Commenting on new government figures that show an increase in car tax evasion, and the possibility of lost tax revenue totally £107m in just one year, RAC public affairs manager Nicholas Lyes said:
“These figures are extremely concerning. Clearly, since the tax disc was abolished in 2014 there has been a significant increase in untaxed vehicles on our roads, with the figure now in excess of three-quarters of a million. This latest data suggests it is now costing the Treasury more than £107m in lost revenue over a full year – higher than in any year since 2007. The Treasury noted that abolishing the paper tax disc would save £10m, however it is now seems the changes are proving extremely costly.
“It appears that having a visual reminder was an effective way to prompt drivers into renewing their car tax – arguably more drivers are now prepared to try their luck and see if they can get away with not paying any vehicle tax at all, or are simply forgetting to tax their vehicle when they are due to. What’s more, a third of untaxed vehicles were those that changed hands which is a strong indication that many drivers are still not aware that tax does not carry over when ownership changes.
“The principle of abolishing the tax disc to introduce greater efficiencies has, so far, evidently failed. More must be done to educate drivers about how and when to tax their vehicle, coupled with stronger enforcement to genuinely make drivers who evade vehicle tax feel that they are going to get caught.
“From 2020, Vehicle Excise Duty receipts will also directly fund improvements to our strategic road network, so it is vital every effort is made to make sure we tackle evasion so our road network does not lose out on essential investment.”