Road tax disc… gone but not to be forgotten

Road tax . . . out of sight but not out of mind

Road tax . . . out of sight but not out of mind

The paper tax disc has left the vehicle… its current physical rendering is now nothing more than an obscure digital record on an anonymous Government database. You’ll no longer be required to display a tax disc, but the changes run much deeper than just the cosmetic… Here’s‘s must-read guide to road tax changes and how they affect you.

UPDATE JUNE 2016: Considering a new car? Read this now

The way road tax is calculated will change on April 1st 2017 – and the price rises certainly aren’t a joke. Find out the full facts by clicking below.

Read our guide to the 2017 road tax changes here

Frequently asked questions: stay legal on the road

All you need to know keep on the road

All you need to know keep on the road

So, you think abolishing the tax disc was as simple as plucking a tatty piece of paper from your car’s windscreen? Wrong. Read our extensive list of FAQs to make sure you don’t get caught out – and slapped with a large and unpleasant fine.

So what’s happening:
The Government has decided to rid cars of paper tax discs – because it says they’re obsolete in the modern world – and store records on a digital database. The paper tax disc was abolished on October 31 2012.
Does that mean I don’t have to pay VED anymore:
We think you already know the answer to that. However, just for the record – you do still need to pay.
How does the new system work for vehicles already exempt:
Nothing changes, owners will still need to apply as normal. Once again, the only change is they’ll not get a paper disc.
How will I know when I need to pay my road tax now the disc has gone:
Don’t panic, drivers will still receive reminders through the post. The forms will be exactly the same as they are at present.
So how will I know if my car is taxed:
Simple – as long as you have access to the internet. Just head to where you can enter the vehicle’s numberplate and make to reveal if it’s currently taxed. You’ll also be provided with the car’s MOT renewal date. Great for snooping on your neighbours, too.
What if I need a tax disc to get a parking permit:
Local Authorities should be aware of changes to how the system works.
Won’t this make road tax evasion easier:
The DVLA takes enforcement action directly from its vehicle register – so a fine will be dispatched to the owner without the car ever being spotted on the road – which is why you should always notify DVLA as soon as possible when you sell a car. However, Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras and wheel clamping will also be used. These measures were previously in place and the DVLA says that VED evasion is at a historic low of 0.6%. However, this figure still amounts to around 170,000 tax dodgers.
How do I get a refund on my road tax:
The registered keeper of the vehicle will automatically get a refund when they let the DVLA they’re selling the vehicle or declaring a SORN.
Will savings from not having to print 42million discs each year be passed to motorists:
Once again, we think you already know the answer to that. Here’s a clue – the answer is no!
I haven’t got internet access, can I tax my car:
Yes, the Post Office will continue to take payment – just don’t hold up the queue waiting for the kindly postmistress to give you a disc – it won’t happen.
How can I check if a vehicle is taxed as disabled because customers who are eligible for disabled tax receive concessions with parking, toll bridges and for other fees:
From 1 October 2014, you will be able to check the vehicle tax class and status of any vehicle online at You just need to provide the vehicle number plate and the make of the vehicle.

How to buy your new disc-free road tax

Buy your road tax online, on the phone or at the Post Office

Buy your road tax online, on the phone or at the Post Office

You can still use the official website, 24-hour automated phone line or Post Office counter, but there’s now the new option of direct debit…

Direct debit: A welcome change for hard-pressed drivers means direct debit payments can be used to spread the cost of buying road tax. Since October 1, 2014, motorists have been able to use the service to pay annually, 6-monthly or monthly (12 months tax must be purchased if paid for on a monthly basis). Paying monthly will cost slightly more than settling-up in one lump sum, with a 5% surcharge on the 12-month total – this would be around £9.00 for 2.0-litre diesel-powered Ford S-Max.

Buy your road tax here: Use these gateways to buy your new disc-free road tax.

Telephone (24-hour automated service): 0300 123 4321
Post Office: Use this Post Office finder to locate the closest branch

Buyer beware:

As with many official sites, such as passport applications and tax returns, online payment of VED has fallen victim to ‘copycat’ websites that charge cash for services the genuine sites offer for free. Websites such as look very similar to the official site but charge you £40.00 to apply for a disc on its site – on top of the road tax fee itself. has ceased trading, but expect many more of these sites to spring up with the introduction of the new system as unscrupulous traders prey on confusion. Like, most won’t be acting illegally, but the look and feel of the site and small disclaimer make it blatantly clear they’re attempting to dupe buyers. Only ever buy online road tax from

What to look out for: Using the copycat site as an example, here’s how to spot such websites. Simply touch the blue hotspots.

Buyer beware 2 – don’t get clamped

So, you’ve just bought a secondhand car from a dealer or private seller and it came with a few months left on the tax disc… We’ve got news for you – you’re in danger of getting clamped. Here’s the information you need…

Don't get taken in by a 'valid' tax disc

Don’t get taken in by a ‘valid’ tax disc

Road tax (VED) and parking at APH

Keep legal and check your VED before you hit the road

Keep legal and check your VED before you hit the road

It’s always been the case that your car needs to be taxed when parking at APH or driving on the road, but the new paperless system can make it easy to lose track of whether your VED is current. Failure to do so can leave you open to fines of up to £1000 and having your car clamped by the DVLA.

Beat the fine: Making sure your car is taxed before parking at APH or using your car on the road is easy. Simply go to the following website and enter a few details.
Check your car has valid VED here:

APH terms and conditions: Please refer to our terms and conditions regarding your responsibilities over road tax when parking at sites booked through APH. Please refer to sections 6.2 and 13.2.1.
Read the T&Cs here

Insurance check
You can also check if your car is currently insured, here

You’re dumped…

Still a bit confused as to why we had to say goodbye to the trusty tax disc? Maybe this official video of a chap dumping his girlfriend – who just happens to be a tax disc – might help explain things…

What are you going to do with yours…

Now that your tax disc has been consigned to the bin, what are you going to do with your newly empty tax disc holder? From a picture of your wife or pet gerbil to a handy holder for your circular beer mat collection… we’re looking for  your suggestions? Just enter your ideas in the comments for below.


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