Council shuts three motor tax offices to cope with backlog
A LOCAL authority has been forced to close three public offices to allow staff to deal with a surge of applications for new driving licences, motor tax and motorists declaring their vehicle is off the road.
Dublin City Council said motor tax offices in Smithfield, Ballymun and Clondalkin would be closed all next week so staff can process applications.
Some 12,000 items of post made up of driving licence applications and renewals, applications for 'off the road' periods and motor tax renewals form the backlog.
In some cases, motorists have been waiting for weeks to have their applications processed.
On October 1 last, changes were made aimed at clamping down on motor tax evasion which obliged owners of vehicles – including cars, tractors and motorbikes – who had never taxed them to pay arrears if they planned to use them on public roads.
If they did not plan to use them, they had to be declared as off the road for a minimum of three months. The previous system allowed people to declare their off-the-roads when they went to re-tax them.
Separately, all driver licence applications must now be processed by the National Driver Licence Service instead of local motor tax offices, which led to a surge in the numbers of renewals.
"The backlogs occurred because of changes in processing driver licences in advance of the move to the new NDLS service," a city council spokeswoman said.
"Also, applications for taking a vehicle off the road retrospectively ceased on September 30 and thousands of applications were received by that date for retrospective and prospective declaration that vehicles were/are off the road.
"The end of retrospective 'off-road' declarations coincided with the transfer of the driver licence function to the new NDLS service, causing a spike in postal applications which must be serviced as timely as possible."
The backlog consists of up to 3,000 driver licence applications, with the balance made up of non-use declarations and tax renewals.
The council added that offices would close from November 11 to 15, but would continue to receive postal applications and answer phone queries.
The council apologised for any inconvenience, adding customers could pay their motor tax online at www.motortax.ie