The digitisation of the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), or car tax, did come with the concern that it would enable more people to avoid paying. Unfortunately, the latest figures from the DVLA show that a huge number of people have not paid the car tax they owe. What people may not be aware of, is how severe the penalties can be.

What do the new DVLA figures show?

The new figures give a summary of the 11 areas with the most enforcement actions for car tax evasion happened in 2018. That means the number of vehicle owners that were issued fines or were clamped because of VED evasion.

DVLA’s Top 11 car tax evaders

Is your area on the list? Did you know that you can be clamped and end up losing your vehicle for not paying your car tax?

Area Clamped Fines or Penalties Totals
London 27,605 94,550 122,155
Northern Ireland 5,516 67,944 73,460
Birmingham 5,076 50,045 55,121
Manchester 7,573 26,214 33,787
Glasgow 2,666 29,705 32,371
Sheffield 3,987 25,291 29,278
Cardiff 3,021 24,598 27,619
Nottingham 3,507 21,346 24,853
Bristol 3,496 20,412 23,908
Leicester 3,344 19,196 22,540
Coventry 1,257 18,193 19,450

Table published by the DVLA

Why did they change from the paper disc system?

HMRC have made it easy for people to pay online and expected to save £million each year after switching from paper tax discs.

What are the actual consequences?

Unfortunately, it would seem that the actual cost of non payments and chasing those individuals has made the actual cost soar tenfold.

The Department of Transport’s 2017 data shows that car tax evasion cost the country £million in one year. Triple the number of people did not pay in the first year of the new system, than in the last years of the old procedure.

In 2013, 0.6% of vehicles were on the road untaxed. In 2017, this jumped to 1.8% after the introduction of the new payment system.

What are the DVLA doing to fix this VED evasion issue?

The DVLA are launching a new advertising campaign, featuring a giant-sized clamp, to warn people of the consequences of not paying their car tax.

Tim Burton is the DVLA’s Head of Enforcement, he said: “This campaign has a clear message for anyone who flouts the law in this way – tax it or lose it. It’s never been easier to tax your car, so there really is no excuse. We would rather not have to clamp or remove vehicles, but this campaign highlights the consequences of not taxing a vehicle. Having your vehicle clamped is expensive and inconvenient – and you could end up losing your car.”

What should I do?

It’s simple, if you own a vehicle, pay the VED you owe. Head over to the DVLA’s section of GOV.UK and follow the clear, step-by-step instructions. Don’t panic if you’re a bit late. It’s easy to put admin like this on the ‘I’ll do it later’ list. But you need to prioritise this payment to avoid wasting money on penalties or, worst case scenario, have your vehicle seized.