Motor traders, dealers and vehicle testers are eligible to apply for trade plates for use when in possession of cars and vans either for sale or for service and repair. This removes the need to obtain individual tax discs for every vehicle, something that will become especially important following the introduction of paperless VED discs in late 2014
Trade plates have various uses. They can be employed by a motor dealer when moving cars from one location to another for the purpose of resale, for short test drives with prospective purchasers, or for delivering vehicles to a client. Vehicle testers can also use the plates when checking roadworthiness following a service or repair, and for transporting a vehicle to or from a workshop or garage. The plates can be used for other purposes, including transport of a car or van to a breakers yard or scrap metal merchant, for example, or to an auction site.
There are naturally quite a few restrictions on the use of these plates, and the DVLA lists a number of offences which can result in a steep fine. These include: fraudulent use of plates, altering them without consent, improper use of the plates (either displaying them wrongly or not using both front and rear plates), using multiple vehicles with the same plates simultaneously, and lending them to other persons or dealers. Currently the fine stands at either £1,000 or a sum equivalent to 5 times the cost of taxation for the vehicle(s) in question.
Licences last either 6 or 12 months from the date of application, and expire at the end of June or December. First-time purchasers are eligible to receive an additional month of cover. A 12 month licence covering January to December currently costs £165 to cover all vehicles.
Licensees must of course have valid motor trade insurance at all times, and may not transfer the plates to another person or business - if any changes are required, you must notify the DVLA as soon as possible.
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