What Actions Has the DVLA Taken to Curb Tax Evasion?

Few people like vehicle tax, but it is a compulsory tax for everyone including HGVs – if you’re fresh from the HGV Driver Training Centre, you’ll still need to pay your tax. In fact, only purely electric vehicles or cars can be able to escape the stringent DVLA tax, but their numbers on the roads are minimal due to their expensive price tags. The year 2018 was a rough patch in the area of vehicle tax evasion, to mend this the DVLA has increased its efforts to clamp down on the issue this year. But what measures have they taken, what are the reasons, and are they effective?

Reasons For Action?

The DVLA diligently keeps track of evasion numbers and in 2018 they realised that vehicle tax evasion was trending upwards. Specifically, in the following 11 locations within the UK, evasion was prevalent (drawn from the enforcement measures implemented):

• London

• Birmingham

• Manchester

• Sheffield

• Cardiff

• Glasgow

• Northern Ireland

• Coventry

• Nottingham

• Bristol

• Leicester

To highlight the magnitude of this issue, London experienced 464,000 enforcement actions placed on vehicles that evaded tax in the year 2018, varying from clamping to fines. Estimating that each of the non-compliant vehicles should have paid tax around the medium band (approximately £150 annually), then this translates to a revenue loss of £69,600,000 to the DVLA, all of which could have been put back into servicing and improving road networks in the nation. Now you can understand why the DVLA is determined to seal these revenue loss loopholes!

What Actions are they Taking?

The foundation of their drive is based on ‘tax it or lose it’ their singular campaign slogan. DVLA enforcement officers are on patrol nationwide searching for untaxed vehicles and passing along the message. There are several publicity drives in each of the highly affected trouble spots, including print media, radio, social platforms, websites and poster sites – all which are aimed at cautioning drivers against evading their vehicle tax. To emphasise the seriousness, a DVLA vehicle with a giant clamp – taller than the car – attached with the message ‘tax it or we’ll clamp it’ is doing rounds. The objective is to improve people’s awareness on the effects of untaxed vehicles hence encouraging them to properly pay taxes for their HGV, car or van.

And it’s bearing fruit. Since starting their campaign, the DVLA has clamped more than 9,000 vehicles, yet the campaign is still young. Keep in mind their slogan: tax it, or lose it!

What’s the Penalty?

Are you aware of the repercussions if you are driving an untaxed vehicle? Well, based on how long you take to comply, the penalty can be:

• £80 for driving an untaxed vehicle (if you pay within 28 days it can be halved).

• If you fail to remit this amount your fine will rise to £1,000 or the equivalent of 5 times your yearly road tax.

• If you are caught in-person driving an untaxed vehicle, you incur a fixed fine notice limited to a maximum of £1,000 which is levied and payable immediately.

• Intentionally letting anyone drive without paying road tax attracts a penalty of up to £1,000 for both parties – the driver and yourself, or if the vehicle has at least 8 or more passengers a £2,500 fine.

• Being at the wheel of a non-paying vehicle that is supposed to pay road tax at a higher rate could land you a fine of £1000 or fivefold the applicable yearly road tax for the vehicle.

• Driving without paying tax can lead to your car getting impounded or clamped, meaning you will have to part with a release fee. If your vehicle gets clamped, you must submit your car tax within 24 hours accompanied by a £100 release fee and a £160-£700 ‘surety deposit’ based on the car. Once the tax arrears are cleared the car is returned within a fortnight.

In high-evasion regions, enforcement agents are escalating their efforts, meting out fines and impounding vehicles that have not paid road tax. For sure there is no way around this, your car tax might be costly, but evading paying vehicle tax will cost you more!