Phil Hogan T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government, today (26 August 2013) announced an adjustment of the procedures for declaring that vehicles have been off the road for people who are out of the country and cannot get back home in time to finalise the paperwork personally in their local Garda Station by 30 September 2013.
The new arrangements are also available to people who are too ill or have another bona fide reason not to be able to attend at a Garda Station by the deadline.
“After 30 September, you will not be able to make a declaration that a vehicle was off the road at your local Garda Station, as people have been doing up to now”, said Minister Hogan. “This arrangement has made it easy for unscrupulous drivers to evade their motor tax”, he said, “costing around €50m in uncollected tax each year”. Minister Hogan reminded people that from 1 October 2013, “if you want to tax your car, or declare that you want to keep it off the road and not incur a future liability for motor tax, you must pay arrears due”.
Minister Hogan said there is a transition period to the new system which will be fully in place from 1 October 2013 to allow people declare to their motor tax office that they intend to keep their vehicle off the road for a period into the future. “There is a three month transition period from 1 July 2013 to 30 September 2013 during which those whose vehicles have not been on the road can both make a declaration, signed at a Garda Station, that their vehicle was off the road, and make a declaration of non-use for up to a year ahead” he said. “The transition period will also allow those whose vehicle was off the road to make the declaration to this effect at a Garda Station, and pay their motor tax from the current month, without paying any arrears, if that is their preference”, he added.
“Since the introduction, on the 1 July this year, of the new measures provided for in the Non-Use of Motor Vehicles Act 2013, I am aware that an issue has risen for owners of vehicles currently off the road who are unable to attend a Garda Station in person to have the declaration form witnessed,” Minister Hogan said today. “Primarily this relates to owners who are abroad for an extended period or those who are unable to be present at the Garda Station owing to illness,” he continued.
Minister Hogan said that “to ensure that everyone who needs to declare their vehicle is already off the road is facilitated in the transitional period to the 30th September 2013, I have provided for an additional procedure for people caught in this way”.
Minister Hogan also said “it is timely to remind all vehicle owners of the deadline for the transition period to allow you make both declarations, the first that your vehicle has been off the road and the second that it will continue to be off the road. After the 30 September 2013, you will no longer be able to make a declaration witnessed by a Garda that your vehicle was off the road, and owners coming forward with untaxed vehicles after this date will be liable for all motor tax arrears before a new motor tax disc can be issued. Owners in arrears will not be able to make a declaration of future non-use until the arrears and a minimum of three months’ tax are paid in respect of the vehicle”, he added.
“To help minimise exposure to motor tax arrears being payable where a vehicle has been off the road, I would urge vehicle owners in these circumstances to ensure their motor tax affairs are in order by the end of September in relation to the new procedures for the declaration of a vehicle off the road ”, Minister Hogan concluded.
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.
New procedures for persons abroad or too ill to attend at a Garda Station
Where a person will be abroad up to and beyond the end of September 2013, they may now nominate in writing an individual, such as a relative or friend, to bring the relevant forms (RF100A or RF111), signed by the vehicle owner, to a Garda Station on their behalf to be witnessed. The documentation presented at the Garda Station must include sufficient proof that the vehicle owner is abroad and unable to return to Ireland by the end of September 2013. Such documentation would include any one of the following;
· an airline ticket or the relevant travel documentation;
· a copy of the visa allowing entry to the country where the vehicle owner is now resident;
· a copy of the entry visa stamp to the country where the vehicle owner is now resident;
· written confirmation from the person’s employer that he or she is out of the State for work purposes;
· a copy of an employment contract showing that the vehicle owner is based outside the State for purposes of work
The person bringing the documentation to the Garda Station will also need a letter from the vehicle owner to advise the Garda Síochána that he or she will not be returning to the State before 30 September 2013, and a copy of the signature page of his or her passport.
Where a person is unable to attend the Garda Station owing to illness or another bona fide reason, the relevant signed forms (RF100A or RF111) signed by the vehicle owner may be brought to the Garda Station by the vehicle owner’s nominated relative or friend, along with a letter to advise the Garda Síochána that the owner is ill or incapacitated (no need to specify the nature of the illness/incapacity) or otherwise unable to attend at a Garda Síochána Station for a bona fide reason. This will need to be accompanied with documentary evidence—
· in the case of illness or incapacity, a letter from a certified medical practitioner that the vehicle owner is ill or incapacitated (the nature of the illness/incapacity need not be specified) and not in a position to attend a Garda Station in person, or
· in any other case, such other documentary evidence that will satisfy a member of the Garda Síochána at a Garda Station that the vehicle owner is bona fide unable to attend at the station in person.
Once the signature of the vehicle owner on form RF100A or RF111 is witnessed, this, together with Form RF150 signed by the vehicle owner, declaring that it is intended to keep the vehicle off the road, will need to be submitted to the relevant Motor Tax Office by 30 September to allow the off road declarations to be registered.
If the declarations are made during the transition period ending on 30 September, once the person returns from abroad, or if he or she has made the off-road declaration due to illness, once he or she is sufficiently recovered, and wishes to use the vehicle on the public road again, they will not be liable for any arrears and will only have to pay motor tax from the start of the then-current month.