There was fury from local politicians this week after a clampdown on the taxing of commercial vehicles which will see tradesmen who use their vehicles for social or domestic purposes face an additional fee of €900 when taxing their vehicles.
The issue was raised this week by local TD Deputy Denis Naughten. “In recent days, I have had numerous phone calls from people who tried to tax their jeep, only to be told that the cost has gone from €288 to €1,204 because of a directive issued by the Department of the Environment,” explained Denis Naughten.
“Many owners of commercial jeeps are not aware that they now have to prove that a vehicle is only used for commercial purposes and not used at all for social, domestic or pleasure purposes. While this declaration was always required for light commercial vehicles, it now seems that there will be a tightening of these rules and that the declaration will also be required for jeeps.
“With this clampdown, for example, an elderly farmer with a jeep or van who uses it to go to bingo or Mass on a Sunday will now have to pay four times more for their motor tax than was the case to date.
“If this anomaly existed why was it not addressed during the boom when people could afford to change their jeep instead of waiting until the middle of the recession? This overnight change is causing chaos and hardship to people who had not planned for such costs, especially as many families are struggling to meet the enormous costs of going back to school,” concluded Denis Naughten.
Deputy Frank Feighan said it was an example of how the Green Party has lost touch with reality. “John Gormley should take his head out of the sand and realise what he is doing. His plan seems to suggest that Gardaí will be asked to police church car parks, school yards, shopping centres and sports clubs to find commercial vehicles being used outside the workplace – what a joke!
“Are we effectively saying that plumbers, electricians, gardeners and salespeople need to purchase a second vehicle for all non-work related journeys, hardly realistic and hardly good green policy? If enforced, this new approach could have a massive negative impact on tradespeople at a time when they are on the floor anyway, in the depths of recession.
Condemning the move, Loughglynn-based councillor Michael Creaton said this overnight change will cause real hardship for a lot of people who are already struggling to survive. “Many families with high mortgages and little or no work have sold their car and held onto their van or 4x4 so that they would be in a position to avail of whatever work came along. Under the law one’s VAT number has to be given to avail of commercial tax, but most workers and tradesmen never register for VAT as they are only employed by larger contractors.”
“Farmers and small businesses will also be hard hit by this measure as this will come on top of the introduction of the carbon tax. To think a person could be forced to pay a big fine for dropping a son or daughter off at school as a farmer or tradesman went to work is madness. They talk on one hand of saving fuel and our carbon footprint, yet this would mean two journeys where one would cover the lot. This measure will also decimate the motor trade as 4x4 vans will now be greatly reduced in value. It is further evidence of how far this Government is removed from the ordinary people of Ireland and how desperate they are for revenue as they don’t seem to care who suffers as long as they can get their hands on your money.”