Time to tear that tax disc for the last time

It's time to ditch the tax discAs I carefully tore around the perforations of my new tax disc – only, as ever, to rip the paper roundel in one place (why does that always happen?) – I did think: this is the last time I’ll be doing this.

From 01 October 2014 the paper tax disc is being replaced by a digital record meaning there’s no requirement for you to adorn the front of your windscreen with a disc holder and up-to-date car tax. Did I feel nostalgic?

Not really. I did think it odd that I would never repeat this operation, but I’m not going to mourn the loss of the tax disc. Far from it.

The tax disc has become something of a relic in this digital age – and frankly outlived its usefulness. With the abolition of the paper tax disc, a massive swathe of dull administration is being swept away, along with the cost.

Do the 1% of car tax evaders get caught by the actions of a police officer peering through the windscreen? Rarely. More likely they are caught by police cameras automatically checking number plates against a central register.

The importance for fleet operators cannot be overestimated, though. The current coalition government is committed to slashing red tape and this is one example where promises have been put into action.

With the abolition of the paper tax disc, a massive swathe of dull administration is being swept away, along with the cost. It has been estimated that £10m will be saved through reduced administration. That alone is reason to welcome the change.

From 01 November, the tax can be paid by direct debit annually – or not, of course, if your car is under 100g/km CO2 where there is no charge. Smaller SME fleets that want to spread the cost can do so with biannual or monthly direct debit payments for a 5% surcharge – half of what is currently being charged.

So did I feel nostalgia for that last – inevitably torn – tax disc? No, not a bit of it. On behalf of all fleets, I can say the digital tax disc is very welcome.

Changes to the driving licence, too

February also saw a change to the photocard driving licence. The changes have been incorporated to improve security – including a new holograph – and will be introduced gradually as photocards are replaced.

Fleet managers should be aware of the new design when checking driving licences. Alternatively, our online tool, Licence Check, can do this for you automatically, making the process more accurate by checking your driver’s information against DVLA data directly.