UK-based readers who haven’t had to renew their car tax lately may be interested to know that when you get the renewal notice from the DVLA, it now includes information on how to go about doing so on the Internet – avoiding the queues in the Post Office. In fact it also avoids the need to dig out your insurance and MOT documents.
You simply go over to www.direct.gov.uk/taxdisc and enter your reference number. The system checks your insurance and MOT are up-to-date automatically, and you can then pay online.
How well this will work in practice remains to be seen – I suspect it will depend on how long it takes for the new tax disc to arrive in my letter box, since I need a new one by the end of the month. However, this is the first time I’ve actually been impressed by a so-called “e-Government” / Directgov service, at least in terms of the ease of use. Fingers crossed the disc arrives and doesn’t ruin my impression of the service.
Another nice surprise was that under the new VED rules that came out in the Budget on Tuesday, the cost for my car has actually gone down by £5 per year. Not that that would ever be enough for me to vote for Mr “squeeze ‘em ’til the pips squeak” Brown, but it was a small bonus.
Update March 30th 2006: the tax disc arrived in good time.
Update January 17th 2006: following a discussion about why this post attracts so much attention, I was very happy to receive a comment from Andrew Rhodes, Head of Electronic Customer Services at DVLA. He explains how this works:
You have to have a computerised MOT to use the service and all garages since March 2006 have been issuing them. By April, everyone needing an MOT will have a computerised one. Until that happens, we only invite the people we know can definately use the service (computerised MOT or car less than 3 years old). Your traffic is probably from people who haven’t been invited but have heard about it and want to find the site. We recently changed the reminder to give information to these people too.
We select and print 3-4 million reminders a month (44 million a year) about 6 weeks before your tax is due. We post them a while before the 15th of the month, which is when you can start taxing your car, bike, lorry, van etc from. Most people get their reminder on around the 14th/15th of the month.
So, now we know many thanks, Andrew.