Farm Ireland

Monday 19 March 2018

Road tax bombshell set to hit 100,000 tractor owners

Darragh McCullough and Caitriona Murphy

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.

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Mr Ryan added that vintage tractors would also be liable for tax, despite being brought out onto the road only once or twice a year for charity fundraisers.

"If it has four wheels that touch the road, it has to be taxed.

"I know that there are lots of tractors that are not ever on a public road, but in these cases people need to get into the habit of filling in an RF150 form at their local Garda station to declare how long it will be staying off the road," said Mr Ryan.

In addition to tractors of every vintage being liable for tax, the increasing numbers of self-propelled machines being purchased by specialised operators are also subject to the €102 annual charge.

"There are more and more self-propelled machines for every kind of job these days, from sprayers to harvesters and even diet-mixers," said the FTMTA chief.

Farmers have until the end of September to declare that their machine has been off the road, by getting a completed RF100 form stamped at their local Garda station and providing their vehicle registration certificate or logbook.

If they cannot produce the certificate, replacements can be obtained from their local motor tax office.


Mr Ryan said that the issue is even bigger for farmers who bought second-hand machines from Britain without ever registering them.

These individuals will now need to get a vehicle registration certificate issued for their tractor in order to get it taxed or declared off the road.

"There will be thousands of farmers in this situation and even this has become more expensive, increasing fourfold to €200 in recent years," Mr Ryan said.

The RF100 forms to declare that a vehicle has been off the road until October 1 are available from, local motor tax offices and Garda stations.

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