Motorists urged to tax it or lose it

Motorists urged to tax it or lose it
Motorists urged to tax it or lose it

Drivers are being warned to “tax it or lose it” as part of a new campaign aiming to get law-breakers off the country’s roads.

Motorists who fail to tax their car risk having it clamped, impounded and even destroyed by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and the government body has launched a national advertising drive warning of the consequences.

According to the RAC, the revenue from vehicle excise duty – commonly know as car tax – fell by £93 million in the year after paper tax discs were phased out and the new campaign aims to encourage motorists to pay up and keep their car legal.

Featuring a hand-painted clamped car designed to look transparent, the advert’s message to tax dodgers is clear – “even if you think you’re invisible to DVLA, you’re not – tax your car or risk losing it”.

Every month the DVLA clamps or impounds 10,000 untaxed cars.

If a car isn’t taxed it can’t legally be driven on public roads meaning drivers without tax are also invalidating their insurance.

Clamped, claimed or crushed

If a car is kept on the road without tax, or off-road without a SORN notice, the DVLA can clamp or impound it. Here are the rules around getting it back:

If your car is clamped and you don’t pay the release fee within 24 hours it will be impounded.

If you reclaim your car within 24 hours of it being clamped/impounded you will be charged a £100 release fee and have to either tax the vehicle or pay a £160 “surety” deposit that’s refunded once you tax the car.

If you leave it longer than 24 hours to reclaim your car you will be charged a £200 release feel plus a storage charge of £21 per day. You will also have to tax the vehicle or pay the same £160 surety.

If it is impounded and you don’t pay the release fee within 7 days your car can be destroyed.

Oliver Morley, chief executive DVLA, said: “This campaign targets those who break the law… While the overwhelming majority of vehicles on the road are licensed correctly, it is only right that we take action against those people who think they can get away with it. The law is clear and so are the consequences – if you don’t tax your car, you risk losing it.

“DVLA holds the records of more than 37 million vehicles in the country. The advert focuses on the fact that for those who think they can get away with not taxing their car, DVLA can and will take action against them.”


RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “It’s good to see the DVLA publicly warning motorists that they will be caught if they don’t tax their vehicles. The owners of untaxed, and therefore uninsured, vehicles are a nuisance to society and the more that can be done to clamp down on these law-breakers the better.

“While it is clearly very positive for law-abiding motorists that the DVLA is clamping or impounding around 10,000 vehicles every month, we will find out in a few weeks’ time the most accurate possible assessment of the number of untaxed vehicles on the road when the Department for Transport publishes its two-yearly survey on vehicle tax evasion.

“Last year the DVLA reported in its annual accounts that revenue from vehicle excise duty had fallen by £93m in the year following the abolition of the paper tax disc, so we really hope that the findings of the new survey don’t tell a similar story.”

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