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It’s been over six months since the changes to car tax, but how many motorists are still completely unaware of the change?

Only the other day I drove past a car on the side of the road which was up for sale. It was advertised as having six months’ tax. Clearly another car owner who was completely unaware of the change to the law.

Since October last year, car tax stopped being transferable. It now follows the owner, not the vehicle. This means that when the vehicle is sold, the new owner must obtain their own car tax, and when the previous owner notifies the DVLA of the transfer of ownership, they’ll be due a refund on any full months of tax left to run.

The changes also removed the need to display a tax disc, but so many drivers still choose to display them. However no new discs will be issued.

The changes have caused mixed reviews from motorists, although on the whole the views appear to be negative. Motorists have suggested that the new system is simply a money making scheme, allowing the DVLA to double charge for the month the vehicle is sold, and also generating further income from fines and fees issued to owners of vehicles without tax.

From my own experience and from discussions with Freight Transport Association members, it does appear that those running a business involving vehicles are aware of the change. It’s the ordinary drivers who are not so clear. Many are asking what has the DVLA actually done to make the average motorist aware of the change in the law? It’s a change which affects virtually everybody, but have they done enough to make sure that people know what they are supposed to do since the change? Given the recent press coverage involving countless stories of those having been innocently caught out by the law, the answer appears to be a resounding ‘no’.

It appears that the change in itself is not necessarily a bad thing; it’s the lack of awareness which is causing the problem. Perhaps as people get used to it they’ll take a different view. After all, the situation is now inline with car insurance which has to be taken out before the vehicle can be driven, and we don’t drive around with insurance documents displayed in the window.

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