Families win challenge on driver taxback scheme

The families of two disabled children have won a Supreme Court appeal challenging a refusal to allow them avail of a tax rebate scheme for specially adapted cars.
Families win challenge on driver taxback scheme

The families of two disabled children have won a Supreme Court appeal challenging a refusal to allow them avail of a tax rebate scheme for specially adapted cars.

Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley, on behalf of a five-judge Supreme Court, quashed the refusal of the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal to grant a medical certificate permitting the parents of the two children to avail of a scheme which allows the severely disabled or their guardians Vat and VRT back on the purchase of a specially adapted vehicle or Vat back on the cost of adapting a vehicle.

She granted a declaration that in applying criteria set out in the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994, the board of appeal, the minister for finance and the State failed to vindicate their rights under the 1989 Finance Act which allows the minister make such regulations.

The families had challenged the appeal board's original decision in the High Court and lost. They appealed to the Court of Appeal and again lost.

They got permission to bring a further appeal to the Supreme Court which unanimously allowed the appeal yesterday.

The two children involved, from separate families, were two and 17 years of age when the High Court challenges were brought in 2018.

The first, a girl, suffers from a number of conditions which mean she needs specialised equipment to walk or otherwise will require a wheelchair. She also needs specialised toileting equipment and, having outgrown public bathroom facilities she would have to lie down on the toilet floor. The parents need a special vehicle so they can change her in it.

The second, a boy, has a genetic condition and can only walk short distances. He is prone to falling and his parents have been advised by physiotherapists that it is not safe for him to walk outdoors. He uses a wheelchair much of the time.

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