DVLA does not need to spot an untaxed vehicle on the road to take action. Any vehicle seen on the road and isn’t taxed, or is declared SORN and isn’t kept off road, risks being clamped or impounded by one of DVLA’s enforcement teams.
DVLA will send you a reminder when your vehicle tax is due. This will include all the information you need to tax online.
If you don't tax on time this is followed up by a late licensing penalty letter. This is a fee of £80 initially, but is reduced to £40 if paid within 28 days.
If the penalty isn’t paid, your information is sent to a debt collector to recover the payment. You may also be at risk of prosecution through court if you use an untaxed vehicle.
The DVLA has a number of other actions to stop vehicle tax evasion. These range from reminder letters, penalties and court prosecutions through to the use of ANPR cameras, wheel clamping and the removal of unlicensed vehicles.