Belfast has been named the UK’s worst city for car tax payment, with almost 40,000 drivers a year chased for unpaid bills.
The Northern Irish city and the areas which share the BT postcode saw more enforcement actions for unpaid Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) than any other UK postcode, with drivers chased for £5.73 million of tax in 2020.
Birmingham and the areas which share its B postcode saw the second highest number of enforcement actions - 37,907 to Belfast’s 38,223 - well ahead of Manchester (M), with 19,058. Between them, drivers in the two English cities owe £8.5m in unpaid tax.
However, it was Worcester that recorded the most offences per person, with almost 28 fines issued per 1,000 people in the WR postcode.
In total, drivers around the country owe more than £30m in unpaid car tax for 2020 alone, according to a freedom of information inquiry by insurer Veygo.
The standard fine for failing to tax a car is £80 but this can rise to as much as £1,000 if you are taken to court. Your car can also be clamped or seized by the DVLA if you fail to tax it or make a Sorn declaration.
Behind Worcester, Luton (LU) and Romford (RM) had the highest proportion of offences per person, at 22 and 21 per 1,000 respectively, just ahead of Belfast’s 20 enforcement actions per 1,000 people.
Predictably, postcode areas with small populations saw the fewest total number of fines, with West Central London (WC), Shetland (ZE) and the Hebrides (HS) recording 216, 312 and 342 enforcement actions respectively in 2020.
By head of population, the WC postcode was still the most law-abiding area, with just six fines per 1,000 people. Behind it, the far larger areas of Harrogate (HG) and York (YO) each recorded around nine offences per 1,000 people.
David Roberts, product manager from Veygo commented: “Paying your vehicle tax is a legal requirement. Thankfully, it is a simple and straightforward process. Simply visit the government website, enter your details and you will be prompted to pay the appropriate rate of tax for your vehicle.
“If you don’t intend to drive your car at all on public roads then you don’t need to have it taxed. Instead, you can register a SORN (Statutory Off-Road Notice). However, as soon as your car goes on a public road, even if it’s just parked there, then it will need to be taxed.”