Thousands still paying tax on stolen cars

More than 17,000 motorists are still paying VED road tax on vehicles listed as stolen, a new Freedom of Information request has revealed.

The sheer scale of the issue has taken even industry experts by surprise with so many motorists not seeking a car tax refund.

Specialist motor insurance loss adjustor CMA says that, of September 2023, there were 50,804 vehicles recorded as stolen. Almost a third of them – 17,086 vehicles – are still taxed.

According to the DVLA, road tax refunds are not issued automatically. If a vehicle is stolen, motorists are told they will "have to apply for a refund separately". This includes cancelling any direct debits. 

The issue is not being helped by the lack of a visual reminder in the form of a tax disc, abolished in 2014, said CMA MD Philip Swift.

"Amid the shock of a vehicle theft, dealing with the resulting admin and beginning the search for a new car, claiming a tax refund, or cancelling a direct debit, is far from top priority."

>> How to cancel your car tax and get a refund

Swift admitted that some motorists might deem it not worth the hassle, but says that misses the point.

"Victims of crime are incurring additional costs for no good reason. At best, it shows a lack of joined-up thinking. At worst, it is a rather underhand way of boosting government coffers."

He says the number of people affected by this issue may have been creeping up for years and is linked directly to the plummeting stolen vehicle recover rates.

His company is aiming to roll out an automatic reminder service with its insurance partners, encouraging motorists to review their VED situation if their car has been stolen.

"In the meantime, the Government continues to quietly pocket money from thousands of motorists who’ve already suffered the trauma and inconvenience of having their car nicked."

Ask HJ

When do I stop paying the premium rate of road tax?

I have a 2020 (August) BMW X1 M Sport, I am currently paying £570.00 per annum road tax. I understand that the excise duty is higher for vehicles over £40,000 when new, however when will the cost fall, and if so what would the annual duty be?
If you are paying the premium rate of VED on your BMW, this is charged for five years from the second time the vehicle is taxed, so this will apply for you until August 2026. At the current rates your VED amount would reduced to £180, but it is likely that rates will change again before 2026.
Answered by David Ross
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