The Department for Transport (DfT) estimates that 634,000 vehicles on UK roads are currently untaxed, resulting in a potential revenue loss of £94 million over the past year.
The results of the DfT’s 2019 survey on Vehicle Excise Duty evasion, which were published this week, found that nine per cent of unlicensed vehicles were sold new in the last two years, while 43 per cent are 10 or more years old.
It also revealed that 1.7 per cent of private and light goods vehicles – which account for 89 per cent of all UK vehicles – are untaxed, compared with just 0.8 per cent of heavy goods vehicles and 0.5 per cent of buses.
The evasion rate was found to be highest among motorcyclists, with 3.8 per cent of all surveyed motorbikes recorded as untaxed.
The report also notes that a proportion of the estimated £94m revenue shortfall will have been recovered by DVLA enforcement activity and the payment of arrears by vehicle owners.
Tax evasion following end to paper tax disc
The DfT suggests the sharp rise in instances of road tax evasion since 2013, when the overall figure was around 0.6 per cent, is linked to the eradication of the paper tax disc in 2014 and a new law that means existing road tax now automatically ends when a vehicle changes hands.
A spokesman for the RAC said: “While it’s good news that vehicle tax evasion has gone down, it’s still significantly higher than it was before the tax disc was abolished in October 2014.
“To put this into perspective, evasion in 2013 was around 0.6 per cent, and in 2015, the next point at which this survey was carried out, it had risen to around 1.4 per cent.
“It’s therefore hard to see that doing away with the tax disc has been good for ensuring as many vehicles as possible are taxed for use on our roads.”
Share your comments below.