Last October, the DVLA introduced new rules meaning motorists no longer need to display a tax disc on their windscreens.
Instead, police cameras will automatically check a car’s licence plate to establish whether the tax has been paid.
However, a dramatic rise in the number of vehicles being clamped suggests drivers are unaware of another change – that tax is automatically cancelled when a car’s ownership changes.
So, if you are buying a used car, you now have to tax it yourself as soon as you take ownership. You won’t benefit from tax already paid for by the seller.
Sellers then get a refund for any tax paid while the car is not in their ownership.
Previously, anyone selling a second-hand car could boast that it was ‘taxed and MOTd’ until a certain date – it was one of the perks of buying second hand. That perk is now a thing of the past.
Before the reform, agencies working on behalf of the DVLA clamped about 5,000 vehicles a month.
This has now soared to almost 8,000 – with some towed away without even a warning letter.
A DVLA spokesman said: “The changes have been widely publicised and we write to every vehicle keeper to remind them of the new rules before the vehicle tax expires.”
“We also write to every new vehicle keeper when they buy a used vehicle to inform them that they must tax the vehicle before they use it.”
“In addition, if a driver does not tax their car we will send a warning letter to remind them to tax as they are at risk of enforcement action.”