Vehicle tax is one of those responsibilities that nobody ever really likes to do. However, being a requirement of the law, it is unavoidable even for HGVs or LGV training, but there are exceptions. Purely electric cars or vehicles are the only types of vehicles that are exempt from the DVLA tax requirement. However, considering their high purchase cost, there aren’t many such vehicles on our roads. The rate of vehicle tax evasion was particularly high in 2018, forcing the DVLA to crack down hard on it this year. However, there are some pressing question including, “What exactly have they been doing?”, “Why are they doing it?” and “Is it working?”

What Led to The DVLA Action?

The DVLA tracks and monitors the rates of tax payment and they take cases of tax evasion very seriously. In 2018, they noted that the rates of tax evasion had increased drastically, which prompted them to take action. Eleven areas in the UK were specifically identified as where the tax evasion rates were highest (in regards to the enforcement actions taken), and they include:

– Leicester
– Manchester
– Northern Ireland
– Glasgow
– Birmingham
– Bristol
– Coventry
– Nottingham
– London
– Sheffield
– Cardiff

For more insight, reports indicate that in 2018 alone, London saw 464,000 enforcement actions taken on untaxed vehicles. These actions range from fines to clamping. Assuming that each of these vehicles falls into the average tax band, which is £150 per year, then the DVLA lost £69,600,000 in revenue. This is money that goes back into maintaining and improving road networks across the country. It now a bit more clearer why the DVLA is so committed to clamping down on tax evaders.

What Exactly Are the DVLA Doing?

The DVLA launched a campaign dubbed ‘tax it or lose it’ on which the focus of their efforts is based. The DVLA enforcement agents are on the hunt for untaxed vehicles across the country while making motorists more aware of the consequences of tax evasion. They are utilising different advertising channels to campaign and spread the word in the high rate regions in a bid to discourage motorists from failing to tax their vehicles. These channels include radio, printed publications, posters, websites and social media platforms. The DVLA has even gone as far as attaching a giant clamp on one of their cars with the message ‘tax it or we’ll clamp it’. The main aim is to create more awareness on the matter and reduce the rate of tax evasion.

The campaign seems to be bearing fruit as the DVLA have clamped over 9,000 untaxed vehicles thus far and this is just the beginning. Hence, keep in mind their slogan; tax it, or lose it!

What Are the Penalties?

Are you aware of the penalties that you could be facing for failing or forgetting to tax your vehicle? Depending on how long it has been left untaxed, you could face either of the following:

– The DVLA can impose a fine of £80 for driving without road tax. However, this amount can be halved if you pay in 28 days.
– If you don’t pay the above fine on time, then it increases to a fine of up to £1,000 or five times your yearly road tax.
– In case you don’t have road tax and are physically caught driving, then you will be issued with a fixed penalty notice of up to £1,000, which is payable on the spot.
– If you knowingly let someone else drive without road tax, then a fine of up to £1,000 could apply for the both of you. If the vehicle has an eight-passenger capacity or more then the fine could be as high as £2,500.
– If the vehicle you are driving is due a high road tax rate that’s not paid, then you could earn a penalty of £1,000 or an amount five times the yearly road tax of the vehicle.
– Your car could also be clamped or impounded due to driving without tax, hence, you’ll also need to pay a release fee. You’ll have to pay your vehicle tax in the span of 24 hours in case your car is clamped in addition to a £100 release fee and a surety deposit ranging from £160-£700, depending on the vehicle. The vehicle will be returned within 2 weeks of paying the tax past due.

The DVLA is more committed in its enforcement in the high tax rate evasion areas, issuing fines and clamping the culpable vehicles. Even though your vehicle tax might seem expensive, the failure to pay it is far more expensive.