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Instant fines call for motor tax dodgers

AUTOMATIC fines should be levied on drivers who neglect to pay their motor tax, local authority bosses have said.

The County and City Managers' Association (CCMA) made the call in a submission to the Department of the Environment.

The tax is worth about €1bn a year to local authorities.

But estimates say between 8pc and 10pc of drivers escape paying the fee, amounting to €100m in lost revenue.

Council chiefs have complained that relying on garda checkpoints to catch motor-tax cheats is not an efficient way of ensuring payment.

The CCMA pointed out that the details relating to all untaxed cars were available on a database, the National Vehicle and Driver File (NVDF).

However, it said the garda method of nabbing the evaders -- at random vehicle checkpoints -- does not use the resource.



deliberations

The NVDF sends out a reminder letter to motorists before their motor tax expires. If payment is not made within six weeks of the expiration date, they are sent a final reminder notice.

The CCMA wants automatic fines to be sent by post if the final notice is ignored but this would need new legislation.

The Department of the Environment is in the middle of reviewing the motor-tax regime but it is not known whether the CCMA's suggestions will form part of the deliberations.

The association's submission was made to the Local Government Efficiency Review last year.

Reports in May revealed that motorists were having their cars seized in unprecedented numbers because they were refusing to tax or insure them or apply for the NCT.

A total of 26,044 cars were seized in 2010, more than twice the amount in previous years.

The chances of drivers being caught and having their cars confiscated are greater than ever, mainly due to stronger garda enforcement.

comurphy@herald.ie


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