Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI) is calling on the Government to see sense and not prosecute operators under old motor tax laws thrown out by the Court of Appeal.
FTAI says the Department of the Environment has effectively reinstated the old laws until new rates come into force on 1 January. The laws were thrown out by the Court of Appeal on 21st October after it found that the requirement for hauliers to weigh a tractor and trailer together in order to assess the level of commercial vehicle motor tax had ‘no statutory basis’.
The Motor Vehicle (Duties and Licences) Act 2015, which has not yet been published, closed the legal loophole identified by the Court of Appeal. The Department of the Environment reacted to the judgment by applying the tax rate for ‘general haulage tractors’ of €333 to artic units.
However, until the new rates of commercial vehicle motor tax come into force on 1 January, Minister Kelly has reinstated the old tax rates which go up to €5,195 for vehicles over 20 tonnes.
Neil McDonnell, General Manager of FTA Ireland, said: “This decision flies in the face of both the logic and spirit of the Court of Appeal decision. Will Gardai be asked to prosecute over an articulated unit taxed at 15 tonnes if it is found in a 16 tonne combination?
“FTA Ireland asks that as an interim measure, the general haulage rate of €333 is continued until the end of the year. We also suggest that the Gardai are not asked to waste their valuable time by prosecuting on the basis of the ‘old’ rates. In view of the explicit nature of the Court of Appeal’s judgment on the matter, it is questionable whether any such prosecution would have a chance of success.”