Monday 4 June 2018

Historic (classic) vehicles: MOT and vehicle tax.

Forgive the rather long title for this blog and the rather crude copy pasting of forms from the DVLA, but I'm a classic car enthusiast not a computer nerd.

A small minority of my readers may be aware that there have been changes to the tax and MOT requirements for classic cars which came into effect this month, which mean that any car now over 40 years old will not have to pay for road tax and will not be required to have an MOT.

This may come as a surprise to some, but to put it in perspective most classic cars do ridiculously small annual mileages frequently in the low hundreds.

The MOT for a modern car is far too tough for something built in the thirties or forties and now the government has changed the rules to reflect this, although one still has to keep the vehicle in a roadworthy condition or one can be fined £2500.00 and get three penalty points for using a vehicle in a dangerous condition. More than enough incentive for us to look after our vehicles.

You do not have to apply to stop getting an MOT for your vehicle each year. However, you must still keep it in a roadworthy condition.
You can be fined up to £2,500 and get 3 penalty points for using a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

Personally I am delighted at the government seeing sense with regard to classic cars as the combined mileage of four of mine last year was under 1000 miles (one thousand) and to expect a car built over forty years ago to pass the same MOT as a modern car is like expecting a horse and cart to do likewise.

So far so good, however when trying to put these changes into practice I was somewhat discombobulated with conflicting information from classic car magazines, the DVLA, both in written form and verbal during my phone conversation and lastly with two different people in the relevant Post Office.

 I have just attempted to copy the salient points from the following forms, the gist of the first form being that should you own a vehicle over 40 years old, you must apply for a vehicle tax exemption to stop paying vehicle tax. This is sometimes called putting a vehicle into the "historic tax class." All well and good so far.

What you have to do
You must apply for a vehicle tax exemption to stop paying vehicle tax. This is sometimes called putting a vehicle into the ‘historic tax class’.

Now moving on to the second form which explains how one should apply for the vehicle tax exemption which I was surprised to see one had to do at a post office as there seemed to be no online facility, I duly proceeded to the Post Office together with all the required documentation just to be on the safe side.

Apply at a Post Office that deals with vehicle tax.
You need to take:
·         the log book (V5C) in your name
·         your vehicle tax reminder letter (V11), if you have one
·         an MOT certificate that’s valid when the tax starts, or evidence if your vehicle’s exempt from an MOT (V112)
·         an insurance certificate or cover note (only in Northern Ireland)

Upon producing the relevant paperwork I was informed by the counter clerk that all I had to do was fill in the box on my registration document as Historic Vehicle, sign and date and post it off to the DVLA, which left me somewhat surprised as this conflicted with all the information I had received as to how to complete this task properly.

I was taught at school to question things, especially something which does not seem right so I returned home and phoned the DVLA who confirmed everything which was on the form, including the information as to what happens next.

1.   The Post Office sends your log book to DVLA.

2.   You’ll get a confirmation from DVLA within 10 working days that the change has been made.

3.   DVLA will send you an updated log book.

By now I was convinced that the information on the form and confirmation from DVLA was indeed the correct way of doing things, so returned yet again to the post office.

Those of you with a sense of irony may well see what is coming next. Yes indeed, the Post Office stuck to its guns and insisted that all I had to do was fill in the log book myself and send it back, I attempted to point out the phrase, "The Post Office sends your log book to DVLA" all to no avail.

By this time, I was beginning to lose the will to live so gave in and purchased an envelope and posted the allegedly required portion of my log book to the DVLA, I await the return of my new log book with nothing short of excitement.

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