Fleet managers will have to keep a closer eye on rental and grey fleet vehicles to keep track of whether they are taxed due to the demise of the physical tax disc from today.

Ashley Sowerby, managing director at fleet software specialist Chevin, told BusinessCar: “For well-run fleets, there should be few problems, [but] the main issue we foresee is that it is not immediately apparent whether a vehicle being used on business is already taxed, especially in the short term. This could apply to rental vehicles or grey fleet, for example.”

He advised operators to check the small print of their rental policies to ensure the provider retains responsibility for taxing vehicles: “There could be some difficulty surrounding this in the event that the vehicle was checked and found to be untaxed, and it could be that you may want to ensure that the contractual arrangements that you have in place with your rental providers ensure that they take full responsibility for taxation.

“However, the DVLA has launched an online enquiry tool for this kind of eventuality and it is probably good practice to introduce a procedure that uses this to check for any vehicle that is coming under your management, even if it is just for a day.”

Sowerby added that businesses may want to prompt themselves to check their accounts for DVLA refunds after defleeting vehicles that have any full months of outstanding tax, which should automatically be paid back to the former owner.

“There is an argument for adding a reminder into your procedures to ensure that the refund has actually arrived into your account, but generally we have found DVLA processes to be pretty efficient in the past and have no reason to believe that this will be any different.”

The DVLA’s free online licence checking service is at www.vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk.