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.
How your vehicle is assessed for motor tax depends on the type of vehicle you have. For example, it is assessed on the basis of:
- CO2 emission bands for private cars registered since July 2008, and private cars registered between January and June 2008 which opted for this type of assessment. (This does not apply to second-hand imports that were registered abroad prior to 2008)
- Engine capacity (cc) for private cars registered before July 2008 and private goods vehicles, such as vans
- Unladen weight for commercial goods vehicles (unladen weight is the weight of a vehicle when it isn’t carrying a load)
A third rate of Motor Tax is being introduced for cars registered from 1 January 2021 to take account of the introduction of the ‘Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Testing Procedure’ (WLTP). Minor changes will apply to the existing rates table for cars taxed on CO2 emissions (cars first registered between July 2008 and end 2020). Pre-2008 cars, which do not have CO2 emissions information, will continue to be taxed according to engine size. There are no changes to the rates table for these cars.
Not only are you obliged by law to pay motor tax to drive your vehicle, you must also display evidence that you have paid (that is, 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.
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. Among the vehicles exempt from the requirement to pay motor tax are:
- Vehicles exempted under the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations, 1994 (SI 353/1994)
- Vehicles which are less than 400kg in weight (unladen) and are adapted and used by people with disabilities. (This includes any cycle with an attachment for propelling it by mechanical power.)
Since January 2016, the rate of motor tax is reduced for all commercial goods vehicles above 4,000kgs. The annual rate for a vehicle between 4,000kg and 12,000kg is €500 and €900 for vehicles over 12,000kg.
Change of vehicle ownership and motor tax
If you sell your vehicle or trade it in for a replacement, you must register the change of ownership. You cannot tax your new vehicle until the change of ownership has been registered. 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 in ‘How to apply’ below. If the motor tax on your new vehicle has already expired, you are not liable for the arrears due from the expiry of the last tax disc to the end of the month immediately before 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.
Replacing a lost tax disc
You can get replacement motor tax and other vehicle documents. A list of documents and the cost of their replacement is as follows:
|Vehicle licensing certificate||€12|
Complete Form RF134 (pdf) to get replacement documents and have the form witnessed by a member of the Garda Síochána at a Garda station. Forward your completed form with the appropriate fee to your Motor Tax Office.
Refunds of motor tax
It is possible in certain circumstances to claim a refund of motor tax. Your application for a refund should be made directly to your local Motor Tax Office on Form RF120 (pdf). You can claim a refund of motor tax if:
- The vehicle has been scrapped, destroyed or sent permanently out of the State
- The vehicle has been stolen and has not been recovered by the owner
- The vehicle has not been taken out or used in a public place at any time since the issue of the current disc
- The owner of the vehicle has stopped using the vehicle because of illness, injury or other physical disability
- The owner of the vehicle has stopped using the vehicle because they are absent from the country for business or educational purposes
- The owner of the vehicle has stopped using the vehicle because of service overseas with the Defence Forces
Tax discs must be surrendered immediately as refunds are generally calculated from the first of the month after the disc is surrendered. A minimum of three unexpired whole calendar 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.
Vehicle off the road
If your vehicle is temporarily off the road, you do not have to pay motor tax for that period. You must declare in advance that your vehicle will be off the road and not in use for a period of between 3 and 12 months. To do this, you must complete a Declaration of Non-Use of a Motor Vehicle Form RF150 (pdf), and submit it 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.
Changing a vehicle’s use
If you wish to change a vehicle’s use from commercial use to private use or vice versa, you should contact your local Motor Tax Office to see if they will accept your vehicle’s change of classification and find out what documentation they require. Changing the classification of the vehicle may also change the amount of motor tax you need to pay. You should contact your local Motor Tax Office for information on this.
If your vehicle is kept and used exclusively on an offshore island, it can be taxed at a reduced rate. Island vehicles cannot be taxed online, they can only be taxed by your local Motor Tax Office. You should contact your local authority for more information including details of the documents you will need to do this.
A motor tax disc is issued for 3, 6 or 12 months and how the rate is calculated depends on the type of vehicle.
Motor tax applies to the following vehicles:
- Private cars
- Goods vehicles
- Public service vehicles
- Community buses
- Agricultural vehicles
- Commercial building construction vehicles
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 or vehicle registration certificate must clearly display the age of the vehicle.
When you purchase a 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.
How to apply
You can tax a vehicle online, by post or by visiting a Motor Taxation Office in the county where the vehicle is ordinarily kept.
Taxing a new vehicle
You can tax a new vehicle online or at your local Motor Taxation Office. To apply online see the section on ‘Taxing your vehicle online’ below.
If you are applying to your local Motor Taxation Office 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:
- Form RF100
- Appropriate fee
A certificate of approval from Revenue 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.
Goods or commercial vehicles
There are additional requirements when taxing a goods or 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:
- Current commercial insurance certificate for the vehicle
- Evidence of registration for VAT
- Tax Clearance Certificate
- Notice of Tax Registration Form
If you are an employee and you use your vehicle solely for the carriage of goods in the course of your employment, you will need 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 (for example, 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:
- PSV licence in the case of small and large public service vehicles
- Article 60 licence for school buses
- A certificate of roadworthiness/pass statement issued by an authorised tester for large public service vehicles and ambulances that are 1 year old or over
- A recovery vehicle declaration Form RF111B (from Motor Tax Office) for recovery vehicles
Renewing your motor tax
You can renew your motor tax up to 1 month before your tax is due to expire. You can renew online, by post, or in person at your local Motor Taxation Office. To apply online see the section on ‘Taxing your vehicle online’ below.
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.
- To renew your motor tax where there is no change in owner or vehicle details (for example, name, address, or engine size) you can complete Form RF100B (computerised reminder form) or Form RF100A
- To renew your motor tax where there is a change in owner details (for example, name) you must use Form RF100A
- To renew your motor tax where there is a change in vehicle details (for example, engine size) you must use Change of Particulars Form RF111 (pdf)
The appropriate fee must be submitted with your renewal form. A certificate of approval from Revenue for a disabled driver or passenger is also required if the vehicle is exempted from motor tax.
Goods and other vehicles
There are additional requirements for goods and other vehicles when renewing your motor tax:
- A certificate of roadworthiness (CRW) issued by an authorised tester for all goods vehicles, buses, coaches and ambulances that are 1 year old or over
- A PSV licence for small and large public service vehicles
- Article 60 licence for school buses
Taxing your vehicle online
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 your 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 or 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.
Applying for a refund of motor tax
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 facility as evidence of this. Your completed application form should be returned to your Motor Tax Office who will process your application.
Where to apply
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: