Thursday, 6 November 2014


DVLA this week launched a small pilot exercise of its latest digital service. While its been possible to tax a vehicle online for over 10 years, the process of telling DVLA of changes to the owner/ keeper has remained purely paper based.  

The new service will allow motor dealers to inform DVLA that a vehicle has been sold into the motor trade. 
Currently, if you sell a vehicle you have to tear off a slip of paper (notification of sale – V5C/3) from the V5C registration certificate (logbook) & send by post to DVLA. Some time later you’ll hopefully receive notification from DVLA acknowledging that you’re no longer the keeper of the vehicle (and no longer liable for tax, speeding fines etc.!).

Under the new online service, when a vehicle is sold into the motor trade the dealer will be able to tell DVLA that they’ve purchased the vehicle. This will update DVLA records the same day. This means that the previous owner will be eligible for a refund of vehicle tax, if any is remaining, and is no loger be registered as the keeper of the vehicle. There will no longer be a need to send the tear off slip from the V5C by post to DVLA. The previous owner will still receive a notification in the post from DVLA confirming they’re no longer the keeper of the vehicle and the vehicle record has been updated.

To date, the response from participants of the test system has been overwhelmingly positive, with most saying they are willing to undertake the service on behalf of the customer.  Some traders have even said they’ll set up self serve points to allow the vehicle keeper to notify DVLA themselves, providing assistance and support where needed.

This initial test system is limited to just 15 traders, ranging from the very small independent dealer selling 10-15 cars a month, to dealers processing 20,000 or more. It also encompasses different types of users, from auction houses to specialists in truck and bus sales. This small but diverse pilot group will provide valuable real life insight before the launch of the full system later this year.

Presumably, it will be up to the motor dealer to decide whether or not they want to use this system, meaning that many dealers who operate on a cash basis will continue to avoid their legal obligations.

Unfortunately, DVLA will not record the details of the motor trader the vehicle is sold to, nor will there be any requirement for motor traders to inform DVLA if they sell the vehicle to another motor trader.  One would have thought this was the next logical extension of the system – but apparently not.  So this still won’t address the problem of the 600,000+ vehicles that disappear every year into the motor trade & never reappear!

It is also currently not clear whether DVLA has any plans to extend the system to vehicles sold to overseas buyers (i.e. exported).

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