It is a legal requirement to have motor tax if you want to drive your vehicle in a public place. Motor tax is a charge imposed by the Government on some motor vehicles. Motor tax is collected by local authorities.
The amount of motor tax you pay for a vehicle registered before July 2008 is proportionate to the size of your vehicle's engine - in other words, the more powerful your vehicle, the higher the cost of your motor tax. For new cars registered since July 2008, motor tax charges are determined on the basis of CO2 emission bands with lower emissions resulting in lower charges.
New cars registered between January 2008 and June 2008 had their motor tax charged on the basis of engine size initially. If it was beneficial for those cars to switch to the CO2 based motor tax system, this happened on the first renewal of motor tax after June 2008. The CO2 based system does not apply to second-hand imports that were registered abroad prior to 2008.
Not only are you obliged by law to pay motor tax to drive your vehicle, you are also required to display evidence that you have paid (i.e., a current tax disc) on the windscreen of your vehicle. Failure to display a current tax disc on your vehicle is considered a motoring offence and will result in a €60 fixed-charge fine issued by a traffic warden or a Garda.
It's important to be aware that certain vehicles are exempt from the requirement to pay motor tax. However, if they are used in a public place a current tax disc must be displayed. The following vehicles are exempt from the requirement to pay motor tax:
From January 2016, the rate of motor tax is reduced for all vehicles above 4,000kgs, with a new annual rate of €500 for vehicle between 4,000kgs and 12,000kgs and €900 for vehicles over 12,000kgs.
If you sell your vehicle or trade it in for a replacement, you must register the change of ownership. This is done in one of two ways and depends on whether the vehicle was first registered before or after 1 January 1993. You cannot tax your new vehicle until the registration of the change of ownership has gone through. You can check the status of the vehicle on motortax.ie.
You then renew the motor tax on the vehicle using Form RF100A or online as described below. If the motor tax on your new vehicle has already expired, you are not liable for the arrears period from the expiry of the last tax disc to the end of the month immediately preceding the date you bought it.
It is an offence to drive without paying motor tax, so you should not drive until you have received confirmation that the registration has occurred and you have paid the motor tax. Read more in our document on change of vehicle ownership.
It is possible to obtain replacement documents associated with motor tax. List of documents and the cost of their replacement is as follows;
|Vehicle licensing certificate||€12|
To obtain replacement documents, complete form RF134 (pdf) and have this form witnessed by a member of the Garda Siochana at a Garda station. Forward your completed form with the appropriate fee to your Motor Tax Office.
It is possible in certain circumstances, to claim a refund of motor tax. Your application for a refund, should be made directly to you local motor tax office, on Form RF120 (pdf). Circumstances where you may claim a refund of motor tax include;
Tax discs must be surrendered immediately as refunds are generally calculated from the first of the month following the surrender of the disc. A minimum of three unexpired whole calender months must be left on the disc when surrendered. Where a vehicle has been scrapped you will need a certificate of destruction issued by an End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) Authorised Treatment Facility.
New procedures have been introduced for declaring a vehicle is temporarily off the road so that you do not have to pay motor tax for that period. Since 1 October 2013 you are required to declare in advance that your vehicle will be off the road and not in use for a period of between 3 and 12 months using Declaration of Non-Use of a Motor Vehicle Form RF150 (pdf), which you submit to your motor tax office. The declaration of non-use must be made in the same month that your current motor tax disc expires. If arrears in motor tax are due these must be paid in full and you must also pay a minimum of 3 months motor tax, before a declaration of non-use can be made.
Failure to tax your vehicle and/or display a current tax disc is a serious offence and you are liable to receive a fine and/or face prosecution if you do not comply.
A motor tax disc is issued for 3, 6 or 12 months and the rate is calculated by either engine size or CO2 emissions.
Motor tax applies to the following vehicles: private cars, motorcycles, goods vehicles, taxis, large public service vehicles, (PSV's)/community buses and agricultural, and commerical building construction vehicles. On the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government's website you can view the motor tax rates. Motor tax rates are also available at motortax.ie.
On the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Power of One website you can check the CO2 emissions levels for different car models.
A 'vintage' vehicle for motor taxation purposes is a vehicle that is 30 or more years old. In determining whether or not the vehicle qualifies for 'vintage' status - the chassis number of the vehicle and the vehicle registration book/vehicle registration certificate must clearly display the age of the vehicle.
Regarding the purchase of new or second-hand vehicles, there is no charge for registering Change of Ownership details at Motor Taxation Offices or at the Vehicle Registration Unit.
You can tax a vehicle online, or by post or visit to a Motor Taxation Office in the county in which the vehicle is ordinarily kept.
If your vehicle is new, you need a 'First Motor Tax Application' Form RF100. This is available from the motor dealer or person from whom you bought your vehicle. When you are applying for first motor tax, you must present the following documents at your local Motor Taxation Office:
A certificate of approval from the Revenue Commissioners for a disabled driver/passenger is also required if the vehicle is exempted from motor tax under the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations.
You can also tax a new vehicle online. (see below)
There are additional requirements when taxing a goods/commercial vehicle. If the unladen weight exceeds 1,524 kg (3,500 kg Gross Vehicle Weight), a weight docket (from an authorised weighbridge) is required.
If the unladen weight does not exceed 1,524 kg (3,500 kg Gross Vehicle Weight), a goods declaration form RF111A (pdf) (from Motor Tax Office) is required. This must be witnessed in a Garda station.
Additional proof that the vehicle is being appropriately taxed may be required, such as:
If you are an employee and you use your vehicle solely for the carriage of goods in the course of your employment, you will require a letter from your employer to that effect. The letter should also provide information about your employer, such as, the nature of the business and its Tax Registration Number.
If the vehicle is one year old or over (e.g. imported) a certificate of roadworthiness/pass statement (from an authorised tester) is required. If the vehicle is imported, a weight docket (from an authorised weighbridge) is required.
Other vehicles have additional requirements as follows:
You can renew your motor tax up to 1 month before your tax is due to expire. In general, two forms are available for the purpose of renewing motor tax - Motor Tax Renewal Form RF100A (pdf) and Motor Tax Renewal Form RF100B. The only difference between these two forms is that the RF100B is a computer-printed form which is automatically posted to you about a month before your tax is due to expire, while the RF100A is available from your Motor Taxation Offices, Public Libraries and Garda stations.
Not everyone receives a form in the post, so it is up to you to keep check of when your tax expires. The completed form should be returned to your local Motor Taxation Office in person or by post. (See 'Taxing your vehicle online' below.) If you apply in person you will receive your new tax disc there and then. If you make a postal application, you should allow up to 3 weeks to receive your new disc.
The appropriate fee must be submitted with your renewal form. A certificate of approval from the Revenue Commissioners for a disabled driver/passenger is also required if the vehicle is exempted from motor tax.
There are additional requirements for goods and other vehicles when renewing your motor tax:
At motortax.ie you can tax a new vehicle or renew your motor tax online. When taxing a new vehicle you need Form RF100 (available from you motor dealer). When renewing your motor tax you need Form RF100B (computerised reminder form). You can renew the motor tax on a second-hand vehicle you have recently purchased, but you must be the registered owner of the vehicle (see document on change of vehicle ownership).
You need your insurance details and a debit or credit card for paying the tax. Only the following types of vehicles can be taxed online; private cars, motorcycles, agricultural tractors, excavators/diggers, combine harvesters, hearses, vehicles adapted for use by disabled persons, motor caravans (not for first taxing) and vintage/veteran vehicles.
You can renew motor tax for a goods/commercial vehicle online providing you have a certificate of roadworthiness which is valid from the beginning of the new motor tax period. If the unladen weight does not exceed 1,524 kg (3,500 kg Gross Vehicle Weight) you must have submitted goods declaration form RF111A to your local motor tax office.
To apply for a refund of motor tax, you need to download and complete form RF120 (pdf). Your completed application form should include the current tax disc and the Vehicle Licensing/Registration Certificate or Registration Book. If you are claiming a refund on the basis of an illness or injury, you should include a medical certificate from your doctor or health professional. If you are claiming a refund on the basis of an absence from the State for business or educational purposes, you should have a letter from your employer or educational facilitity as evidence of this. Your completed application form should be returned to your Motor Tax office who will process your application.
Pay your motor tax online at www.motortax.ie.
Alternatively, contact the Motor Taxation Office of your local authority for more information and to pay your motor tax. Contact information for all local authorities in Ireland is listed in your public telephone directory.
The Vehicle Registration Unit at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has responsibility for the registration of vehicle ownership. Contact them as follows:
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Shannon Town Centre
Tel:0818 411 412
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.