Car tax warning: Thousands at risk from a £1,000 fine for this major misunderstanding

Car tax vehicle excise duty charges are paid by the majority of motorists and are calculated by your car’s overall pollution rates. However, some owners could be completely exempt from paying any VED charges due to their own circumstances or because their car has low emissions. 

Motorist Dave Major told Money Saving Expert he thought the letter he had been sent explaining the taxation process was an “error” and simply “ignored it”. 

He said: “Six months after getting my car in 2016 I got a letter through regarding the tax. 

“But it said that we had £0 to pay so I just thought the letter had been an error and ignored it.

“A month or so later we got a letter saying that we hadn’t taxed our vehicle and had to pay a fine – we obviously paid it and then I ‘taxed’ the vehicle.”

Steve Nowottny, spokesperson for Money Saving Expert urged officials to “communicate more clearly” the rules around exempt vehicles to avoid drivers being caught out. 

He said: “It sounds bizarre that you can get fined for not applying to tax a vehicle which doesn’t need to have tax paid on it. 

“But these figures show that each year thousands are getting caught out – so make sure you’re not one of them.

“While the DVLA may argue it’s important drivers follow the rules so it has accurate records, evidently something’s going wrong. 

“The fact so many people are falling foul of this peculiar process suggests at the very least it needs to communicate more clearly with motorists.

“If your vehicle’s nil-rated, make sure you diarise to apply to tax it each year, and if you’re contacted by the DVLA don’t ignore it – even if you’re told you’re owed £0.”


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