Car tax evasion hits a record high seven years after paper discs were axed: One in 50 vehicles have no VED – costing the UK £119m a year

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  • About 1.9% of vehicles on UK roads face no tax – some 719,000 motorists
  • This is up from 1.6% in 2019, the last time theft levels were analyzed
  • Vehicle tax evasion is three times higher than under paper discs
  • The level of piracy in 2013 – the last full year or paper disc – was 0.6%, statistics show
  • Northern Ireland has the highest statistics of regional VED theft ahead of Scotland.

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Vehicles being used without tax on UK roads hit a record high this year, with theft levels now three times higher than before paper discs were eliminated seven years ago.

Around 1.9 per cent of cars, vans, trucks and other motor vehicles on UK roads are evading excise duty – representing around 720,000 vehicles – new figures today confirm.

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The number of untaxed vehicles in the UK has risen from 1.6 per cent in 2019 to 0.6 per cent non-compliant levels in 2013 – the last full year before the DVLA phased out paper discs to save millions of pounds every year.

The move has apparently had the opposite effect, with the Treasury now missing up to £119 million in lost revenue from the unpaid vehicle tax each year.

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Dodgers: Car tax evasion rates have more than tripled since the government abolished paper discs in 2014, new Department for Transportation data shows

In 2013, the last year motorists were required to display a valid paper tax disc, approximately 210,000 motorists on the road were believed to have not been taxed.

That’s less than a third of the number of vehicles driven with unpaid VEDs today, with about one in 50 vehicles – about 719,000 (not including motorcycles) – on the road without tax, official figures from the Department for Transport showed in their latest. Confirmed biennial report.

It also notes that estimates for motorcycles are – for the first time – excluded from the DFT’s report due to ‘inadequate sample size’, although it cautions that the impact on overall compliance rates is ‘very small’.

When paper discs were phased out in October 2014, the government said it would ultimately save the DVLA about £7 million annually.

However, the increase in theft has hit the Treasury pocket since the car tax system was moved online. And the high level of theft comes despite the widespread use of ANPR cameras.

A portion of the car tax proceeds also goes to improving roads in the UK, which means drivers are also losing out.

DVLA chief executive Julie Lenard said the agency is ‘working hard to reduce vehicle tax evasion’.

“Estimated theft rates fluctuate and the pandemic is highly likely to affect the behavior of some motorists,” she said.

‘Those who wish to escape will be dealt with using our proven package of comprehensive enforcement measures.

‘These include penalties and court cases through the use of automatic number plate identification cameras, wheelclamping and removal of untaxed vehicles.’

This DFT chart shows the high level of vehicle tax evasion since paper discs were phased out in 2014 in favor of the current sole system.

This DFT chart shows the high level of vehicle tax evasion since paper discs were phased out in 2014 in favor of the current sole system.

When paper discs were phased out in October 2014, the government said it would save the DVLA around £7m annually.  Instead it is costing the Treasury £119m a year in lost revenue

When paper discs were phased out in October 2014, the government said it would save the DVLA around £7m annually. Instead it is costing the Treasury £119m a year in lost revenue

Commenting on the figures, Nicolas Laiss, Head of RAC Road Policy, said: ‘It is extremely worrying that we are seeing a high number of unlicensed vehicles on the roads, which now total about three-quarters of a million.

‘While we would like to think that the abolition of paper tax discs in 2014 is not to blame, the fact is that theft has increased significantly since a shocking two in every 100 vehicles on the road are not taxed.

‘The cost from VED theft in 2021 alone is estimated to be £119 million, a substantial amount that should be spent on improving our road network.

‘We urge the DVLA to intensify enforcement and do everything possible to reduce theft, as it is clearly not fair to people who pay their fair share to drive on the road. Huh.’

The AA says the high level of tax evasion can be linked to an increase in the number of vehicles during the various Covid-19 lockdowns, with 260,000 cars officially announced off the road last December. A Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) status was granted during the period.

“Some of those vehicles may have been put back on the road with the owners either accidentally or intentionally forgetting to tell the DVLA,” says Jack Cousens, a spokesman for the Motoring Group.

He added: ‘High inflation, especially with pump prices, which refuse to fall despite a large drop in wholesale costs, has always pressured many low-income drivers to run up the gauntlet and not pay their taxes. put.

‘It is foolish for them to give their arms a chance because the punishments are severe, even potentially crushing the car.’

In the last year motorists had to display a valid paper tax disc – 2013 – about 210,000 motorists on the road believed to have been untaxed.  Now it is around 750,000.  Is

In the last year motorists had to display a valid paper tax disc – 2013 – about 210,000 motorists on the road believed to have been untaxed. Now it is around 750,000. Is

Regional analysis showed that Northern Ireland has the highest rate of VED theft at 2.7%, followed by Scotland at 2.1% of motors not taxed.

Regional analysis showed that Northern Ireland has the highest rate of VED theft at 2.7%, followed by Scotland at 2.1% of motors not taxed.

The vast majority (55%) of all motors do not have for 2 months without tax.  However, 13% of non-taxed cars have not paid VED by their owners for more than a year

The vast majority (55%) of all motors do not have for 2 months without tax. However, 13% of non-taxed cars have not paid VED by their owners for more than a year

A closer inspection of DFT’s data revealed that the theft rate for personal and light good vehicles – passenger cars and vans – was 1.9 percent higher than for any other type of vehicle.

Regional analysis showed that the highest rate of VED theft is in Northern Ireland at 2.7 percent.

It is followed by Scotland (2.1 per cent) with higher-than-average theft rates, while some 1.5 per cent of vehicles in England and Wales were identified as not taxing.

More than half (55%) vehicles are showing…

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