Her Royal Majesty is Displeased
The Queen is apparently displeased with the HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenues and Customs) track record in collecting VED (Vehicle Excise Duty) on foreign registered cars in Britain. Historically the HMRC has kept records of foreign registered vehicles that enter and leave the country but that information has never been passed on to the police or to the DVLA (Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency). As a result, it has been quite impossible to ensure that foreign drivers hold a valid MOT (Ministry of Transportation) certificate, have paid their car taxes, and have complied with paying tickets and fines or are using the roads legally.
No Longer Lax on Vehicle Tax
Earlier this month Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary, announced a pilot project to close a loophole on an annual £20 million of uncollected vehicle taxes. Now, after border officials obtain required vehicle information, the data will be passed on to police in six counties and to the DVLA. In theory vehicles that have been in the country for more than six months are supposed to be registered but the HMRC believes there are hundreds of non-compliant owners escaping taxes, fines and law enforcement.
The pilot which is set to run from November 3, 2014 to February 2015, will permit the DVLA as well as the police forces in Hampshire, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire, Thames Valley, West Mercia and West Midlands, to access the HRMC data base for the first time. Penalties are not insignificant - anyone discovered in non-compliance can have their car impounded and subjected to a £360 release fee plus storage costs, a £30 DVLA out of court settlement, plus 1.5 times the outstanding vehicle tax.
Support for the stepped up enforcement appears mixed but has received approval from the RAC (Royal Auto Club). The RAC believes the increased revenue will help repair roads as well as remove unsafe cars from the nation's roadways that have not been MOT approved.
Revving it All Up
If you or your customers are shipping classic cars overseas to UK, you may want to advise them of these changes in tax policy and compliance. To obtain more information on shipping cars to UK or for shipping classic cars overseas, use our car shipping calculator.