A DVLA study shows the level of car tax avoidance in each post code of the UK. Moneybarn, the car finance company, made Freedom of Information request to the DVLA and the results make for interesting reading for everyone.

What does the study measure?

So we can understand the results of the DVLA’s study, we need to know the definition of ‘vehicle tax offences’ and how the numbers are calculated.

In this study, vehicle tax offences includes registered owners who are driving in untaxed vehicles and vehicles with Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN) status that are either being driven around or parked on a public road.

To make the data truly comparable between postcodes, the study uses a statistical formula:

The number of car tax offences, divided by the number of registered drivers, multiplied by 100,000.

What do the results tell us?

The statistics themselves are snapshot of the number of people caught committing these vehicle tax offences in 2019.

The lowest number was Inverness with 223 total car tax offences. The highest was Belfast, with an enormous 2,407. That’s over ten times as many as Inverness.

Top five car tax dodging postcodes:

  1. Belfast: 2,407
  2. Croydon: 1,368
  3. Birmingham: 1,310
  4. Cardiff: 1,258
  5. Enfield: 1,250

Bottom five:

  1. Kirkwall: 354
  2. Carlisle: 353
  3. Aberdeen: 312
  4. Norwich: 250
  5. Inverness: 223

Scotland has three of its postcodes in the bottom five there. But Glasgow is the 15th highest overall, with 1,049. Overall, Scotland has the smallest number of vehicle tax offences.

Wales only has Newport in the top ten, with 1,123 making them 9th overall.

In 2019, 1.2million enforcement actions on untaxed cars were taken. Just six years earlier, that was only 693,270.

What changed?

2013 was the last year of the paper tax disc. Many people think that the move to digital tax registration has led to the increase in car tax avoidance. Perhaps people think it’s easier to get away with now that there’s no actual physical symbol of your payment. It is also estimated that £94million is lost to the Treasury every year in lost vehicle tax.

What’s the DVLA doing about this?

As the RAC say: “It’s virtually impossible to get away without paying road tax if you’re required to because the DVLA runs monthly computer checks of all vehicles registered in the UK.”

When their checks identify a vehicle that does not have a SORN and isn’t taxed, an automatic £80 fine is sent to the address of the registered keeper. This is halved, if you pay it within 28 days and there are no corresponding licence points. But if you don’t pay, you could end up in court and slapped with a maximum £1,000 penalty. It is within the remit of the DVLA to keep your car clamped until any fine is paid in full.

How do I make sure I don’t get any DVLA fines?

It’s easy, just keep your vehicle tax up to date. If you have a vehicle with a SORN, do not keep it on a public road and definitely don’t drive it.

Note of caution

As with any other situation involving money – there’s a scam for that. Be aware that fraudsters do disguise themselves as the DVLA, as well as other government departments, banks and other companies. Do your usual checks before you reply to anything, or click on any links in anything. If in doubt, do not open or reply, and get in touch with the DVLA using an official number or address.