The End of the Road for the Paper Tax Disc?

A consultation launched by the government is looking at how improvements can be made to the way motoring services are delivered. Removing the need for unnecessary paperwork is included within the report, which mentions the possibility of abolishing the paper tax disc.

At present motorists are required by law to display a valid tax disc on most road-going vehicles. The proposal to abolish the paper disc does not mean road tax is going to be scrapped altogether; motorists will continue to pay their road fund licence, but the necessity to display a paper disc may be removed.

Tax Disc

Tax Disc

This latest consultation continues the trend of updating the products and services provided by government organisations with a view to embracing technological advances. Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras situated by the roadside, on motorways and fitted to police cars can detect if a vehicle is fully road legal. The camera reads the registration from the number plate and compares it against various databases to make sure road fund licence (car tax), insurance and MOT are all valid and in place.

The plans have provoked a mixed response with some suggesting it may encourage drivers to avoid paying their car tax. In rural areas where APNR cameras are not as common, some believe many motorists will be able to avoid detection by sticking to local roads. Other have said that car tax should be done away with completely as British motorists already pay enough tax at the forecourt when buying petrol or diesel. One rider claimed not to have displayed a tax disc on his motorbike for nearly ten years. He, like many motorbike owners, was fed up of having his paper disc stolen so he continues to pay road fund duty but chooses not to attach the disc to his bike.

The changes could also have implications for the Post Office following the recent award of a £450m contract for the supply of tax discs at the counter. The seven year contract was seen as vital for keeping Post Offices open, but yesterday’s announcement may give members of the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters cause for concern.

One of the other suggestions within the consultation is the proposal that the paper counterpart of the UK driving licence could also be made obsolete. The entire consultation document can be found by clicking on the following link:

Please add your own comments and tell us what you think of the plans to kill off the paper tax disc. You may also want to read this recent article which highlights the possibility of the insurance check being removed when a vehicle is taxed.

UPDATE: From 1 October 2014, the paper tax disc will no longer need to be displayed on a vehicle. Read the official announcement: