The DVLA has warned motorists that they wonâ€™t be able to tax their cars this weekend – leaving them vulnerable to a potential Â£1,000 fine.
From Friday the licensing bodyâ€™s computer systems are being shut down for â€œessential maintenanceâ€ which means car owners wonâ€™t be able to tax their vehicles online, over the phone or in person at their local Post Office.
Read more:Â 2018 car tax changes: all you need to know
It means that anyone buying a car over the weekend could face prosecution if they drive it on public roads.
Under revised vehicle excise duty rules, the VED, or car tax, no longer transfers with ownership, so as soon as a car is signed over its new keeper has to apply for new tax.
IMPORTANT INFO: from 3pm Fri 17 to 6am Mon 20 Aug, most of our https://t.co/60rBEjkomV services and our contact centre will be unavailable due to essential system maintenance. Services will be available from 6am Mon 20 Aug (8am for our contact centre). https://t.co/NB17Ji3oFh pic.twitter.com/khrVioJ7xf
â€” DVLA (@DVLAgovuk) August 10, 2018
The fine for driving without valid tax is usually an Â£80 on-the-spot charge but can increase to Â£1,000 if the case goes to court.
Despite the potential headache for car buyers, the DVLA isnâ€™t cutting anyone any slack. In its announcementÂ it warns: â€œRemember, itâ€™s against the law to drive an untaxed vehicle on the road. If you buy a car during this weekend you wonâ€™t be able to tax it until 6am on Monday 20 August.â€
The system shutdown will run from 3pm on Friday August 17 to 6am on Monday August 20 and will affect most of the DVLAâ€™s services, including its contact centre.
The ability to view and share your driving licence details with third parties including car hire companies shouldnâ€™t be affected, although the announcement does rather ominously warn: â€œTo avoid any disappointment itâ€™s best to generate a check code now.”