A top industry trade association is pushing for a pilot scheme that could lead to the abolition of the tax disc.

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association is at the forefront of a campaign to end the requirement that vehicles display a disc, potentially saving the industry millions of pounds.

The first step is a proposed pilot scheme where new vehicles would be exempt from the requirement to display a disc in their first year.

The BVRLA has been lobbying for some time that the administration involved in printing, posting, displaying and refunding the disc itself is unnecessary, and that the recently announced streamlining of the DVLA with regional centres closing and an ambition to take more work online is a potential opportunity for change.

“The tax disc is a bit of a comfort blanket receipt – it used to be for police enforcement when a bobby walked down the street but not any more, it’s all electronic now,” BVRLA chief executive John Lewis told BusinessCar.

“That piece of paper costs a lot of money to print and send out, and the enforcement is electronic. I don’t have to put a piece of paper in my window to say I’ve paid my council tax.”

The DVLA has confirmed it is considering posting tax discs for new vehicles to the first registered keeper as a consequence of local DVLA offices closing, which could be an administrative nightmare for fleets with vehicles based at multiple locations.

Lewis sees this development as an ideal chance to trial a new way of working.

“If we do a pilot in the first year, it generates confidence that you can operate without a disc,” he declared. “Imagine a rental company or larger fleet – the disc would come to head office but they then have to chase the car round depots to fit the tax disc.

“Fleet, leasing and rental would be a good place to do it, where the registered keeper isn’t where the vehicle will be,” Lewis continued.

“It’s a long journey, but even if we only do it in the first year then it’s a good start to prove it works.”

The DVLA said no trial is imminent at this stage, although it revealed that the Government is considering whether to reform VED in the medium term, and would be seeking the views of motoring groups.

Any trial wouldn’t happen for another three or four years. “There is a degree of probability that it is more likely to happen than not.

“If 10 is very probably and one is less, then it’s now at a seven or an eight,” predicted Lewis.

He said the savings for the corporate industry would be “in the millions” and would cut bureaucracy, forming part of expected DVLA moves to reduce paperwork with schemes such as paying refunded Road Fund Licences by electronic transfer rather than posting individual cheques for each vehicle.

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