Ireland: New car tax rules for overseas residents
27 August 2013
Posted by: Author: Paul Cullen
Author: Paul Cullen
New rules on taxing cars that are off the road are being amended to ease difficulties experienced by people living abroad or who are too ill to attend a Garda station personally.
The Department of Environment says car owners who are abroad will be able to nominate a third party, such as a relative or friend, to bring the relevant forms to a Garda station on their behalf. Similar arrangements will apply in cases where a person is too ill or incapacitated to attend the station personally.
Earlier this year, the Department changed the rules on motor tax renewals, with the effect that if a car is off the road, and therefore not liable for tax, a declaration to this effect must be made in advance. Heretofore, carowners were able to retrospectively declare their car as off the road, opening up the potential for large-scale motor tax evasion.
An interim period was provided for under the changes, allowing people to finalise their paperwork personally at local Garda stations by the end of September. During this period, carowners whose vehicle was off the road can declare this fact and make a declaration of non-use for the year ahead.
Under the latest changes announced today by Minister for Environment Phil Hogan, those abroad or who are ill can get a friend to bring in the relevant forms, signed by the owner, on their behalf. Proof of their status abroad or illness is required.
Mr Hogan said he was providing for this "additional procedure” because he was aware that an issue had arisen for owners whose cars are currently off the road who are unable to attend a Garda station to have the declaration form witnessed.
The Department has estimated that it was losing up to €50 million a year in motor tax evaded under the old system. Before the new rules were introduced, some 45,000 exemptions a month were being sought.
Welcomed by AA
The new system has been welcomed by AA spokesman Conor Faughnan who said that it was necessary to reduce the number of motorists avoiding road tax.
"The basic principle that if your car does not have to pay road tax if it is not on the road is important and that stays is place. However, up until now it has been far too easy for some people to just ignore the rules and not pay their share.
"Requiring people to declare in advance that their cars will be off the road is much fairer and far less easy to evade. From that point of view this is a welcome development and the closure of a loop hole that should have been closed years ago,” he said.