Keeping you up to speed
If you don’t pay your car tax, either intentionally or because you ‘just forget’, you need to be aware that the penalties are severe.
Many people think that an untaxed car on private land is safe from the grip of the authorities, but this is far from the truth. Unless you register a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN) with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), then your vehicle still needs to be taxed, even if it is parked on private land, such as a company car park or your own driveway.
These days, you should automatically receive a reminder to renew your car tax around two or three weeks before your car tax is due. This reminder contains a reference that you can use to tax your car easily online. However, while this help is automatic, so are the penalties. The computers at the DVLA know if you own a car and know if it is taxed or not, so they can act quickly to punish you if you break the rules.
If you have not taxed your car within two weeks of the due date, you will receive an automatic £80 fine in the post. If you don’t pay this, you could face court, and a fine rising to £1,000.
If your car is found without a valid car tax disc, then it can be clamped. You will then have 24 hours to get the clamp removed before the car is impounded. If you don’t get your car released from the pound within 7 days, it can then be sold or scrapped.
The fees for releasing your car once clamped are expensive, and rise really quickly, so you need to act fast.
To get your car unclamped or released from the pound, you will also need to produce a valid car tax disc for the vehicle. If you don’t bring a tax disc, you will need to leave a surety deposit of £160. You then have 14 days to produce a vehicle tax disc or you will lose that deposit.
Clearly it is in your interests to make sure your car tax is up to date and this is really easy to do online here. You don’t even need your car insurance or MOT documents as these are stored digitally and accessed directly by the system when you apply. However, you will need a valid car insurance policy, fully paid up, and an up-to-date MOT.
If your car has been on a SORN, you will need to produce your documents (V5, Insurance and MOT certificate) at the post office or DVLA office in order to tax your car and end the SORN period.