(Update: Due to a high level of interest in this subject we have written a dedicated article on all things to do with trade plates please read All you need to know about Trade Plates – FAQ’s)
Just a few weeks ago GoMotorTrade posted a blog on motor traders’ FAQs concerning the changes to road tax. Motor traders in particular are struggling to understand the new changes with many blaming the DVLA for not providing more information and making any information they do provide unclear. It is unsurprising then that a number of motor traders – particularly those that work part time – are concerned that the changes will have a detrimental effect on their businesses.
Another thing that motor traders are concerned about is that scammers may soon start printing trade plates in order to avoid paying road tax. Generally, you are only able to apply for trade plates if you have a valid trade licence, however there are those that find their way around this. For example, most mechanics have the ability to print number plates which means that if they choose to they can create false trader plates in order to get away with not paying tax on their vehicles. Obviously, this is extremely illegal; however as with any industry there are always those that try to break the law.
It has also been pointed out that it’s not just motor traders that will be able to break the law once the paper tax disc has been abolished, as from now on police will only know if a car is taxed by scanning its number plate. This means that fraudsters could make copies of number plates in order to avoid paying tax, MOTs and car or motor trade insurance. Furthermore, they would not be detected by the police’s ANPR checks which means that it could take them even longer to find out whether certain cars are untaxed, losing the government millions of pounds.
Naturally, if the police pull over a vehicle and then perform a full background check they will probably be able to tell that the number plate does not belong to the car, however this is extremely time consuming. The main reason why the government made buying road tax digital is to save money, but if the flaws in the scheme are exploited it could end up costing them in the long run.
Besides from illegal activity there are also other issues when it comes to the new road tax changes. For example, car dealer specialist Auto Trader has said that traders who specialise in luxury cars will soon struggle, especially if they are used to paying for a vehicle’s tax in order to make a sale. Taxing larger vehicles with high emissions is extremely expensive, which means that in the future consumers will have to take this into consideration when purchasing new vehicles.
Sharon Randall, Auto Trader sales director, said: “For the seller of a car like a Range Rover for example, nine months road tax adds more than £300 to the value of a car. But come October, this part of the retail buying landscape will be lost forever.” Sharon went on to add that the company is disappointed with the way in which the government has managed the changes and that both consumers and those that work in the motor trade feel the same.
She said: “This is a very significant change to the way road tax will be administered by DVLA and the message from our 12,000 retail customers is that the communication has been, at best, low key. The changes affect 30 million motorists and if half are unaware that new rules are imminent, then we have a big problem. There is a real risk that transactions could be delayed and that dealers will be in the firing line when it comes to the consumer backlash.”
With the processes surrounding road tax becoming more complicated, motor traders will have to rely on their trade plates in order to make sure that they are not paying too much tax. At the same time they will need to be more vigilant when it comes to fraudsters trying to use or sell vehicles with fake number plates – trade or otherwise.