What is the point of the tax disc?

Yesterday the engine warning light came on my beloved Crossfire. Apparently it can mean anything though I know just the diagnostics will cost me a pretty penny! That combined with Humberside police giving me three points for driving 39 mph in what I thought was a 40 mph zone (apparently 30 mph) means the cost of motoring has suddenly increased for me in recent days.

Having just driven the car into the garage and left the mechanics to poke around and do what needs to be, I noticed my tax disc. It is there for all to see that the car is taxed, but what actually is the point of it? One of my first jobs at the post office was working in the DVLA team that dealt with returned tax discs bought over the counter. When the Government changed the rate of the tax discs it always created a huge job needing many more man hours to deal with such a change.

The DVLA I am sure spends a pretty penny sending out these discs and I am sure also has teams dealing with the millions of people sending partially used discs back wanting a refund. Just the time in man hours opening the post must be huge. But do we need the things in the first place?

Surely these days a tax disc is just a glorified receipt saying you have paid you tax. When you apply online the system can tell if you have an MOT and insurance. The police can check your number plate to confirm the same, so surely the same is true of a tax disc. The argument that it shows people you have paid tax on the car is a red herring. The only people that need to check is the police, surely…. and they can do that electronically.

I wonder how much money could be saved by stop issuing the things and just doing them electronically, or am I missing why they are still vitally important?

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2 Responses to What is the point of the tax disc?

  1. Philip Painter says:

    Excellent idea, TR.

    Here in France there's no tax disc and indeed no government charge. You do, however, hove to display a small 2cm sq insurance stamp which comes with insurance policy.

  2. Jose says:

    In Spain, you pay tax but have no disc, you just keep your receipts for tax and insurance and MOT in the car. No stickers = no staff, why don't they let you set up a direct debit for the payment etc etc! Too easy….

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