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Date: 17 November 2014

Today's Topic: You can no longer sell your car with TAX included

Triggers: The AA website

My Grump: Yet another stealth tax, and we just blindly go along with it

Remember the good old days when you could sell your car and the sweetner on the advert read, 'includes 6 months road tax'? Well no longer.

That of itself is probably not too big a deal. You just inform the DVLA and get a refund of the remaining full months you haven't used. But here's where the stealth bit comes in, and it ain't good for the seller, or the buyer.
Car Tax Disc
From 1 October 2014, car owners who want to sell their vehicles privately will be unable to offer the ‘unexpired tax’ incentive to potential buyers, because it must be surrendered. The switch from displaying a paper tax disc to a solely electronic record at some central government computer, will end the transfer of the balance of car tax to the car's new owner.

In the scenario where you sell your car part way through the month, this means that you have paid for your car to be on the road, but you are not entitled to a refund of the unexpired amount, as only complete months can trigger a refund.

However, the new owner must tax the car from the start of the current month of purchase, effectively taxing the same car twice. THIS IS A TAX SCAM PEOPLE!

There are nearly 3 million cars sold privately every year, this will amount to a very large sum of money being raked in by the DVLA, that they are not entitled too. How long will it be, I wonder, before someone challenges this in court and we have the same scenario that the banks are going through now with the payment protection insurance scandal? How long before we all have to apply to have the extra road tax refunded?

There was always something reassuring when the car you were looking at buying had road tax in the window, however much was left. You could see the registration number, the Post Office that issued the license, a date stamp, and it suggested the owner was at least legal. Without a tax disc in the windscreen, it becomes a lot more difficult for a buyer to verify a seller’s claims, and the value of the vehicle.

I read somewhere the estimate for the overpayment of car tax due to this double month purchase will see the Government better off to the tune of £52 million pounds per annum. EVERY YEAR! Not bad eh? I bet the penny pinching politician who thought up this bright idea had a massive Christmas bonus.

And, what about your average driver wanting to find out if a car is legal or illegal? Try putting your own registration into the DVLA's tax checker. The site is busted 99% of the time. You could be trying to access this information all day and still not get anywhere.

So seeing as the onus is still on the driver to check whether a car is legal or not, drivers are going to be driving around all over the place in friend's cars, rental cars, company cars, even their own just bought cars, not knowing whether they are taxed or not, and having to rely on someone else's word that a car is legal. In an AA-Populus poll of 17,629 AA members between 12 -17 December 2013, 70% said they are worried about driving a vehicle that is untaxed and therefore illegal to drive on the road.

The same survey also found that 47% of AA members think that not having a disc will make it more likely that they will forget to renew. I think this would also be my main concern. So is this a sinister attempt to allow the consequences to play out and collect more in fines over the next 10 years or so? Nothing would surprise me anymore.

The funny thing is, if you insure your car with 2 insurance companies at the same time, it's called double indemnity, and is illegal. It is legal, apparently, to pay twice for a government service that we're not even getting once.

How long is it going to be before leaving your tax disc holder in the window is an MOT failure, or a fine issued for obscuring your vision?

Please share your thoughts below, thank you.

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