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Tax Evasion – How Has The DVLA Been Dealing With It?

Vehicle tax. It’s one of those things that no one really likes, but everyone has to do – even HGV drivers. But as with any tax, there are people out there who will try to avoid paying it by any means necessary. Unfortunately, the team at the DVLA take things like vehicle tax evasion very seriously, and do all they can to crack down on people who aren’t paying their dues. And after a particularly bad spate of evasion cases last year, they are more determined than ever.

What’s The Problem?

It probably won’t surprise you to know that the DVLA takes vehicle tax evasion very seriously. They track and monitor the rates of tax payment, as well as enforcements given to those who don’t pay their vehicle tax. 2018 was a particularly bad year for vehicle tax evasion – so much so that the DVLA decided that action needed to be taken. In particular, there were 11 locations across the UK where evasion rates were highest (based on enforcement actions taken), including:

  • London
  • Northern Ireland
  • Birmingham
  • Manchester
  • Glasgow
  • Sheffield
  • Cardiff
  • Nottingham
  • Bristol
  • Leicester
  • Coventry

To put it in perspective, London saw 464,000 enforcement actions on untaxed vehicles in 2018 alone, ranging from fines to clamping. If we assume each of those vehicles falls into the average tax band of £150 a year, that’s £69,600,000 of lost revenue for the DVLA. While that might not sound so bad to you – the reality is that all of that money goes back into local councils, funding essential road maintenance, pothole fixing and improvements to roads, pavements and car parks in your area. So the next time you drive over a pothole – you know who to blame!

What Are The DVLA Doing?

Obviously this is a pretty severe problem, and one that needs immediate action. Luckily, that’s exactly what the DVLA have been doing! This year they have deployed more enforcement agents to prowl cities, towns and villages for untaxed cars, giving out fines and clamping vehicles wherever they find one.

But this on its own probably wouldn’t be enough – which is why they have also created a strong marketing campaign. It’s all centred around the slogan ‘tax it or lose it’ and is designed to highlight exactly what the punishments will be to road users who don’t tax their vehicles. This marketing campaign is specifically focussed on those 11 high-evasion spots, with campaigns ranging from radio, printed publications, poster sites, websites and social media – all of which are designed to make motorists think twice if they are considering not taxing their vehicles. There is even a car driving around with them with a giant yellow clamp (seriously, it’s bigger than the car), to grab the attention of passers-by. The aim is to remind people that there are penalties for not doing it, and since taxing your vehicle is so easy now, no one has any excuse to avoid it.

What Are The Penalties?

Of course, there are several penalties you could face if you decide not to tax your vehicle, or if you just forget to tax it on time. Depending on how long you leave it, you could face:

  • A DVLA-imposed fine of £80 for driving without road tax (which can be halved if paid within 28 days).
  • If you don’t pay this fine, it will increase to a fine of up to £1,000, or 5 times your annual road tax.
  • If you are physically caught driving without road tax, then there is a fixed penalty notice of up to £1,000 issued and payable on the spot.
  • Knowingly allowing someone to drive without road tax could mean a fine of up to £1,000 for both you and the driver, or £2,500 if the vehicle carries 8 passengers or more.
  • Driving a vehicle that’s due a higher rate of road tax without paying it could get you a penalty of £1000 or 5 times the annual road tax for the vehicle.
  • Driving without tax also means your car could be clamped or impounded, which means you will also need to pay a release fee. If your car is clamped, you need to pay your car tax within 24 hours, along with a release fee of £100 and a ‘surety deposit’ of between £160-£700, depending on the vehicle, which will be returned within 2 weeks of the tax behind paid.

And if you’re unlucky enough to live in one of those high-evasion areas, you could be faced with a  double-whammy – a fine AND a clamp – if you get caught out.

Yes, paying your vehicle tax is expensive, and it can sometimes seem like a hassle – but it’s far more expensive if you don’t pay it! And really, it’s so easy to do now that there is no excuse for not paying it.  You get letters reminding you of it well in advance, containing all of the information you need to get it paid in good time. Most people opt for the DVLA online portal, which cuts the whole process down to 5 painless minutes. Or, if you prefer the futuristic touch, you can even ask Alexa or Google when your tax runs out! All you need is your registration number and you’re good to go. For people who rely on their vehicles either to get to work or as their main source of income, vehicle tax is something you just can’t afford to ignore.

So, what’s your excuse?

If you’d like to find out more, just get in touch with us today.

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