Motor tax loophole closes today



New legislation to end motor tax evasion, which costs the State more than €54 million a year, comes into force today (Monday, July 1st).

The crux of the legislation is that motorists who do not have up-to-date tax discs will no longer be able to claim their vehicle was off the road.

Up until now, motorists with untaxed cars could submit a non-use declaration at a Garda station. The signature of the declaration had to be witnessed by a garda, but no other documentary evidence was required.

The old system was open to abuse as motorists could drive after their tax had lapsed and explain the gap by declaring their vehicle was off the road.

From today onwards, anyone intending to take their car off the road must make a submission in advance to the motor tax office. Motorists can make a submission that their car will be off the road for between three and twelve months in a calendar year. Those making a false declaration face fines of up to €4,000 or six months in prison.

“There are many valid reasons why people may wish to put their car off the road for a while, such as working abroad for a time, and they will be facilitated, so long as they let their motor tax office know in advance,” Environment Minister Phil Hogan told The Irish Times. “We are targeting those who evade paying their motor tax.

“Compliant tax payers should welcome this move – up to €55m per annum is not collected currently through tax evaders taking a holiday from paying their motor tax.”