Tax relief for drivers and passengers with disabilities
The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme provides a range of tax reliefs linked to the purchase and use of specially constructed or adapted vehicles by drivers and passengers with a disability. The rules of the scheme are set out in the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994 (SI 353/1994) as amended. Under the scheme, you can claim:
- Remission or repayment of vehicle registration tax (VRT)
- Repayment of value-added tax (VAT) on the purchase of a vehicle
- Repayment of VAT on the cost of adapting a vehicle
If you qualify for the scheme, you may get some additional exemptions and benefits including:
- An exemption from motor tax on the vehicle. Contact your Motor Tax Office to apply for this, see ‘How to apply’ below.
- An exemption from toll road fees, see ‘How to apply’ below.
- The fuel grant, see ‘Rates’ below.
The qualifying person
To qualify for tax relief under the scheme, the person with a disability must have a valid Primary Medical Certificate. A Primary Medical Certificate confirms you are severely and permanently disabled and:
- Are completely or almost completely without the use of both legs or
- Are completely without the use of one of your legs and almost completely without the use of the other leg to the extent that you are severely restricted as regards movement in your legs or
- Are without both hands or both arms or
- Are without one or both legs or
- Are completely or almost completely without the use of both hands or arms and completely or almost completely without the use of one leg or
- Have the medical condition of dwarfism and serious difficulties of movement of the legs
Local Health Offices of the Health Service Executive (HSE) process applications for a Primary Medical Certificate. If the HSE refuses your application for a Primary Medical Certificate, you can appeal the refusal to the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Rochestown Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.
The type of vehicle
If you are a driver or a passenger with a disability you can claim tax relief on:
- A new vehicle
- A used vehicle that has not been previously registered in the State
You can also buy a previously registered used vehicle, in which case the amount of the repayment will be the residual VAT contained in the value of the vehicle. However, the majority of used vehicles purchased from a dealer are purchased under the Margin Scheme. This means that no VAT is due when the vehicle is purchased and therefore no VAT is refundable.
If you bought the vehicle before you qualified as a disabled driver or disabled passenger, a repayment of VAT and VRT, appropriate to the market value of the vehicle at the time of entry to the scheme, will be made.
If you are a passenger with disabilities and you buy a used vehicle that has previously qualified for tax relief under the scheme for transporting disabled passengers and where the original adaptions remain in place when you buy it, it is eligible for the scheme.
To qualify for the tax relief the vehicle’s engine must be less than 6,000cc.
You do not have to purchase your vehicle from an authorised motor dealer, and you can use a hire purchase agreement to pay for the vehicle and still qualify for the tax relief.
A family member of a disabled passenger can also qualify for relief if they are living with and responsible for the transport of the disabled person in question and have got the vehicle for that purpose.
If the disabled person only stays with a family member on a part-time basis, the residency requirement is not met. However, if the disabled person is a minor who is in residential or medical care on a part-time or occasional basis and spends a significant part of their time at home, for example, every weekend and holidays, the residency requirement may be met. The Revenue Commissioners can waive the residency requirement in exceptional circumstances.
You should contact the Central Repayments Office to make sure that you meet the residency requirements for relief under the scheme before purchasing a vehicle.
Restrictions on disposal of the vehicle
"Disposal" means the sale of the vehicle, the gift of the vehicle to another person and the hiring or renting of the vehicle. The vehicle must not be disposed of for at least 2 years from the date the relief is granted. You must keep the vehicle for 3 years for a specifically adapted vehicle and 6 years for an extensively adapted vehicle.
You will only be allowed to dispose of the vehicle within the retention period if you refund the Revenue Commissioners a substantial portion of the relief given. This is calculated by looking at the value of the vehicle at the time of disposal.
If the vehicle is disposed of following damage in an accident, the damage will be taken into account in calculating the value of the vehicle at the time of disposal.
Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme
The maximum amount of VRT and VAT relief available under the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme depends on whether you are a disabled driver or passenger and how the car has been adapted. The maximum amounts are:
- Disabled drivers: €10,000
- Disabled passengers: €16,000
- Specifically adapted vehicles for drivers with severe disabilities: €16,000 (Specifically adapted vehicles are vehicles that need significant adaptations)
- Extensively adapted vehicles for drivers and passengers: €22,000 (Extensively adapted vehicles are vehicles that need adaptations that cost more than the open market selling price of the vehicle being adapted)
If you qualify for tax relief under the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme, you also qualify for the fuel grant. The fuel grant is paid per litre, up to a maximum of 2,730 litres per calendar year. The rate per litre is:
- Petrol – €0.59
- Diesel – €0.48
- LPG – €0.10
How to apply
Download and complete Form DD1 (pdf). This application form is also available from the Central Repayments Office.
Applying for remission of VRT
You need to send the following documents to the Central Repayments Office
- Form DD1
- The original Primary Medical Certificate if you are claiming for the first time. You must apply to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for an application form for a Primary Medical Certificate – obtain an application form from your Local Health Office in the HSE. Complete the application form and return it to the Senior Medical Officer of the Local Health Office. You will then receive an appointment for an assessment of the level of your disability. If you satisfy the requirements, you are granted a Primary Medical Certificate by the HSE.
If your application for remission of VRT is acceptable, you will be sent a Letter of Authorisation which authorises you to purchase a vehicle. When you have chosen the vehicle, the vehicle identification number (VIN) must be submitted to the Central Repayments Office on the form issued to you with the Letter of Authorisation. You will be issued with an Exemption Notification that allows the vehicle to be registered exempt of VRT at the NCTS centre.
When you have bought the vehicle, you must get the following documents
- An original invoice from the dealer showing the full purchase particulars of the vehicle and verifying that this has been paid
- An original invoice from the person who adapted the vehicle, showing that payment has been made in full. The invoice must show full details of the adaptations to the vehicle and the VAT charged.
- A new vehicle that is adapted requires an Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) certificate from the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI)
To register the vehicle at the NCTS centre the dealer must submit these documents, along with the Letter of Authorisation, the Exemption Notification and the completed Form DD1. If the documentation is in order, the NCTS will register the vehicle without charging VRT.
When the vehicle is registered, to get a repayment of the VAT the dealer should submit the Letter of Authorisation, the Exemption Notification and the invoices mentioned above to the Central Repayments Office.
Applying for repayment of VRT and VAT
If VRT has not been remitted and you want to claim repayment of VRT and VAT, you need to submit the following documents to the Central Repayments Office.
- A fully completed Application Form DD1
- The original Primary Medical Certificate if you are claiming for the first time.
- An original invoice from the dealer showing the full purchase particulars of the vehicle and VAT charged and showing that payment of the amount due has been made in full
- An original invoice from the person who adapted the vehicle, indicating that payment has been made in full. This invoice should set out the full details of the adaptations and the VAT charged.
- The vehicle's Vehicle Registration Certificate.
If the vehicle has been registered before, there is no need to go through the usual change of ownership procedure as this will automatically happen when the vehicle is taxed exempt at the Motor Tax Office.
If your claim is accepted you are issued with a Certificate of Approval by the Central Repayments Office which you should submit to your local Motor Tax Office. You will be issued with a new Vehicle Registration Certificate which you should send to the Central Repayments Office where it will be endorsed to the effect that the vehicle was purchased under the Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme and cannot be disposed of for two years. This certificate will be returned to you immediately.
If the vehicle has previously qualified for tax relief under the scheme, the maximum amount of tax relief that can be claimed for the vehicle will probably have already been claimed. However, you should still submit form DD1 with all the required documentation as listed above.
Applying for exemption from motor tax
If your vehicle is being registered in Ireland for the first time, you need to present your Vehicle Registration Certificate to your local Motor Taxation Office.
If your vehicle was previously registered in Ireland before you entered the scheme, you will be given a Certificate of Approval by the Central Repayments Office, which you should present at your Motor Taxation Office.
Applying for the fuel grant
If you qualify for the scheme you are also eligible for a fuel grant, which is paid 12 months in arrears. You should keep your fuel receipts for 2 years, but do not have to submit them when you apply for the fuel grant. You have to estimate the percentage of the fuel that is used for your own transport or the transport of a disabled passenger.
You can claim your fuel grant by using Revenue's online service myAccount. To register on myAccount you need your PPS number, mobile or landline number, email address and home address. If you do not have internet access you can contact the Revenue Commissioners, Forms & Leaflets Section on 1890 306 706 and request a paper form.
The fuel grant is paid directly into your bank account so you have to provide details of the account you want to be paid into.
Applying for a toll road exemption
Vehicles adapted for disabled drivers or passengers are entitled to an exemption from toll fees. Some toll road operators issue special passes which are recognised by all other toll road operators and which allow these vehicles pass through the tolls without paying. To get a special pass you should contact the toll road operators to find one that issues the passes, and then apply to them for one. However, you can also get this exemption without a pass, by going to a manned toll booth every time you’re on a tolled road, and showing them your tax disc to confirm your exemption. Transport Infrastructure Ireland is currently reviewing the process for getting a pass.
Where to apply
You can find further information on the tax relief scheme (pdf) on the revenue.ie.