It is emerging that some councils are charging a lot more than the €333 road tax.
That is because they believe individual vehicles will be used to carry family/private passengers as well as being driven as part of the owner's business.
Constant questions that arise include:
Who is entitled to the €333 road tax concession?
Do they have to be registered for VAT?
If someone avails of the concession can they ever carry passengers?
If they can't what is the point of having five seats?
Is it true that people caught with passengers can be prosecuted, or made to pay the full VRT and tax?
What happens if someone is VAT registered and declares they will use the vehicle for business and family purposes? Do they lose the concession or can they still claim the €333?
The Farming Independent has put these questions to the Department of the Environment.
A spokesman gave us a step-by-step outline of the position.
The department says that VRT is charged by the Revenue Commissioners on the basis of the 'construction' of a vehicle.
However, just because you pay a lower commercial rate VRT it does not necessarily mean your road tax will be at the €333 level.
That is because motor tax is based on both the construction and the use of a vehicle. The word 'use' here is critical.
It means that for a vehicle to be taxed as a commercial it has to be used "solely in the course of trade or business".
Crucially, the department says, a vehicle used for ferrying passengers "in a manner that would attract a higher rate of duty" must incur a higher road-tax bill.
And that, the department concludes, would "generally be the case with a five-seater being used privately".
In the case of some large 'five-seater commercials' the road tax on the passenger versions could be as much as €1,809 instead of €333. The department says that motor tax on post-2008 'commercial vehicles' is charged on the basis of engine capacity.
Despite the fact that these vehicles can carry up to four passengers, their original designation as a commercial vehicle seems to mean they are assessed on engine size.
On the ground, the fact is that some councils are accepting that the five-seaters are being used for commercial purposes only and charging €333.
But some are not. And that is where confusion and annoyance are springing up.
The department says it is up to the motor tax office to "seek documentation supporting a claim for the goods rate of motor tax".
A crucial line from the department is that "passengers can be carried in a goods vehicle if they are employees of the trader and are being carried in the course of their employment".
However, where a vehicle is being used "in a manner that is liable to a higher rate of duty" such as carrying passengers other than employees, the person could be guilty of an offence and liable for an excise penalty of €1,270 if not paying the higher road tax.
This effectively means that the vehicle cannot under any circumstances be used for social, domestic or pleasure purposes on €333 road tax, the department indicates.
So potential buyers need to be clear on that whole area.
The advice is to check in advance and be absolutely certain on what you are liable for.
Eddie Cunningham looks at the burning issue of what road tax should be paid on five-seater commercials