This morning at the stroke of midnight, the tax disc became obsolete. Defunct. Out of date. Redundant. Useless. Dead.
From today, there will no longer be any need to display that little circle of paper that costs so much.
Road tax, or vehicle excise duty, to give it its full and proper title, was introduced in 1889, and our little paper pal was born some 31 years later.
Since then, like all taxes, the rates have only gone up. Despite this, the tax disc had its fans – there were those who collected them or lusted after antique and vintage examples, it even got its own ‘ology’ – velology – the study and collection of tax discs.
But from today, all that changes. There will be no more tax discs.
No longer will we be gripped with fear every six or twelve months when grasping that fresh disc as we battle valiantly to tear the perforations and free the disc for display without tearing it.
No longer will we be able to buy or sell a car with its ‘rent’ securely affixed to the window.
No longer will we queue patiently in the Post Office, documents in hand, waiting to return triumphant with that little slip of brightly coloured paper (fans of queuing fear not – you’ll still be able to pay your road tax at the Post Office – you’ll just have nothing to show for it…)
No longer will be able to spend hours choosing an ‘amusing’ novelty disc holder (unless you’re in Northern Ireland where you still have to display an MoT disc).
After almost 100 years, the humble tax disc has been undone by Automatic Number Plate Reading (ANPR) systems and an ever more intricate computer system that keeps tabs on our cars – a relic of a simpler time.
It shall be missed…