Vehicle tax. It is nobody’s cup of tea, but it’s something that must be done, even for heavy goods vehicles or those with HGV training. The only cars that have the ability to slip through are the electric kind, and currently, there aren’t too many of them. Last year was especially a bad year in regard to tax evasion, and that’s why the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has gotten way active in 2019. But just what is the agency doing, why are they doing it, and is it showing results? These are the things that we will discuss in this post.
Why the Clamp Down Action?
Well, the DVLA tracks vehicle tax evasion pretty closely, and after close analysis, they realised that rates had been on the rise. There were eleven places in particular, across the United Kingdom where vehicle tax evasion cases were high including: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Glasgow, Leicester, London, Northern Ireland, Nottingham, Manchester and Sheffield.
To put it into perspective, there were over 460,000 law enforcement actions against untaxed vehicles in London alone over the course of 2018. If we assume that each of those vehicles was supposed to pay about £150 per year (which is a middle band), then we are looking at over £69 million in lost revenue, money which all goes back into maintaining and improving the road systems countrywide. With all that in mind, it’s pretty easy to see why the DVLA is taking action to clamp down on tax evasion.
What Is the DVLA Doing?
Well, the agency’s actions are centred around the ‘tax it or lose it’ campaign. DVLA enforcement agents are now on the prowl across the nation, hunting for untaxed vehicles while spreading the message. There are several advertising campaigns in each location mentioned above, including printed publications, radio, social media, websites and poster sites. All these efforts are geared towards making drivers reconsider when planning to evade vehicle tax.
You will even come across a DVLA car with a huge clamp that reads, ‘tax it or we’ll clamp it’. The goal is to raise more awareness surrounding untaxed cars and prompt vehicle owners to make sure that their cars are properly taxed. Currently, the agency has clamped about 9,000 vehicles, and that’s just the beginning. So would you rather risk losing your vehicle? Let us dive into the repercussions.
What Is the Penalty?
Depending on how long you leave your vehicle untaxed, you may face the following:
-An £80 DVLA imposed fine for driving an untaxed car. This fine, however, can be halved if you pay it within 28 days.
-If you fail to pay the fine mentioned above, it will rise to £1,000 or 5 times your annual vehicle tax.
-If you’re caught driving without road tax, then you’re exposed to a fixed penalty notice of up to £1,000, which is payable on the spot.
-Allowing another party to drive, knowing you haven’t paid road tax will lead to a fine of up to £1,000 for the both of you, or £2,500 if the car carries eight passengers or more.
-Driving a car that is due a higher rate of tax without paying will expose you to a tax of five times the annual road tax or £1,000.
-Driving without road tax means that your vehicle is at the risk of being impounded or clamped. This means you will have to pay a release fee. If your vehicle is clamped, you have to pay the tax within a day, along with a £100 release fee, as well as a ‘surety deposit’ of between £160 and £700. The latter depends on the vehicle and will be returned within two weeks after clearing the road tax.
As you can see, there is a lot to deal with when you have an untaxed vehicle. Also, keep in mind that the DVLA is doubling down on giving fines and clamping in the high tax evasion regions mentioned earlier. As such, even if road tax may be expensive, evading it will be far more so. The best thing is to be a smart vehicle owner and ensure that you always keep up with your taxes.