Car buyers run the risk of unavoidable fines of up to £1k next weekend

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Secondhand car buyers run the risk of unavoidable fines of up to £1,000 next weekend because the Government’s online-only tax system will be unavailable.

The DVLA’s car tax systems will be closed from 3pm on Friday 17 August until 6am on Monday 20 August for ‘essential systems maintenance’, according to an agency statement. 

This puts used car buyers in an almost impossible position. 

With rules dictating that vehicle tax is non-transferable, it means anyone who buys a used car during that period won’t be able to legally drive it on the road.

Impossible tax: The DVLA has confirmed that its online-only tax systems will be down next week - and it means secondhand car buyers will not be able to legally drive their new motor

Impossible tax: The DVLA has confirmed that its online-only tax systems will be down next week - and it means secondhand car buyers will not be able to legally drive their new motor

Impossible tax: The DVLA has confirmed that its online-only tax systems will be down next week – and it means secondhand car buyers will not be able to legally drive their new motor

Under new laws introduced in 2014, the DVLA states that tax for vehicles is no longer transferable.

Therefore, vehicle tax instead ‘belongs’ to an owner rather than a car itself.

That means all buyers of secondhand cars need to tax their just-purchased motor before they drive it away – even if the previous keeper’s tax for the same vehicle doesn’t lapse for days.

With the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s services down over the weekend, drivers looking to buy a secondhand car have no way to tax it so they can legally drive home, with the shutdown also preventing paying by phone at the Post Office or on the DVLA’s website.

It means anyone interested in buying a used car next weekend will have to delay the purchase for when the DVLA’s services are back online, or pay for tax before the closure begins – running the risk of forking out for a month’s tax for a vehicle you might not buy.

This section of the Gov.uk site will be down next weekend, the DVLA confirmed this week

This section of the Gov.uk site will be down next weekend, the DVLA confirmed this week

This section of the Gov.uk site will be down next weekend, the DVLA confirmed this week

The DVLA’s official statement about the closure points out that ‘it’s against the law to drive an untaxed vehicle on the road’. 

Any motorist caught without car tax will receive a fine of £80, under current rules.

This can be reduced to £40 if paid within 28 days, but could increase to a maximum of £1,000 if the fine goes unpaid and ends up in court.

Anyone caught driving a car without road tax by police also face a fixed penalty notice of up to £1,000.

‘If you buy a car during this weekend you won’t be able to tax it until 6am on Monday 20 August,’ the statement advises.

The offline period is likely to further anger motorists who already feel they’re being ripped off by these tax rules.

The Government has been accused of making millions of pounds through ‘double taxation’ with the non-transferable stipulation.

That’s because used-car buyers have to pay for a full month of tax even if they purchase the vehicle on the last day of the month, and a seller can only reclaim a tax for full months, meaning they won’t be reimbursed for the month if they part with the car on the first of the month.

The DVLA advises car buyers to delay any used-vehicle purchases until the systems are back online following the closure

The DVLA advises car buyers to delay any used-vehicle purchases until the systems are back online following the closure

The DVLA advises car buyers to delay any used-vehicle purchases until the systems are back online following the closure

When the rules were first introduced, the AA said that drivers are paying an extra £38million a year due to vehicle tax being non-transferable. 

Other DVLA services will not be affected by the closure over the weekend.

It will still be possible to view and share driving licence details with third parties, including hire companies and motorists will still be able to renew a 10-year photocard driving licence at the Post Office, the DVLA said.

The official statement ends: ‘We’re sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause.’

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