‘Another victory’ in VRT battle

Ryan Stewart (centre) has been leading the campaign against the controversial Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT).
Ryan Stewart (centre) has been leading the campaign against the controversial Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT).

A local campaigner has claimed another “small victory” in the battle against the controversial Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT).

Ryan Stewart, who’s originally from Derry but now living in Carndonagh, has been leading the charge against the Irish Republic’s contentious tax on imported cars.

All motor vehicles in the Republic of Ireland, other than those brought in temporarily by visitors, must be registered with the Irish Revenue Commissioners.

In recent years, a number of people driving Northern Ireland registered cars in County Donegal have had their vehicles seized during a customs crackdown.

Irish tax and customs officials frequently check if people now living in the Republic have properly taxed cars. Ryan Stewart says a newly-issued directive from the European Commission clearly states that, where vehicles not registered in Ireland are loaned to Irish citizens, the Irish government cannot charge the import tax on those vehicles.

Mr. Stewart says the directive also rules that exemptions must be applied as long as the vehicle is not intended for permanent use in the Irish state.

He said: “The Irish government is required to provide statutory reliefs for those who have borrowed a foreign-registered vehicle from someone residing outside Ireland. It is particularly relevant in the border area where family life and social circles are not confined by borders.”

As to the future of VRT, Mr. Stewart says he remains determined to “pick it apart” and make it “impossible to enforce.”

“This is another step on the way to achieving that,” he said. “Working alongside Marian Harkin MEP, we are achieving results, and the State, as well as the Revenue Commissioners, should recognise that this issue is not going away any time soon.” Marian Harkin said: “I commend Ryan on his persistence and determination in this matter and his achievements to date. He’s recognised there are serious issues relating to this tax and has taken action against it.”