THE paper tax disc will be relegated to the depths of history at the end of next month, after being a feature of British motoring for almost 100 years.
The decision has been made by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), which claims that abolishing discs will save the taxpayer £10million a year in printing and postage costs.
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It is also predicted to save businesses millions of pounds in administrative costs every year.
The disc was introduced in 1921 but officials say it is no longer needed, and the DVLA and police will now rely on an electronic register.
Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, which are already in use by Lancashire Police, will now be used to establish whether or not a vehicle is taxed.
If the correct tax has not been paid, details of the registered owner will be passed to the DVLA, which will issue a fine.
Paul Talbot from East Lancashire Institute of Advanced Motorists said the changes puts more onus on the driver.
He said: “I think it’s going to be very difficult to police because it will rely entirely on computer databases being up to date. The onus will be put back on the driver to ensure that the vehicle is taxed. As long as the burden of proof is able to be proved conclusively, I don’t think either myself or the organisation would have a problem with it.”
One of the main changes that will be brought about by the new system is that second-hand cars will no longer be able to be sold privately with tax included.
Under the new system all buyers will have to tax their vehicle immediately after purchase – before even taking it home – or they will risk being caught driving an untaxed car.
If a vehicle is sold with unexpired tax the seller will automatically receive a refund for all full remaining calendar months.
Drivers who will be renewing their vehicle tax between now and October 1 have also been told they will have to cut out their own tax discs.
The DVLA has now run out of perforated paper and will print in-house instead.
A DVLA spokeswoman said: “The benefits of a paper tax disc have become redundant over time as DVLA and the police now rely on DVLA’s electronic vehicle register and ANPR technology to check if a vehicle is taxed or not.
“That is why from October 1 motorists will no longer need to display a tax disc in their vehicle. But they will still need to tax it.
“To make sure we deliver the best possible savings to the taxpayer we have not procured more stock for these last few weeks, and will instead print the remaining discs in house. This applies to discs issued by DVLA only — the Post Office will continue to use their existing stock.”