Good bye to the tax disc

Posted on August 22nd, 2014 by GEM Motoring Assist

Tax disc graphicAfter 93 years, we say farewell to the little perforated windscreen card and usher in a new era of fully digital vehicle duty systems. But will we be paying more or less tax? Will it be easier to catch the evaders? Check out our guide to the past and future of VED

Starting 1 October, drivers and riders will no longer need to display tax discs in or on their vehicles. By late September, the DVLA will have finished the process of transferring all  data onto its electronic systems, and drivers will be able to say goodbye to their circles of paper for the first time since 1921. By the way, to avoid confusion, we refer solely to ‘tax’ here, as it’s universally understood in the way that Vehicle Excise Duty doesn’t appear to be.

So, will we notice any benefits? Yes, if we prefer to purchase six months’ worth of tax rather than a whole year at a time. The premium for this will fall from 10% to 5% in 2015, and  it will also be possible to pay by annual, six monthly or monthly direct debit.




Your questions answered
When will the tax disc be abolished?
Tax discs will continue to be issued until 30 September, but not after that.

So, is road tax itself coming to an end?
Er, no. You will still have to pay.

But I thought failing to display a valid tax disc was an offence?
Correct, but that law has been amended.

How will I be able to pay, then?
By direct debit, on an annual, twice-yearly or monthly basis. You will also be able to pay online and at Post Offices.

Will I have to pay extra if I choose the monthly option?
Yes, it will cost 5% more to pay monthly.

If there’s no disc, how will I transfer any tax that’s still valid if I sell my car?
You won’t be able to. You will automatically receive a refund on any valid tax when you inform the DVLA you are no longer the keeper of a vehicle. Similarly, if you buy a vehicle, you will need to purchase the appropriate tax as the previous keeper will not be able to pass on any validity.

How will police and DVLA check to ensure a car is taxed, then?
Nearly all checks are already done electronically rather than visually. So this will continue. But tax discs have been part of our great motoring heritage for nearly a century.

Please can I simply carry on and have one for my windscreen?
No. Displaying a paper disc is considered outdated.

How will I be able to check the cost of taxing a specific vehicle?
Go to and you can check there.


Tax timeline:

1637: The first vehicle tax appears and applies to Hackney cabs.

1747: All carriages drawn by two or more horses now attract an annual tax.

1770: Duty on the earliest mechanically propelled steam vehicles is introduced.

1865: the Locomotive Act becomes law, and the man with the red flag appears on British roads.

1888: Vehicle tax as we know it is introduced. The cost is two guineas per vehicle per year.

1920: The current system of VED is introduced.

1921: The first tax discs appear. They are grey in colour, printed with black ink.

1923: Different coloured discs appear.

1938: Perforations are introduced, meaning it becomes easier (in theory) to fit into a holder on the windscreen.

1961: New antiforgery measures are introduced and applications for tax can be made throughout the year, rather than all on the same date.

1974: The DVLC opens in Swansea.

2014: The tax disc disappears as systems are transferred to a fully digital, electronic platform.