Well, after a bit of a panic when the DVLA’s new computer system fell over, all now seems to have settled down. So, I can address some queries folk naturally have about the changes. How do you renew your tax and what are the options? Here’s what I now see when I enter the 2CV’s details at http://www.vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk
Ignoring what a rip-off it is for my poor little, 602cc Citroen, you can see that there are now five options. The 6 month and 12 month rates remain the same, but the three new options allow direct debit payments monthly, six-monthly or annually. Monthly and six-monthly attract a premium of 5%. Direct Debits can apparently be set-up online or at the Post Office. The figures shown are for pre-2001 cars with less than 1550cc. Having just paid at the old rates as the tax lapsed at the end of September, I won’t be making any further payments until 1st April 2015. I have rather bigger questions to address then about what I do with the 2CV to be honest as the MOT is up around then.
I’m sure a lot of people will be opting for the Direct Debit option though. It means you can’t forget that it is running out (though DVLA will still issue reminders) and spreads the cost across the year. If your MOT runs out or you sell the car, DVLA will cancel the direct debit.
But the biggest pain for me is that vehicle tax doesn’t transfer with the car now. As I generally buy cars at the cheaper end of the market, that’s a pain. It means a cheap car will always have an additional cost. That said, if I set up the tax via direct debit, it’s only another £12-20 on top per month. There’s no need for a huge outlay immediately.
Keep these details to hand though. The website is www.gov.uk/tax-disc and you can call 0300 123 4321. Calls cost 2p-10p from a landline, 10p-40p from a mobile BUT the numbers are treated like geographic ones, so you can use your free minutes. And remember the terminology. It’s not road tax, it’s vehicle tax – or Vehicle Excise Duty if you want to be really boring about it.