Funding & Grants

Tax relief for drivers and passengers with disabilities

Update – It is no longer a requirement of the scheme to spend 10% on adaptions however the vehicle still requires to be modified – call us on 0874662895 if you would like more information regarding this

Wheelchair Cars Ireland owner Gerard Murtagh has over a decade of experience in the motability sector, through Donal Murtagh Car Sales and Wheelchair Cars Ireland. Feel free to contact Gerard directly at Wheelchair Cars Ireland on 0906439438 if you have any queries regarding the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme.

Introduction

The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme provides a range of tax reliefs linked to the purchase and use of vehicles by drivers and passengers with a disability. The rules of the scheme are set out in the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994 (SI No. 353/1994) as amended. Under the terms of the scheme, you can claim remission or repayment of vehicle registration tax (VRT), repayment of value-added tax (VAT) on the purchase of a vehicle and repayment of VAT on the cost of adapting a vehicle, up to a maximum of €9,525 for a driver with a disability and €15,875 for a passenger with a disability.

Relief is limited to a vehicle that has been specially constructed or adapted for use by a person with a disability and that has an engine size of less than 2,000cc in the case of the driver and 4,000cc in the case of the passenger.

Up to December 2014, if you qualified for tax relief under the scheme, you could also claim repayment of excise duty on fuel used in your vehicle for the transport of a person with a disability, up to a maximum of 600 gallons per year. Since 1 January 2015, if you qualify for tax relief under the scheme you are also eligible for a fuel grant. The amount of grant available is the same as the relief under the excise relief scheme.

In addition, if you qualify under the scheme, your vehicle may be exempt from the payment of annual road tax on application to a Motor Tax Office.

A specially adapted vehicle driven by a driver with a disability is entitled to exemption from toll road fees. Toll road operators issue special passes which are recognised by all other toll road operators and which allow such vehicles pass through the tolls without paying. To obtain a special pass apply to your nearest toll road operator (pdf).

Rules

In order to qualify for tax relief under the scheme, the person with a disability must have a valid Primary Medical Certificate. A Primary Medical Certificate confirms you are severely and permanently disabled and:

  • Are completely or almost completely without the use of both legs or
  • Are completely without the use of one of your legs and almost completely without the use of the other leg to the extent that you are severely restricted as regards movement in your legs or
  • Are without both hands or both arms or
  • Are without one or both legs or
  • Are completely or almost completely without the use of both hands or arms and completely or almost completely without the use of one leg or
  • Have the medical condition of dwarfism and serious difficulties of movement of the legs

Local Health Offices of the Health Service Executive (HSE) process applications for a Primary Medical Certificate. If the HSE refuses your application for a Primary Medical Certificate, you may appeal the refusal to the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Rochestown Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.

Drivers with disabilities

You can claim tax relief on

  • A new vehicle
  • A used vehicle that has not been previously registered in the state

You can also buy a previously registered used vehicle from an authorised dealer, in which case the amount of the repayment will be the residual VAT contained in the value of the vehicle. However, the majority of used vehicles purchased from a dealer are purchased under the Margin Scheme. This means that no VAT is payable when the vehicle is purchased and therefore no VAT is refundable.

If you bought the vehicle before you qualified as a disabled driver, a repayment of VAT and VRT, appropriate to the market value of the vehicle at the time of entry to the scheme, will be made.

Passengers with disabilities

You can claim tax relief on

  • A new vehicle
  • A used vehicle that has not been previously registered in the State

You can also buy a previously registered used vehicle from an authorised dealer, in which case the amount of the repayment will be the residual VAT contained in the value of the vehicle. However, the majority of used vehicles purchased from a dealer are purchased under the Margin Scheme. This means that no VAT is payable when the vehicle is purchased and therefore no VAT is refundable.

If you bought the vehicle before you qualified as a disabled person, a repayment of VAT and VRT, appropriate to the market value of the vehicle at the time of entry to the scheme, will be made.

The pre-tax cost of adapting the vehicle must amount to at least 10% of its pre-tax cost.

If you buy a used vehicle that has previously qualified for tax relief under the scheme for transporting disabled passengers and where the original adaptions remain in place when you buy it, it is eligible for the scheme.

A vehicle that has been acquired under a hire-purchase agreement qualifies for tax relief.

Residency

A family member of a disabled passenger can also qualify for relief provided he/she is living with and responsible for the transport of the disabled person in question and has acquired the vehicle for that purpose.

If the disabled person only stays with a family member on a part-time basis, the residency requirement is not met. However, if the disabled person is a minor who is in residential or medical care on a part-time or occasional basis and who spends a significant part of his/her time at home, e.g., every weekend and holidays, the residency requirement may be met. The Revenue Commissioners may, in exceptional circumstances, waive the residency requirement.

You should contact the Central Repayments Office to make sure that you meet the residency requirements for relief under the scheme before purchasing a vehicle.

Restrictions on disposal

The vehicle must not be disposed of for at least two years from the date the relief is granted.

You will only be allowed to dispose of the vehicle within the two years if you refund to the Revenue Commissioners a substantial portion of the relief allowed, calculated by reference to the value of the vehicle at the time of disposal. “Disposal” means the sale of the vehicle, the gift of the vehicle to another person and the hiring or renting of the vehicle.

If the vehicle is disposed of following damage in an accident, the damage will be taken into account in calculating the value of the vehicle at the time of disposal.

How to apply

Download and complete Form DD1 (pdf). This application form is also available from the Central Repayments Office.

Applying for remission of VRT

You need to send the following documents to the Central Repayments Office

  • Form DD1
  • The original Primary Medical Certificate if you are claiming for the first time. You must apply to your Health Service Executive (HSE) Area for an application form for a Primary Medical Certificate – obtain an application form from your Local Health Office in the HSE. Complete the application form and return it to the Senior Medical Officer of the Local Health Office. The Senior Medical Officer then appoints a HSE doctor to visit your home and carry out an assessment of the level of your disability. If you satisfy the requirements, you are granted a Primary Medical Certificate by the HSE.

If your application for remission of VRT is acceptable, you will be sent a Letter of Authorisation which authorises you to purchase a vehicle. When you have chosen the vehicle, the vehicle identification number (VIN) must be submitted to the Central Repayments Office on the form issued to you with the Letter of Authorisation. You will be issued with an Exemption Notification that allows the vehicle to be registered exempt of VRT at the NCTS centre.

When you have bought the vehicle, you must obtain the following documents

  • An original invoice from the dealer showing the full purchase particulars of the vehicle and verifying that payment of the amount due has been made in full
  • An original invoice from the person who adapted the vehicle, showing that payment has been made in full. The invoice must show full details of the adaptations to the vehicle and the VAT charged.
  • A new vehicle that is adapted requires an Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) certificate from the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI)

To register the vehicle at the NCTS centre the dealer must submit these documents, along with the Letter of Authorisation, the Exemption Notification and the completed Form DD1. If the documentation is in order, the NCTS will register the vehicle without charging VRT.

When the vehicle is registered, to obtain a repayment of the VAT the dealer should submit the Letter of Authorisation, the Exemption Notification and the invoices mentioned above to the Central Repayments Office.

Applying for repayment of VRT and VAT

If VRT has not been remitted and you want to claim repayment of VRT and VAT, you need to submit the following documents to the Central Repayments Office.

  • A fully completed Application Form DD1
  • The original Primary Medical Certificate if you are claiming for the first time.
  • An original invoice from the dealer showing the full purchase particulars of the vehicle and VAT charged and showing that payment of the amount due has been made in full
  • An original invoice from the person who adapted the vehicle, indicating that payment has been made in full. This invoice should set out the full details of the adaptations and the VAT charged.
  • The vehicle’s Vehicle Registration Certificate.

If the vehicle has been registered before, there is no need to go through the usual change of ownership procedure as this will automatically happen when the vehicle is taxed exempt at the Motor Tax Office.

If your claim is accepted you are issued with a Certificate of Approval by the Central Repayments Office which you should submit to your local Motor Tax Office. You will be issued with a new Vehicle Registration Certificate which you should send to the Central Repayments Office where it will be endorsed to the effect that the vehicle was purchased under the Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme and cannot be disposed of for two years. This certificate will be returned to you immediately.

If the vehicle has previously qualified for tax relief under the scheme, the maximum amount of tax relief that can be claimed for the vehicle will probably have already been claimed. However, you should still submit form DD1 with all the required documentation as listed above.

Applying for refund of excise duty on fuel

From 1 January 2015, members of the scheme are eligible for a fuel grant which will be paid 12 months in arrears. For 2015 the grant will be paid in 2016. You should continue the practice of retaining receipts for any qualifying fuel purchased under the scheme.

Claims for repayment of excise duty on fuel used up to 31 December 2014 should be made on Form DD3 (pdf) which will be automatically sent to you by the Central Repayments Office.

You need to keep receipts for the fuel purchased for two years, but do not have to submit them with your claim. You have to estimate the percentage of that fuel that is used for your own transport or the transport of a disabled passenger.

Applying for exemption from motor tax

If your vehicle is being registered in Ireland for the first time, you need to present your Vehicle Registration Certificate to your local Motor Taxation Office.

If your vehicle was previously registered in Ireland before you entered the scheme, you will be given a Certificate of Approval by the Central Repayments Office, which you should present at your Motor Taxation Office.

REF: Changes to the Disabled Drivers and Passengers Tax Relief Scheme January 2016

The Minister for Finance, Mr. Michael Noonan T.D., announced a number of improvements to the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme.

The changes to the Scheme have been made in secondary legislation, which the Minister signed into law in December. These changes are:

  1. provision for “specifically adapted vehicles”;
  2. provision for “extensively adapted vehicles”;
  3. increasing the relief available to drivers, passengers and organisations;
  4. amending the criteria under which organisations can avail of the relief;
  5. extending the engine size limits for drivers and passengers;
  6. vehicles need no longer be purchased from an authorised motor dealer to qualify.

These changes are outlined in detail below.

  1. Specifically adapted vehicles

Advances in vehicle design have provided a greater opportunity to allow people with severe disabilities to drive motor vehicles. However, the cost of such vehicles can be prohibitively expensive for many persons with disabilities, given the extensive nature of the adaptations required. For that reason, the Minister has provided for a category of “specifically adapted vehicles”.

This category provides Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) and VAT relief of up to €16,000 for the purchase of such vehicles. The vehicle must be held for 3 years before resale.

The adaptations which shall qualify for this enhanced relief must be one of the following:

  1. a modified rear or side entry incorporating an integrated ramp or lift and a modified floor to facilitate direct wheelchair access, and wheelchair restraints or a wheelchair docking station; or,
  2. a modified rear or side entry incorporating a lowered and modified floor to facilitate direct wheelchair access, and wheelchair restraints or a wheelchair docking station; or,
  3. extensive reconfiguration of primary controls necessary to enable the vehicle to be driven by the disabled person.

In the case of a new car, these adaptations must be certified under EU type-approval or by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI).

If a person wishes to adapt a used car to the specifications outlined above the adaptations must be certified out by a Suitably Qualified Individual (SQI).

  1. Extensively adapted vehicles

A very small group of persons with disabilities require extensive modifications to their vehicles to take account of their disability, so that the cost of modifications exceeds the cost of the vehicle itself. To enhance the mobility of those persons a category of “extensively adapted vehicle” is being provided for drivers and passengers with disabilities.

To qualify for this enhanced relief, the cost of the adaptations at the time that they were made, must exceed the open market selling price of the vehicle as determined by the Revenue Commissioners (excluding the cost of the adaptations) at the time of the registration of the vehicle.

The VAT and VRT relief in respect of such vehicles shall be up to €22,000. The vehicle must be held for 6 years before resale.

The adaptations which shall qualify for this enhanced relief must be one of the following:

  1. a modified rear or side entry incorporating an integrated ramp or lift and a modified floor to facilitate direct wheelchair access, and wheelchair restraints or a wheelchair docking station; or,
  2. a modified rear or side entry incorporating a lowered and modified floor to facilitate direct wheelchair access, and wheelchair restraints or a wheelchair docking station; or,
  3. extensive reconfiguration of primary controls necessary to enable the vehicle to be driven by the disabled person.

In the case of a new car, these adaptations must be certified under EU type-approval or by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI).

If a person wishes to adapt a used car to the specifications outlined above the adaptations must be carried out by a Suitably Qualified Individual (SQI).

  1. Increase in relief available to drivers and passengers

The maximum amount of VRT and VAT relief available for drivers with disabilities is being increased from €9,525 to €10,000, and the maximum amount of VRT and VAT relief for passengers with disabilities and organisations is being increased from €15,875 to €16,000.

 

  1. Amending the criteria under which organisations qualify for the relief

The requirement that a qualifying organisation is not funded primarily by the State is being removed, and instead the Minister is providing VRT and VAT relief to organisations in respect of wheelchair accessible vehicles which those organisations use to transport disabled persons. This will enable those charitable organisations who are involved in the care and transport of disabled persons who may have been unable to access the Scheme in the past to become beneficiaries of the Scheme.

Qualifying organisations must now be charitable organisations under the Charities Act 2009 and must be chiefly engaged in the care and transport of severely and permanently disabled persons. Organisations can check the register of charities to check whether they are registered here: Charities Regulatory Authority.

The adaptations required to qualify for this relief are:

  1. a modified rear or side entry incorporating an integrated ramp or lift and a modified floor to facilitate direct wheelchair access, and wheelchair restraints or a wheelchair docking station; or,
  2. a modified rear or side entry incorporating a lowered and modified floor to facilitate direct wheelchair access, and wheelchair restraints or a wheelchair docking station.

In the case of a new vehicle, these adaptations must be certified under EU type-approval or by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI)

If an organisation wishes to adapt a used vehicle to the specifications outlined above the adaptations must be carried out by a Suitably Qualified Individual (SQI).

  1. Extending the engine size limits for drivers and passengers;

The current limits based on engine size are being extended to 6,000cc for drivers, passengers, and organisations, which will ensure that all vehicles will now qualify for the Scheme. Before this change, drivers were restricted to cars with 2,000cc engines or lower, and organisations and passengers were restricted to vehicles with 4,000cc engines or lower

Where to apply

You can find further information on the tax relief scheme (pdf) on the Revenue Commissioners’ website

Central Repayments Office

Office of the Revenue Commissioners
M: TEK II Building
Armagh Road
Monaghan
Ireland

Tel:+353 (0)47 62100
Locall:1890 606061
Homepage: http://www.revenue.ie
Email: cromon@revenue.ie