Road tax bombshell set to hit 100,000 tractor owners
Machinery dealers are 'inundated' with queries about the start of a new road tax regime that has implications for up to 100,000 tractor owners.
Gardai have already started to take a much tougher stance on farmers that drive untaxed machines on public roads in recent weeks, with everything from tractors to combines being stopped and, in some cases, impounded for not being properly taxed.
In addition, from October 1, farmers will no longer be able to retrospectively declare their machines off the road.
Anybody caught with an untaxed vehicle on the road after October 1 will be liable for an on-the-spot fine of €60 along with all the tax arrears.
This will amount to years of back tax in the case of many tractors and could result in a bill running into thousands of euros for some individuals.
"I think there is an awful lot of guys going to get a big shock because we are already seeing a change in the enforcement levels," said Farm Tractor and Machinery Trade Association (FTMTA) chief executive Gary Ryan, who believes that there are tens of thousands of tractors that have never been taxed or even registered.
"The last agricultural census of tractors about 10 years ago said that there were 159,531 tractors on Irish farms. Yet the most recent figures from 2012 show that only 63,080 agricultural machines were taxed last year," he said.