So you’ve passed your driving test, and you think you have it all covered. You’ve got your new driver plates correctly placed on your car so everyone knows they should be a little gentler when it comes to reaching for the horn if you make a mistake. You have your car insurance all sorted out, and you proudly carry your full driving licence with you at all times.
However, you do have one more hurdle to overcome, and this is something that can easily be missed by even the most seasoned drivers. This “little” thing to remember is the renewal of your car tax. If your tax runs out, you’re stopped by the police and you can’t prove you’ve already applied for a new disc you could be in a lot of trouble.
Whilst you may be looked upon a bit more leniently if it’s your first offence, you shouldn’t take this part of driving law lightly! In some cases you could end up with a hefty fine (which will cost you WAY more than if you had paid for your new tax disc in the first place), and if you’re really unlucky it might mean prosecution. Not a great way to start life as a driver is it?
When You Should Apply
You MUST do this before your current tax disc runs out. Before July of this year you had 5 days after the expiry date to display your new disc. Now however, you get 14 days but this doesn’t mean you can be complacent about making sure you get your application in on time.
If your car is spotted parked on public land, and the expiry date (which is usually the last day of any given month) has passed you will be asked to for proof that you’ve applied for a new one.
How to Apply
Well, this has got an awful lot easier since I first learned to drive. These days you have a number of options open to you. You can go direct to the DVLA website and apply online, you can go to your local post office and renew there or you can contact the DVLA by telephone. In fact, it’s that easy these days there is no excuse for not having an up to date tax disc in your car.
What If Your Car Is Off the Road?
I’m sure there many members of law enforcement that have come across the excuse “my car is off the road”, but you have to remember you need to be able to prove it. If you’re not currently using your vehicle, it MUST be parked on private land. Parking it on the road outside your home won’t cut it with the police.
You should also make sure you have completed a SORN form, or Statutory Off Road Notification. These forms can be obtained directly from the DVLA or at your local post office. Be honest when you complete the form because the chances are, if you lie, you will be found out.
Remember, paying your car tax is a legal requirement and as said, it does carry its penalties if you try to flaunt the rules!