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Dan White: Can my son reclaim VRT now he's returning to US?

MY son, his wife and family came back to live in Ireland in 2007 after 12 years living in the USA. They brought with them a car which they had purchased within the year of their coming back and so got stung for Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT). Because of the scene in Ireland right now they have decided to return to live in the USA. Are they entitled to reclaim any percentage of the VRT payment, and if so from whom? BILL

While anyone coming to live in Ireland who has owned a car for more than 12 months can import it without having to pay VRT, anyone bringing in a car with them which they purchased within the previous year does have to pay VRT.

In practice most people coming to live in Ireland don't import cars less than 12 months old. Unfortunately this is the trap into which Bill's son fell.

As the car was imported under the old pre-emissions VRT regime, Bill's son would have had to pay a VRT at rate of between 22.5pc and 30pc of the open market selling price of his car. As the car was less than a year old that was probably a substantial sum.

Even an OMSP of €10,000 would have set Bill's son back somewhere between €2,250 and €10,000.

That's not a sum of money to turn up your nose at.

So now that he is leaving the country again can he reclaim at least some of this money? I checked this one with the Revenue Commissioners and the bad news is that Bill's son is out of luck.

The word from the Revenue Commissioners is that: "There is no provision in VRT legislation for a repayment of VRT on the export of a vehicle out of the State".

In other words, having been forced out of the country due to the deteriorating economic situation, Bill's son will not be able to reclaim any of the VRT he paid in 2007.

I think it's what's called adding insult to injury.

I AM a prepaid mobile customer with O2 and already find it very expensive to use my phone.

Now I read recently that the company is putting up its prices by up to 80pc.

Is this true and is there any way that I can avoid this price increase?

STEPHANIE

From last Monday, July 12, O2 increased its call connection charges, that is the amount it charges its prepaid customers to connect a call, to either its own or any other network, from 5 cent to 9 cent, an increase of 80pc. Meteor is following suit on August 12.

This will make Irish call connection charges, which are already amongst the most expensive in Europe, even more expensive.

Call connection charges apply as soon as the call is connected.

The per minute charges only kick in after the call has been connected.

The fact that Meteor is also putting up its call connection charges means that Stephanie can't avoid the price increase by switching to that network.

So what about Vodafone and 3? Vodafone has, so far at least left its call connection charge unchanged at 5 cent while 3 has a minimum call charge of 9 cent.

This means that if getting the cheapest connection charge was all that mattered then Stephanie should switch to Vodafone.

But of course most people don't choose their mobile phone service provider solely on the basis of call connection rates.

Invariably the decision is due to a combination of factors, price per minute, upgrade options etc.


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