Cork County Council want motor tax to be payable via savings stamps

Independent councillor June Murphy

By Sean O’Riordan

Financially struggling drivers could get an easier way to pay their motor tax, if Cork County Council is allowed to pilot a scheme similar to TV licence stamps.

The suggestion was made by Independent councillor June Murphy, who won unanimous support from her colleagues.

As a result, the county council is to write to Transport Minister Shane Ross, asking that it be allowed to pilot a scheme for motor-tax savings stamps booklets, at €5 per stamp.

Currently, the payment options that are provided for in the legislation, and on the motor-tax system, are quarterly, half-yearly, or annually.

There is no provision for any other payment frequency or part payments.

Ms Murphy said that people on low incomes are being penalised, because they have to pay considerably more if they purchase motor tax on a quarterly basis, rather than for a full year.

Ms Murphy welcomed a report from Lorraine Lynch, the council’s head of finance, which stated that if a national motor-tax savings stamp scheme is developed by the department, “Cork County Council’s Motor Tax Office will fully engage with developing, testing, and piloting such a scheme”.

However, she pointed out that the council cannot develop a standalone motor-tax payment savings scheme on its own.

Ms Lynch said a savings scheme would need to be integrated with the national motor-tax system operated by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS), including the on-line motor-tax system.

She added that a budget would be required for the development and roll-out of the motor-tax savings stamp scheme and this could not be recouped from the motor-tax customers.

Ms Lynch told councillors that, as of the end of September, online transactions accounted for 78.05% of Cork motor-tax transactions.

Independent councillor Danny Collins said many pensioners, families, and students struggle to pay ever-increasing car insurance, as well as motor tax.

He suggested that the saving stamps could even be sold in post offices, which would provide them with a needed extra service.

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