'Grave concerns' over plans to tax distance people drive

'Grave concerns' over plans to tax distance people drive

By Sarah Slater

A motoring chief has “grave concerns” over plans to impose a tax on the distance people drive.

The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) has said, that while it is a model that is used successfully across the EU, Ireland does not have the motoring or financial infrastructures to support it.

Verona Murphy, IRHA President made her remarks as it was recently revealed that it is one of the options being considered by the government to maintain tax revenue, as lower-emission cars become more popular.

It is believed by the government that it needs to move away from relying on excise levied on diesel and petrol.

Ms Murphy said: “So far we have not been consulted with by any government officials on this matter and we would be very disappointed and would have grave concerns if we weren’t listened to.

“We are a very small cohort of people but hauliers are very important when it comes to taxes and revenue. As an organisation we are very far away from agreeing anything with them (government).

“At the moment the IRHA is in the middle of preparing submissions regarding taxation proposals for the forthcoming Budget and they have to be ready by the start to the middle of this month.

Negotiations will then have to take place so any such plans and any implementation is a long way off.[/url]

Ms Murphy pointed out that members of the Association work as, “commercial entities who have to remain competitive with other international hauliers. Ireland is already at a disadvantage as it is an island and costs are higher.

“We are already paying a lot of transport taxes and this will (proposed) tax will mean us essentially being taxed twice. This then will inevitably mean, the consumer will be hit in their pocket also, as we will have to pass on the associated costs to them.”

The idea of charging for road usage based on distance travelled has been proposed at EU level and is already in place for trucks in a number of member states such as Belgium and France.

Department of Finance officials are warning the move to more efficient cars may drastically affect the revenue generated for the exchequer.

Overall, environmental taxes in Ireland are projected to yield €3.55 billion this year. Excise rates on petrol and diesel have remained the same since 2012, with 58.7 cent excise and a 4.6 carbon charge on a litre of petrol. Diesel rates are 47.9 cent and 5.3 cent.


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