New grant for disabled drivers after petrol relief ends

DISABLED drivers are going to lose their tax relief on petrol – but gain a new grant instead.

Due to an EU ruling, the Government has to scrap the existing scheme which is used by 11,000 disabled drivers and costs €7m.

The scheme gives relief from vehicle registration tax, VAT, motor tax and excise on cars adapted for disabled drivers and passengers.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan will abolish the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers scheme at the end of the year.

But it will be replaced by a new Fuel Grant Scheme of equal value. The move follows a ruling by the European Court of Justice in April 2013.

Mr Noonan will announce the end of the scheme today. The minister will promise a “seamless transition” between the two schemes.

He will also assure disabled drivers they will not lose out.

The existing scheme is open to people with disabilities who meet the specified criteria and have obtained a medical certificate to that effect.

The scheme provides relief from VAT and VRT, up to a certain limit, on the purchase of a car adapted for the transport of a person with specific severe and permanent physical disabilities.

Exemptions from annual motor tax and a relief from excise on the fuel used in the car are also provided.

But in April last year, the European Court of Justice ruled that the excise relief component of the scheme was “incompatible” with the EU Energy Tax Directive and therefore had to be ended.

The current cost of the excise relief scheme is €7.7m.

The amount claimed back by individual drivers varies, but there were 11,039 claims last year.

Article by Fionnan Sheahan,