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Tax discs to be phased out after 93 years

The round bit of paper that indicates your car is taxed will be phased out, chancellor George Osborne will disclose in his Autumn Statement today. Going forward, motorists will simply need to register their car as taxed online. 

The change will see cars monitored by traffic cameras and manual database checks. Gone are the days when squads of police officers will congregate on the streets to spot cars that aren’t displaying a valid disc.

The government hopes cutting the need for paper and other administrative costs will help save £7m a year.

With many people in the UK used to getting a tax disc from the Post Office, the change could end up costing some motorists more, particularly if they live in a rural area with little or no Internet access. Credit card charges will also add a small premium, but at least drivers won’t have to wait for a tax disc to arrive.

“This is a visual symbol of how we are moving government into the modern age and making deal with government more hassle-free,” a Treasury spokesman said.

The cost of paying by Direct Debit will also change from 10 per cent to five per cent.

Vehicle taxes were introduced in 1888. The round disc as we know it came later in 1921, a year after the current system of excise duties was introduced to cover road maintenance and construction costs.

UK motorists can opt to buy a tax disc for either a six or 12 month period. The cost is governed by the CO2 emissions and fuel type or the engine size of a vehicle.

The date for the death of the tax disc as we know it is yet to be announced.

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