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Jan 20

To tax, or not to tax. That is the question.

Posted on Friday, January 20, 2012 in Family, Strange and Unusual

So this first-born of mine… Laughingboy, you all know him by now maybe, but if you don’t, let me fill you in.

He was diagnosed with Otahara Syndrome at the tender age of three months. It’s a seizure condition that affects wee small babies but given that he’s now ten years old, his diagnosis has morphed into a very vague ‘Controlled Seizure Disorder with Global Developmental Delay’. We’re entirely lucky to still have him. He lights us up. He’s my dude, and my God.

He can’t do stuff for himself. He needs a wheelchair. He can’t sit on the couch with us and watch The Simpsons because he has no head-support and would fall over. He’s a whopping 33.5kg child who hasn’t progressed beyond the development of a three-month-old baby, but he is his own person who loves Drum and Bass and who is slowly appreciating a love for R&B against all my wishes.

So he needs a mode of transport, right?

We had one, but he grew out of it. We bought it for €13,000. We had means, at the time.

Our panic to find a new vehicle was sincere more recently, being a family of now fewer means. I earn Carer’s Allowance which isn’t much considering I’m doing the Government a huge favour by personally looking after a disabled kid (It feels weird saying that, seeing as not a hundred years ago, said kid would’ve been hidden away or smothered with a pillow for fear of being a burden on society. Is a disabled kid worthy of society? That’s a can of worms and a half). My husband has a severely debilitating condition too… he has Degenerative Disk Disorder, a condition that means that he is on constant opiates, is in constant pain, and most definitely cannot work. That too, is a can of worms and a half.

My point is, is that we have a minimal amount of incoming money.

This is why it seemed like a blessing when a friend of means of ours chose to sell/lease us a vehicle, a beautiful vehicle at that; one that could not only carry Laughingboy, but any one of his other wheelchair-bound friends at a time. It has six gears. It guzzles the diesel, but it’s worth it. And it’s almost paid-off.

But guess what! Because we didn’t buy the vehicle from an ‘approved dealer’, it means we don’t get to avail of the wonderful Tax-Free Grant that usual vehicles of disablement would ordinarily possess. To avail of free annual motor tax, we must buy a new vehicle at a cost of €23,000 or more, but hey, at least we’d get the VRT back, worth €3,000 or so, in said case. Ooooo. ‘Yay’. I would be less sarcastic, if I had that much money just lying around.

It means that we now have to pay a vehicle tax on our vehicle of comparatively ill-gotten means by roughly €1,100 a year. That much money would heat our house for well over a year and a half, plus change.

So, it seems we should sell our vehicle to a registered dealer, then buy it right back off them again, just to avail of free vehicle tax that should normally be entitled to us.

Does that not seem like fraud to you?

Or should we just sell said vehicle to pay for said house-heating and limit Laughingboy’s travel to public services… an hourly shuttle-bus that doesn’t facilitate wheelchairs?

What the fuck is going on with this system???



Bring on the comments

  1. Brianf says:

    Ya’ gotta’ play their games. Ya’ gotta’ buy their car from their dealer for their price which only a few can afford so that they can exempt you from their taxes. It’s a damn racket. A gub’mint run racket!

  2. Simon says:

    Any way of buying a second hand kitted out vehicle from an approved dealer and availing of the free road tax? Or importing from the north and not have to pay vrt? Or downsize to a converted van with a small engine? Lots of 1.3 and 1.4 litre yokes available. eg

  3. This may be relatively useless information but we did this recently and these points are worth knowing but unfortunately irrelevant if you haven’t got the money:

    if you need to get the car adapted in any way, you can talk to your dealer and arrange for it to the adaptation to bring the cost up to 23k, so if you need to get 2k worth of adaptive work you can bargain something down to 21k.

    If you buy up the north you get a much better car for yor 23k. Down South, they’re that bit more expensive they strip out all extras to keep the price down. So up north you can get the same basic car with lots of extras for the same price. Heated seats, electric chairs etc.

    You wouldn’t believe how many people get cars adapted just to avail of this tax. When I was checking the swivel seat (we got adaptded for my mum) the dealer said “Oh you’re actually going to use it? 9/10 people just get it done for the tax break” – though I don’t know how they get away with paperwork, doctor’s letters etc.

    Might be a bit flippant to suggest this on a whim but I’d be happy to attend some kind of fundraiser night as I’m sure many of your readers would. Those things can whip up a lot of money and every has a great night out, whether it’s a quiz or a gig or whatever. I’ve attended one’s for lesser causes.

    I’ll ask the missus if she’s any other tips about the car, she organised it all.

  4. Fiona says:

    Kate – you should qualify for the motor tax exemption (and the VAT-free fuel and free tolls), even if they won’t give you VAT and VRT back on the car. You can apply for a car that you already own. Do you have a Primary Medical Certificate? Once you have that then the rest of the process is fairly straightforward. Have you spoken to the Monaghan office? I found them helpful and easy to deal with – 047-62100.

    You are clearly candidates for the scheme – if they won’t let you in on a technicality, then the whole scheme needs to be looked at.

  5. K8 says:

    BrianF; Weird ass gubmint. So many work off the books because there’s no other way to survive, so many defraud the system because it seems more logical. It’s like they’re encouraging illegal activity.

    FarmerSimonk; Thanks for the link… that car’s almost the same as the one we had before, the one that my gangly youngfella grew too tall to fit into. It also limits the amount of extra passengers we can carry at one time, which means the family can’t travel anywhere as an entire unit. The vehicle we have now is perfect, it’s roomy, fully kitted out with ramps, buckles and straps and it’s got plenty of growing space for him. It’s also an ex-taxi so the mileage is HUGE making its re-sale value very low. Selling it in order to buy a new vehicle just for the tax break wouldn’t make any sense at all, under the circumstances. Besides, I’ve named her now, I can’t sell her!

    Hi J.B., thanks for the information… I’ve no idea how people get work done without proof of disability, the paperwork seemed endless! We went through that whole process the first time, but this van we have now was originally a wheelchair taxi with all ramps and ratchet sets inclusive, so we didn’t have to do a thing! It’s just… perfect. To bend over backwards for a stupid flaw in the system seems mental.

    Hiya Fiona, yep we do indeed have a medical cert and disability sticker/card thingy for the front windshield. It’s very officially a wheelchair access vehicle. We had no problem organizing the tax exemptions/fuel claims before (in spite of all the red tape!), but that was because we got the original car from a registered dealer. Apparently, no such luck this time, they won’t entertain us at all because this van was privately bought. There just has to be a loophole somewhere, we just haven’t found it yet!

  6. Fiona says:

    Kate, that is unbelievable, so unfair. It’s almost like the scheme was designed to benefit car dealers more than disabled people.

  7. Jo says:

    CAN you get a registered dealer to buy it from you and sell it back? What would they lose?

  8. K8 says:

    Fiona; Nail On The Head.

    Jo; The problem is finding a dealer who’s into Shitehawkism. Need to find a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend who may be willing. Also need to find time to find the time to do it! Also need a job in case the above doesn’t pan out. *sigh*

  9. Holemaster says:

    As if people like yourself aren’t busy enough.

    They clearly don’t think these things through. It’s probably easier to set up a bus company and apply for a license. LB and the others will be your only customers but it might just work!

    Or buy an Ambulance and get everywhere really fast. If the cops stop you, get the husband to writhe in pain (not that he needs to pretend).

  10. K8 says:

    I really want to be an Ambulance driver! Boss of the road, those things rock. I think you need 20/20 vision though, so I’m screwed in that department. Might rob one…

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