DVLA clamping down on car tax evasion

The DVLA is warning motorists that not paying vehicle tax has ‘real consquences’, as it names the 20 regions of the UK where evasion is highest.

DVLA clamping down on tax evasion

The DVLA is taking its vehicle tax evasion campaign to the road with a clear message: ‘Tax it or lose it’.

A giant clamp is at the centre of the campaign, with the DVLA warning motorists that they face ‘real consequences’ if they don’t tax their vehicles. At best, they risk a penalty or having their car clamped. At worst, they could lose their vehicle altogether.

If an enforcement officer spots a vehicle on the road that isn’t taxed or is wrongly declared SORN (off the road), there’s a chance it will be clamped or impounded. The enforcement teams are based around the country and travel in vehicles equipped with number plate recognition cameras.

Your chances of being caught are likely to be higher in one of the 20 locations named by the DVLA. These are the regions of the UK where vehicle tax evasion is rife. In total, the DVLA took nearly 590,00 enforcement actions in these regions alone.

Belfast tops the list, with 78,501 enforcement actions in 2019. Birmingham isn’t far behind, on 61,531, while 34,375 motorists were caught driving an untaxed vehicle in Glasgow. The full table is below – so you know where the giant clamp is likely to appear.

‘There really is no excuse’

DVLA tax it or lose it

Julie Lennard, chief executive of the DVLA, said: “The number of untaxed vehicles on the road is falling, but we are determined to reduce this even further. We operate a range of measures to make vehicle tax easy to pay and hard to avoid, so there really is no excuse if you fail to tax your vehicle.

“While the vast majority of motorists do the right thing and tax correctly, this campaign highlights the real consequences that motorists face if they don’t tax their vehicles.”

RAC spokesman Simon Williams added: “While the vast majority of motorists abide by the law and tax their vehicles correctly, high-profile enforcement campaigns like this are needed to make sure the consequences of not doing so are fully understood. This DVLA campaign gives a very clear warning of the action that will be taken on untaxed vehicles. Having your vehicle clamped is expensive and inconvenient so it’s far simpler to make sure you tax it.

“You can easily check when your tax is due using DVLA’s vehicle enquiry service on GOV.UK: all you need is your vehicle registration. It’s also really important to tell DVLA straightaway if you move house, so you don’t risk missing the reminder letters that DVLA sends to all vehicle keepers.”

The 20 regions where vehicle tax evasion is highest

Area Total enforcement actions in 2019
Belfast 78,501
Birmingham 61,531
Bristol 24,747
Cardiff 28,857
Coventry 23,739
Doncaster 17,885
East London 26,005
Edinburgh 24,779
Glasgow 34,375
Leicester 23,174
Manchester 34,106
Newcastle 22,996
Northampton 18,729
North London 24,766
Nottingham 26,134
Peterborough 23,271
Romford 18,325
Sheffield 30,467
South London 29,336
Swansea 18,237

Taxing a vehicle has never been easier. Motorists can do it online 24 hours a day, and can check whether their tax is up to date by asking Amazon Alexa or Google Home. It’s important to remember that vehicle tax is not transferred to a new owner when buying a used car.

Click here for our dedicated motoring advice section.

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Gavin Braithwaite-Smithhttp://www.petrolblog.com
Writer with a penchant for #FrenchTat. Also doing a passable impression of Cousin Eddie in an Italian-German beige motorhome.


  1. What a load of bull about Swansea and their get tough on Car Tax Evasion,I have reported a vehicle twice for no TAX, no MOT, no Insurance,and it is still parked on the roadside,and the MOT expired before the Goverment gave the Extension,it must be a Non runner because it got dropped by a Recovery Vehicle.

  2. It’s a pity the DVLA don’t go after themselves and chase up refunds on the remaining period of Road Tax for refunding to the vehicle ex-owner after selling the vehicle on . I traded-in my motorcycle to a motorcycle dealer 1st June this year (2020), which I had only just road taxed for a full 12 months a week earlier in late May (£91) and I’m still waiting a refund of the outstanding road tax owed back to me from the DVLA.
    After waiting longer than 6 weeks for what used to be the maximum time for an automatic refund, I decided to contact the DVLA to chase things up, but they don’t answer their phones or reply to my numerous emails and it has been over 4 weeks now since I wrote to their Customer Service as instructed in their on-line blurb. I could do with that refund which should be in the region of £85, but I don’t have the weight of the law on my side. What gives them the right to chase up Road tax dodgers/defaulters and totally ignore genuine payers.


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