On October 21, the Court of Appeal ruled that a truck’s trailer is not a separate taxable unit, following a case between the Director of Public Prosecutions and Perennial Freight.
Perennial had appealed against prosecution for ‘undertaxation’ of an articulated truck.
However, while new rates are set to be introduced in January following last month’s budget, the Freight Transport Association of Ireland has called on Environment Minister Alan Kelly to inform tax offices across the country of the ruling and to change the amount charged for tax accordingly until then.
A Department spokesman told the Irish Examiner it is “looking at a possible urgent legislative change to deal with this matter”.
However, FTAI general manager Neil McDonnell said hundreds of his members’ trucks are due to renew their tax between now and the end of the year, and that confusion is widespread as hauliers are being charged the same rates as were levied prior to the court’s decision.
“We’re disappointed the Department of the Environment has not moved this issue on,” Mr McDonnell said.
“We briefed colleagues in Government after the Perennial case was heard in the Court of Appeal on 25th June.
“It was obvious that the Court was sympathetic to our member’s case. This should have been clear to the DPP as well.
“We were surprised to learn there was no contingency plan for a ruling against the Department. Members continue to advise us of confusion in local tax offices when they present their motor tax documentation.
“For the sake of our members, and the staff in motor tax offices nationwide, we hope the department will clear this issue up quickly.”
In his ruling on the case, Mr Justice Michael Peart said there is a need for the Oireachtas to address the uncertainty surrounding the matter.
“If it is indeed the view of the Oireachtas that the owners of such tractors should pay an excise duty based on the weight of a trailer being hauled by the tractor, then new legislation will be required to make that intention clear and to put in place the necessary scheme so that what is required is clear,” Mr Justice Peart’s judgment read.