.

1) Buying a car

It doesn’t matter if the car is new or used. DVLA say “You will need to get new vehicle tax before you can use the vehicle” or in other words you can’t drive the car away until you’ve managed to get online and buy car tax. Fines are up to £1000. The seller can’t pass the existing tax on to the buyer.

2) Borrowing or renting a car

If you borrow or rent a car, you’ll have no easy way to see that the vehicle is properly taxed.

You will be able to check online if you can remember the correct URL and you have an internet connection and suitable device with you on which to check. You, the driver, will be fined if a rented or borrowed car is not taxed.

3) Selling a car

When you sell a used car any tax remaining will not be transferred. You as the seller are responsible for notifying DVLA of the sale. When you notify DVLA they’ll automatically refund ANY FULL CALENDAR MONTHS remaining on your car tax. The buyer of your car has to purchase car tax before they drive the car away.

The ideal date to buy and sell cars

The cost of buying a car just went up and will leave both the buyer and the seller out of pocket. The only good date to sell your car will be the last day of the month and the only good day to buy a car will be the 1st of the month.

Of course, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to conveniently arrange to sell a car in this manner – one wonders how long it’ll be before “I’ll rent you the car until the end of the month and you’ll legally buy it at the stroke of midnight on the 1st of the month” type deals begin to be offered?

Motor Dealers, Garages and Service Centres

This will affect every single motor dealer in the country as well as every single car owner. Sooner or later you’ll want to buy or sell a car and DVLA will double dip you for car tax. It’ll affect the price your buyers are willing to pay for cars as they’ll factor in the additional immediate cost of paying car tax before they drive away.

If you are a motor trader, any part-exchange cars with unexpired tax cannot be used on the road. How you’re supposed to enable prospective buyers to go for a test drive without buying car tax I’m not sure. (Update, All dealers will have to apply for trade plates… or buy car tax for each vehicle).

Unless there is private ground available (which for most small dealers isn’t the case), test drives could be a thing of the past as dealers simply won’t be able to afford to pay for car tax for every car they trade. If cars are turned in a couple of days, casual dealers without trade plates will still have had to pay a full month’s car tax (and then the DVLA will get triple tax for that calendar month!).

It’s also an inconvenience for repair and service centres, they won’t be able to road test cars in for service without the hassle of checking online that they’re correctly taxed (or using trade plates) – both the driver and the company or director can be fined if the vehicle is untaxed and there’ll be no more convenient paper disc that can be checked with a glance.

Plus if you’re a dealer with a customer car park at the front and workshop at the rear, you’ll have to check vehicles are taxed before you drive them from your forecourt to your workshop if that means taking them 10 yards on a public highway.

If you’re a motor dealer we’d love to hear from you on how you plan to cope, these new changes will of course affect all dealers whether they’re selling from a forecourt, selling online, or are casual traders working from home.

  • radroach
    3 years ago

    I wonder does this mean that existing discs, lasting perhaps well into next year, can be removed from 1st October?

    • 3 years ago

      It does. Sell it on eBay as a memento. However someone that buys a car with a disc probably won’t realise the tax expires when the car is sold and they have to tax from day one even though the disc is still there!!!

    • 3 years ago

      Dear Chris,

      Thank you for your reply regarding the subject of DVLA will no longer be issuing paper tax discs. I have been in the motor trade for over 30 years and in all that time this DVLA double charging for car tax has ALWAYS been there, you always got the refund from the next calender month.

      Kind regards


  • 3 years ago

    I can remember many years ago when I was an Accountant working for a chain of garages. I had a habit of denting my Demonstrator. It would disappear to the Workshops for a few days. During that time I would just go to the Forecourt each night and take for that night anything that had ‘Rent’ on it. So each night I would go home with a different car.

    Sometimes I was late getting to the Forecourt and all the good ones had gone and I can remember getting stuck with a Nissan Cherry but most days I would get something interesting.

    That night I would go down the pub and me and a few friends would take it for a spin….Oh those were the days. From the sounds of it in todays world I will be going home by bus or even bicycle…

    I cannot believe that the new system as described is an improvement. Although no doubt the DVLA(remember this is the organisation that will happily sell the details of your car and indeed yourself to the Criminal Car Parking Gangs that rip off so many Motorists) will count it as a great success because they will be receiving a great deal of additional money through this measure…. Are they paid on Commission???

  • Robin
    3 years ago

    I work for a new/used car dealer and I went to tax some cars at the post office on FRIDAY 29th August. I was told any tax disc issued on that day would date from 1st August. If I taxed them on SATURDAY 30th August however, any tax disc issued would be dated from 1st September. You will effectively lose a months road tax on your car if you attempt to tax it prior to 2 days before the 1st of every month.

    It will be something of a logistical nightmare if we can’t get enough trade plates, as we turn over a lot of cars on a monthly basis, plus every customer who trades in a car will have to be reminded to cancel their car tax. Private sales is where the most angst will come from

  • john
    3 years ago

    We had a fine of 60 pound last year for non display. Disc was sitting in house and we forgot to place in the car. Police were fully aware we had tax.

    Most dealers have trade plates so will not effect them day to day. However unsure what will happen when you buy/collect a car, I assume the dealer can no longer get tax for the customer.

    Will people just hold off registering the car until end of month?

  • 3 years ago

    There is an alternative. That is to run a Historic Pre-1974 Motor Vehicle because the Road Fund on such ax vehicle is Nil or even a Pre 1960 where not only is the Road Fund Nil but there is no requirement for an MOT. Just think not only do you not have to have a tax disc but no payments either.

    So you could have such as an MGB Sportscar or a Morris Oxford(although I would go for a sister car(good old days of BMC Badge Engineering) a Wolseley 16/60 or Riley 14/72. Just think a family car with a Wood Dashboard and Leather Seats rather than the rubbish of today.

    Just in case anybody is worried about getting spares for such vehicles. The MG Owners Club can supply everything and anything MG by return. You can have a Brand New Body Shell in any version of the MGB delivered the next day etc. The Morris Oxford/ Austin Cambridge(remember Cambridge_Blue could have a car which reflects his name). The Club that supplies the needs of these is working hard to be as good as the MG Owners Club(probably the very best Owners Club in the World)

    • 3 years ago

      I did some of my driving learning in a Wolseley 16/60. It’s an automatic and a hulk. You might save on tax but not on fuel these days! Similar sized and shaped hulks Morris Oxford, Austin Cambridge will also be thirsty.

      The riley might be the smart move!

    • 3 years ago

      Way back I had several of the Austin Cambridge/ Morris Oxford Family. I will agree that they are heavier on petrol than a modern car as well as being slower but they are considerably more comfortable. As an example my daughter has a Ford Focus. It is the devils own job to get into. It is just so small. Mind you I am 6 foot 4 and have a 52 inch chest and weigh 21 stone but it is like a toy.

      As far as being an automatic. In those days you had to opt for an automatic. I also had Wolseley 16/60 and neither of the ones I had were automatics. In fact none of that family that I had were automatics. Mainly because when I was buying a car the gear box was one of the first things I looked at(there is a funny story in the family about members of the family-including 2 mechanics, went to buy a car at auction and came home with a Ford Escort without realising that they had bought and automatic…the car was wanted for a family member to learn to drive on!!!

      The Riley 4/72, Wolseley 16/60, MG Magnette, Austin Cambridge, Morris Oxford and I seem to remember another version were all basically the same car. I seem to remember that the Wolseley and Riley were better made with more metal in the body. But they all had the 1622cc BMC ‘B’Series engine-Heavy and producing only limited power but would go on for ever. A close relation of the engine in the MGB but not as powerful

      But if you had a Wolseley 16/60 today it would be a very nice car. One possible problem for those of us who like an estate for their load carrying ability was that only the Austin and Morris had estate versions.

      There is another point if you had a Wolseley 16/60 or any of the family on the road you would be welcome every weekend at Traction Engine Rallies and Vintage Vehicle Rallies and your car would be the centre of attention because so many of us can remember them and we all have stories about them…I know I do.

      If you do any advertising who not have such as a Wolseley 16/60 on the road advertising your product/services and Internet Shop etc.

  • Mike
    3 years ago

    Instead you’ll buy your car tax online????
    Come on Tamebay please stop trying to close all Post Offices with this comment and instead note that YOU WILL STILL be able to tax your car at your local Post Office and help to support not just that office but also all the surrounding local businesses that use it.

    • 3 years ago

      Good point. ….. Although my local post office doesn’t do car tax which is why I started to buy it online…. grrr

  • ncb
    3 years ago

    Well depending how often you change your will affect how many time you get double dipped, personally the ability to pay road tax monthly by direct debit from October has to be a good thing.

    Other benefits are being able to bring out the fun car for a few weeks in summer and cancel the tax at month end.

    Its fairly easy to check the tax on line, someone more clever than me could well be designing a 99p App for mobiles that would make them a few quid as I type.

    • Gerry007
      3 years ago

      ,I do not remember being able to ‘non/untax’ a car when not in use, unless it is SORNED….

    • 3 years ago

      It used to be a regular thing in the Motor Trade. Towards the end of the month you would decide which of the tax discs on Second Hand Vehicles you wanted to cash in. After all if it was only a month and you hoped to sell the vehicle quite quickly there was no real advantage to cashing them in. But if it was several months and you expected the car to take longer than a few days or a week or two to sell it could be sensible to cash in.

      After all it was all added margin on your car sales.

      Many Vintage and Classic Cars are only on the road for part of the year. At the start of the season you might tax for part of the year(that is those where you have to pay for the road tax) but your plans could alter and you want to take it off the road earlier.

      Also what about vehicles that had suffered major failures or accidents. They may be off the road for months or years. So there was a simple procedure to cash in your Tax Disc. It usually meant going along to the local DVLA Office(almost every County Town had one). But in the name of Efficiency the local DVLA Offices have been closed down. So I am not certain what the procedure is these days..probably fill in a form and post it and the tax disc off to the DVLA in Swansea long before the end of the month(because if it is held up in the post and arrives too late then you loose a months refund).

  • Gary
    3 years ago

    Surely this is better for both buyers and sellers?

    Buyers will in future know that they will have to pay the car tax from day 1 on all future cars purchased and former “taxed until xx/xx” benefits in sale adverts will no longer muddle price comparisons and value and make this comparison process simpler.

    And sellers will know that they won’t have to barter with and concede the tax value in the deal and will receive a refund on all sales regardless.

    This consistency has to be better for both parties and it will make ebay motors comparisons more straightforward. I wonder when bidding for a car how many buyers actually factor in the value of the car tax into their maximum bid? Not many I would guess so seller wins.

  • Gary
    3 years ago

    My livelihood is designing and manufacturing novelty tax disc holders, it’s been a fantastic business over the last five years, gutted that the business will soon die. However, nothing like the prospect of starvation to come up with new business ideas! Starting from square one again is the most demoralising part of this fiasco.

    • Gerry007
      3 years ago

      Never thought about that, sod!!

      Even RM will loose all those tac discs being posted (Time to sell the shares, maybe!!)….

  • Cambridge_Blue
    3 years ago

    Thanks Chris for pointing all this out which I had completely missed in the general news output.
    Am I the only person to be outraged at the imposition of a liability on car users of rented or company vehicles given the removal of a simple disc you could easily check.
    If I have a valid contract with a company to provide a roadworthy vehicle then the liability should be theirs and not down to me to go through some stupid online process every time.
    I can perhaps understand the issue about borrowing a car informally but not when it is a business based transaction or part of your employment contract.
    How did this nonsense get past our glorious legislators in Westminster I wonder.

    • 3 years ago

      It’s an utter unworkable fiasco, but how it got past our glorious legislators in Westminster is pretty easy to figure out:

      Take an average car tax rate of £180 per year, that’s £15 per month.

      Take annual estimated used car sales of 3,000,000 vehicles per year for which DVLA will double dip on car tax.

      £15 x 3,000,000 = a conservative estimate of £45,000,000 annually in double paid car tax.

      Plus of course add on fines for inadvertently untaxed vehicles…

      Compare with estimates of £8m to implement the new system and £2m annual savings and factor in that car tax will only ever go up, the cost benefits dwarf in comparison to the rip off double dipping……

      …..and, as the government just reduced the budget deficit by £45,000,000 or so, of course they’re happy to tax us more and blindly wave this crap through

    • 3 years ago

      There is of course an alternative. That is to get rid of Road Fund Tax altogether and instead put so much a litre onto the cost of petrol and diesel. This is not a new idea but it is an idea that has a lot going for it.

      The first and most obvious is that you pay proportional to your mileage. Every time you fill up you go into a Garage and your contribution to the Tax is there as a part of what you pay for your fuel. Travel more miles and you fill up more often.

      One great advantage for many families is that Mothers Car that is mainly used to take the kids to school or go shopping and because of that only covers say 4,000 miles per year pays less to the Government while husbands car that is a Company Car and covers 50,000 miles a year pays a very great deal more.

      Just in case anybody thinks that Road Fund Tax has anything to do with the upkeep of the Roads. Winston Churchill when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer way back before World War II broke that link. It was originally intended for that purpose but these days it just goes into the General Tax Fund that the Government has and is then used on all sorts of things.

  • Ros
    3 years ago

    As in the motor trade. What happens when
    A car is registered in trade ?? Yellow bit of logbook
    You sell a car new keeper taxes and week later she wants a refund. Thats confusing.
    Pikin car up for a service. You have to take someones word. Not everyone has internet on the go or a signal to check.
    You buy a car from a private person on a sunday or evening. How u tax if u not got a signal or internet???
    They are presuming every motor mechanic or public got internet on the go. Its all wrong dvla should b closed down

  • Gerry007
    3 years ago


    A few points:

    1/. Effectively most car sales will now take place at the turn of the month (unless a dealer is prepared to deduct this month’s tax fiasco from the prices).

    2/. It will not only be taxing a car on a Sunday, but also arranging some drive away insurance (needed to tax it anyway). This of course will become a nice little earner for the Big PLC insurance Co, when they introduce 7-14 days instant ‘drive away’ insurance at highly inflated premiums.

    3/. All those ‘private’ sellers who do it for a living, better watch out, as HMRC will now link into the DVLA computers (If they’re not already doing so) and know who’s at it on a regular bases….

    4/. Not heard anyone say this yet, but what a nice little gift this will be for the cloners……. No more forging a tax disc for display, just follow a car that’s the same make/year & colour and hey presto, set of plates and you’re off, when you get snapped by the DVLA tax checker cameras, they’ll say nicely taxed that car is….,!!

    • Gerry007
      3 years ago

      Coming soon to a internet connection near you….

      Telephone us & for a fee we will arrange to instantly tax & insure your new car to get you home….Another service industry rip off coming your way soon!!..

  • alexcoupe
    3 years ago

    this whole thing has enraged me! yet another rip off ! when will the motorists of britain unite and simply not accept these ridiculous rules? refund our unused tax to the day or we wont pay it at all!!

  • Jamin Davis
    3 years ago

    Thank you – I just purchased a car – tax runs out on the 30th of this month. As I’m a non-driver everything is extra complex – but turns out the car is taxed until the 30th September.. and looks like I’m lucky in that I can sell said car on the 1st October.

    That said I’ve become the owner, not the keeper and only the owner can tax the vehicle. Presumably I can say goodbye to the 50% exemption which I get as a disabled PIP claimant. Or buy six months’ tax now, get the 50% off, then transfer the ownership? :). As with nearly every government department there are too many computers!

  • Ken
    3 years ago

    Can’t the government be taken to court for ‘unfair terms & conditions?

    3 years ago

    As a motor trader i can not Tax every car i own or drive due to the cost as when buying cars now chances are they are Taxed for a few monthsand can be used on the public road, Trade plates can not be use on a car for private use, ie popping down the shops or school runs etc, so if i buy 3 cars a week and tax them all sell them 3 days later i have 3 lots of tax outstanding, Then buy 3 more cars and tax them that another 3 lots of tax outstanding, This will cost small motor trader a lot of money out in road tax waiting to come back, I dont think this is going to work well, as it will be left open to buyers trying to have a deal with the seller to delay informing DVLA of the sale, Tax should be on fuel that way if your driving you pay including those from abroad that use our roads,The more you use the roads the more you pay, Seems fair, The more power at home you use the more you pay seems fair, Too many poeple geting free Tax on thier cars, Wink wink, Why? , Does tescos or other supermarkets give you free shopping because you have a Disabilaty, Does the bank give you free loans to pay for your house, NO they dont, so if you want to use the roads pay for it,

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