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The demise of the Tax Disc

tax-discThe charging relating to vehicles has been around for many centuries, starting out as a simple road/bridge toll.
The direct form of vehicle taxation first appeared in 1637, with the licencing of Hackney carriages. It then progressed from there, including other vehicle classes.
It was not until 1921 that the circular piece of paper, implemented by the Roads and Finance Act 1920, appeared pretty much in the form that we still use today.

So, now we have the announcement that they have become surplus to requirements and will no longer be required from October 2014.
For me this was good and bad news.
As may be apparent if you have read any of my ramblings, I ride a motorbike. The tax disc has to be attached to the bike, on the left hand side, and clearly visible for inspection.
The problem with this is that it is clearly visible for all to see, and steal!
I guess I “lose” a tax disc about every two years, which I guess is not that bad. For the last couple of years I have been using a heavy duty holder, with the tax disc sealed behind a cover screwed in with bolts requiring an Allen Key.
In October, all I was left with was about 1/2 inch of the tab, still screwed on to one of the engine bars.

The current offence is for not displaying a tax disc. It does not matter that your vehicle is currently taxed.
So, I needed to get a duplicate tax disc.
For some odd reason, you can not order the tax disc on line. Also, there are only a small number of Post Offices that can issue duplicates, regardless of the fact that the may be many Post Offices that can issue tax discs in your near vicinity.
You need to complete a form, mostly by copying information off of the vehicle registration document (V5), and go armed the form, the V5 and £7 to the Post Office that you finally found that would be open at a time that you would be able to get to it.
The form is then compared to the V5 and given back to you.
Now call me a cynic, but why the hell did I just fill a form out when all the info was on the V5 and I got the form back?

I now had my replacement tax disk. Now to go and buy a new tax holder, for £10.
The bike is now all legal again, and I have no worry that a “Super Hero” will jump out from behind a car and slap with a £30 fixed penalty fine. Phew!

Needless to say I am looking forward to the demise of the tax disc, and its potential hidden costs for motorcyclists.
Saying that, I am still going to need to buy one more tax disc before then.

I have heard people bemoan the fact that they will not be able to check if their neighbour has tax.
I only have two things to say to that. First, get a life, and second you can check the status of a vehicles licensing on the DVLA website –

If you would like to immerse yourself in the history of the tax disc, which oddly I must confess is quite interesting, please click your way to http://www.britishtaxdiscs.co.uk/tax-disc-history.php

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