DVLA accused of not making 40-year rule clear
Owners of vehicles made in January 1975 are being reminded that their cars aren’t exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty until 1 April 2016 – following a run of complaints.
Some owners of these cars say they have been left with unexpected and hefty bills, as they were under the assumption that the rolling-road exemption covering cars of 40 years and over came into effect from the start of 2016. In fact, cars manufactured before 1 January 1976 will be able to be registered as historic vehicles and apply for VED exemption only from April 2016.
A postmaster, who asked not to be named, had criticised the DVLA for not making the rules clear. He says: ‘A customer came in wanting to tax his Rolls-Royce which was registered in January 1975, but our systems wouldn’t let him get it VED-free, and we’re given no explanation as to why by the DVLA. I’ve seen this similar situation happen to three other people.’
Post offices simply scan barcodes and act on computerised instructions. ‘This is the first I’ve heard about when the VED exemption comes into place,’ says the postmaster. ‘The DVLA hasn’t told us anything. It’s not good enough.’
Dennis Rickets of Presteigne, Powys reports he has been told by the DVLA that his 1975 Ford Cortina 1.3 MkIII, registered on 6 February 1975, does not qualify for historic tax free status. By his reckoning, his car is 41 years old.
David Whitbread, media relations officer for the DVLA explains: ‘If a car was made before 1 January 1975 then it could be registered as a historic vehicle. Also, if the vehicle’s V5C shows that the car was registered from 1 January 1975 up to and including 7 January 1975, it could be registered as a historic vehicle – based on the assumption that the vehicle would have been made in the previous year.
‘From April 2016 cars made before 1 January 1976 will be able to be registered as a historic vehicle.’