Tax it or lose it: is your car tax up to date?

New DVLA campaign highlights consequences of vehicle tax evasion


Tax-dodging drivers in 20 areas around the UK are being targeted by the DVLA’s latest campaign. Tax it or lose it is the message from the DVLA to drivers who aren’t taxing their vehicles.

In 2019, the DVLA took enforcement action against 590,000 untaxed vehicle owners. This year’s campaign focuses on the 20 regions with the highest tax evasion figures (in order of number of total enforcement actions taken):

  1. Belfast - 78,501
  2. Birmingham - 61,531
  3. Glasgow - 34,375
  4. Manchester - 34,106
  5. Sheffield - 30,467
  6. South London - 29,336
  7. Cardiff - 28,857
  8. Nottingham - 26,134
  9. East London - 26,005
  10. Edinburgh - 24,779
  11. North London - 24,766
  12. Bristol - 24,747
  13. Coventry - 23,739
  14. Peterborough - 23,271
  15. Leicester - 23,174
  16. Newcastle - 22,996
  17. Northampton - 18,729
  18. Romford - 18,325
  19. Swansea - 18,237
  20. Doncaster - 17,885

Tax evasion can land drivers with: 

  1. Fines
  2. Court action
  3. Clamping
  4. Losing the car

Hiding an untaxed vehicle in a garage won’t help owners avoid penalties as the DVLA doesn’t need to be able to see it to act. However vehicles spotted without tax or incorrectly declared SORN are at risk of being clamped or impounded. 

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.”

The DVLA also shared some particularly creative excuses given for not taxing vehicles: 

  • I’m about to start a prison sentence, so is there any way you could hang on to my ice cream van for six months until I get out?
  • I would’ve taxed my van but my bitter ex put four live chickens in it
  • I know it was untaxed, but I didn’t think you’d clamp cars in a heatwave
  • I forgot to tax it as I was looking after the kids (aged 19 and 26)
  • I couldn’t tax my car as I’ve had man flu and have been stuck in bed for 4 weeks
  • I would’ve taxed the car, but you clamped it so early in the morning (the car was clamped at lunchtime)

None of these worked, so make sure you don’t get caught out. If you need more information on taxing your vehicle, read our guide: Car tax explained.

Great car insurance options for the whole family