Council slams tax rules for vehicles returned to use
New motor tax regulations covering vehicles which are off the road and returned to use were slammed by all sides of the chamber at the July meeting of Wexford County Council.
The Department of the Environment now insists that back tax must be paid as it will no longer accept retrospective declarations that vehicles have been out of service.
Instead, owners will be obliged to indicate beforehand that they do not intend to take their car or lorry out on to the public road if they wish to avoid the tax.
The issue was raised by Cllr Denis Kennedy, concerned that hauliers would be caught out by the revised tax regime.
He felt that they should be permitted to continue the practice of allowing the tax to lapse on vehicles in their fleet during the winter.
However, they should not then be hit with a back tax bill if a boat comes into Bellevue harbour and some unexpected work comes their way.
'I would be inclined to agree,' was the response of acting county manager Adrian Doyle. 'It does not make sense to me.'
Cllr Tony Dempsey (FF) was worried that haulage firms which are barely surviving would be driven out of business by such impositions.
'The most stupid legislation I have seen so far,' was the verdict of Cllr Larry O'Brien, who has extensive haulage experience.
'If you are two months in hospital, the last thing you are worried about is the car.'
The irate Fine Gael man also pointed out that a vehicle could be on public show for sale in a garage and patently out of circulation yet still subject to the stern back tax requirements.
And he wondered about the situation of someone who goes to Australia leaving a vehicle parked up back home.
Cllr Malcolm Byrne (FF) said that truck owners are already paying large sums in tax, more than €3,000 per year per vehicle in some cases.
Council financial director Annette O'Neill said the department was adamant that a loophole was being abused and needed to be fixed.
She confirmed that no exceptions are being allowed – not to emigrants, not to the estates of deceased persons, not to hauliers who happen upon unexpected work and not to anyone who falls ill.
'The truckers of this country are being kicked left, right and centre,' said Cllr Robbie Ireton.