100,000 declare vehicles off the road

More than 100,000 motorists have declared their vehicles as “off the road” since the introduction of new legislation in July to close a loophole for motor tax evasion.

The Department of Environment said 103,380 declarations of non-use had been made up to Oct 16 since the changes were implemented.

It has led to a bumper increase in revenue for the exchequer, with motor tax receipts in September up by 30.5% at €97.5m compared with €74.7m in the same month last year. However, the rise is partially explained by a 10% increase in motor tax fees in last year’s budget.

It comes as Dublin City Council announced yesterday that three motor tax offices in the city will temporarily close next week in order to cope with a backlog of “off the road” declarations. The council’s motor tax offices in Smithfield, Ballymun, and Clondalkin will close on Nov 11-15 because of the high number of non-use declarations combined with motor tax applications and driving licence applications which have been switched to the new National Driving Licence Service since Oct 29.

A spokesperson for Dublin City Council said it had to process around 9,000 motor tax and off-the road applications plus around 3,000 driving licence applications received before the recent deadline. She claimed recent changes regarding both non-use declaration and the driving licence system had caused a spike in applications from customers. However, the council stressed motorists could still pay their motor tax online or by post during the temporary closure of its offices.

Figures supplied by the Department of Environment show that the number of “off the road” declarations also peaked in September with almost 58,700 applications received that month. A total of 26,748 applications were also received in the first two weeks of October.

The total number of vehicles declared “off the road” since the introduction of the new legislation on July 1 represents about 4.2% of all vehicles with a current status on the national vehicle and driver file. The Government has estimated it will achieve annual savings of €55m as a result of the closure of the loophole regarding “off the road” vehicles.

New procedures came into effect on July 1 which removed the ability of motorist to make declarations retrospectively, a measure which allowed owners of vehicles to avoid payments of arrears on motor tax.


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