Car tax evasion rates released by the DVLA revealed Belfast was the highest offending region in the UK. DVLA teams took over 78,500 enforcement actions against road users in 2019. Birmingham was the next highest offending region with 61,531 enforced actions over last year.
Although many evaders would likely be lawless motorists, the AA President said some may be law-abiding road users who have simply forgotten to check their details.
The recovery group claimed some may have simply forgotten to update their details which meant they did not get a reminder to re-tax their car.
Edmund King said: “A figure of 60,000 or more vehicle tax evaders in one city is staggering. Many of those will be lawless drivers who don’t have insurance or an MoT.
“However, many will be the lax and lazy who would normally be law-abiding road users but didn’t tell the DVLA they had changed their address.
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Car tax evasion rates have been described as “staggering”
“Failing to do so meant they didn’t get the reminder to re-tax their vehicles, particularly when they no longer have the physical reminder of the tax disc on their windscreen.”
How prolific is car tax evasion?
Data from the DVLA shows enforcement team took 590,000 actions against car tax evaders across just 20 regions of the UK last year.
Their “Tax it or Lose it” campaign travels the nation hunting down evaders to issue penalties such as wheel clamps and heavy fines.
Car tax evasion is now significantly higher than before old-style paper tax discs were abolished in 2014.
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Data showed 1.6 percent of road users across the UK have not paid their up-to-date road tax charges, equating to 634,000 cars.
The figures were down on the 1.9 percent tax evasion rate seen in 2017 but was higher than pre-2014 evasion rates.
Just 0.6 percent of vehicles did not pay their road tax in 2013 which would have been an estimated 210,000 road users.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “While it is good news that vehicle tax evasion has gone down, it is still significantly higher than it was before the tax disc was abolished in October 2014.
He added: “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.
“This all means the Government is consistently missing out on very large amounts of tax revenue which from next year will be ring fenced for maintaining major roads in England.”
How much has been lost through car tax evasion?
The switch to a fully online system was believed to save the government around £7million per year but higher evasion rates have detonated plans for cost savings.
The government is believed to have lost around £300million in estimated revenues since the tax disc was abolished.
Data from the Department for Transport has revealed £94million was lost in estimated revenue last year through tax evasion alone.
How to avoid car tax evasion
Motorists can avoid being caught out for tax evasion by ensuring they have valid car tax and car insurance policies in place.
Most car insurance and road tax policies can be set up to auto-renewal to take the pressure away from motorists.
Road users can check the details of when their car tax is due through the GOV.UK website’s road tax checker tool.
Owners just need to input their number plate details to find information of when their car tax is due for renewal.
Changing an address with the DVLA is vital as road users will also need to update their driving licence and vehicle logbook.