Monday, 6 June 2011

VRT - the Irish Kafkaesque nightmare Part Two

The previous post described the bureaucratic nightmare suffered by someone attempting to import a particular car into this country.  I got an email from the person concerned giving an update on his plight, and how he has been pushed from pillar to post by Revenue.  It's well worth a read and is a further illustration of the unfair, nontransparent nature of Vehicle Registration Tax.


Just seen your post on your site about the Ford Cosworth VRT issue, thanks for posting it up.  I’m the person the article is about and I thought you might like an update to this. The more people that realise what nonsense and daylight robbery that still goes on to date in this country the better.

Here is what I have now been told from Revenue:

After Mr. Paddy Comyn from the Irish Times contacted the VRT/Revenue office on my behalf I received a phone call from Mr. Kieran Dillon in Revenue (Head of VRT). Firstly he apologised for the whole mess and the near month worth of calls to and from every department imaginable, still waiting on the written letter of apology from him I was promised.

He went on to tell me that above mentioned information with regards to bringing in a shell was incorrect and that the bringing in of a shell was stopped in 1993. In 1993 a new VRT rule was brought in were all cars now to have VRT paid on them have to be mechanically propelled, meaning you cannot VRT just a shell or a full build car that is not mechanically propelled. And yet with this all said, and this rule in place I was still told back in September 2010 by the VRT office I could indeed bring in the car shell and would be looking at paying a VRT rate of up to €5,900 on it.

With regards to the calculation of VRT which is done on the Irish OMSP (open market selling price) valuations, Mr. Dillon gave me two current valuations for a Ford Escort Cosworth, one at £22,000 sterling in Scotland and the other at £27,000 sterling in the Isle of White. So based on those figures you’re looking at a VRT rate of €9000 - €11,000 but when my car is complete I could be looking at paying up to €15,000 or more as my car would fall under the category of a concourse car giving it a value of up to €40,000 or more.

As you can imagine I asked why he was using “UK sterling” open market values as VRT rates can only be worked out using the Irish OMSP, not only this, going by the two mentioned figures Revenue are currently using they must be looking for dearest cars they can find.

To add to this, over the past year people I know and others that have been in contact with myself about this VRT issue since it was printed in the newspaper, were they have bought this same car and imported it into Ireland have paid from €2750 - €5700 VRT. So why am I looking at paying €15,000?

With regards to the highest rate of VRT I could be looking at paying, as previously said my car would fall under the category of a concourse car. Where the ridiculous figure I’ve been told has come from I don't know, you just have to look at two cars for sale here in Ireland that condition wise I would class at the high end of the scale/concourse:

€17,995 -

€17,500 -

And here is one that would be a very good condition standard:

€11,950 -

Also the reason for the high value I was given for mine is that, and this coming from the person in Revenue that values these types of car, and I quote; "cars are the new investment scheme here in Ireland, that's the reason for the high valuation".

Now I have rang a few Ford dealerships here looking the for OMSP and the valuations I have gotten from them is that you can buy a very good condition to concours standard Cosworth for €10,000 - €18,000. When I told them what sort of nonsense I've been told you can image the response I got from them.

I was more than happy to originally pay €5,900 on the shell, even though when you look at it you really can’t be applying VRT on a shell as it is just a car part. And going by the rules in place for VRT and what they have said themselves;

“To be registered, a vehicle must satisfy the definition of ‘mechanically propelled vehicle’. One of the prerequisites of that definition is that it is capable of achieving vehicle propulsion at the time of registration to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners’. Therefore, the Cosworth shell was not a “mechanically-propelled vehicle” and couldn’t be registered, and the NCTS would, correctly, refuse to register it”.

So in other words they themselves are saying it is just a shell and not a car.

Where I stand to date now is that Revenue want me to build this car in order to VRT it and expect me to pay anything from €10,000 - €15,000+ VRT on a car that's being built by me here in Ireland using parts sourced here, be they new parts that I have already paid tax on or second hand parts that cannot have tax applied to them, even though I might be able to appeal the VRT rate with the Revenue, if I win the appeal I would only get back 10% - 20% of the VRT rate.

If I’m totally honest with you I think what is been asked of me is an absolute disgrace and it's clear to me that the figures I'm getting back from VRT are been "pulled out of the air" so to speak as they are not even valuing the car on an Irish OMSP.

As I have previously stated, I’m more than willing to pay VRT, I'm not looking for a way out of it but I refuse to pay that in my opinion is an extortionate rate of €10,000 - €15,000+, when others in the same situation as myself have not and also due to the fact that I can buy a excellent condition fully running Cosworth for the VRT amount been asked as you can see from examples I’ve included and the OMSP valuations obtained from Ford dealerships.

And here is another good laugh, another factor that determines the VRT sum that you will have to pay, and this is coming from VRT/Revenue;

"Condition of the vehicle, a badly-restored vehicle will have a lower OMSP than a well-restored one and will have a lower VRT charge".

So basically if I wanted, I could present my car to the NCT centre for VRT as a "bucket of rust" and more than likely an unsafe car for the road too and they will pass it and let me bring in it as long as it is “mechanically-propelled" that is all that matters.

You have to wonder, with stunts like this going on how the hell is the country broke?

Also I think it’s worth mentioning that I have been near over a month now with phone calls to VRT/Revenue about this, no one seems to know their job nor are the majority of whom I and my brother have spoken to willing to help.

Here is just one example of calls made in one day that my brother made on my behalf as I was working and had not got the time to ring myself:

Just under 4 hours my brother got absolutely nowhere. Here is the outlay of them 4 hours:

- Started off with his local VRT office
- Then onto the tax office.
- Back onto the VRT office.
- Then told to ring the NCT office in Dublin, nothing to do with them.
- Ring back the VRT office.
- Told to ring Rosslare.
- Back to the local VRT office.
- Then back onto Rosslare and spoke to another unhelpful person.
- Told to ring NCT, so ring them back.

At this stage I'm fed up completely with this so I rang the Europa EU help desk to find out who exactly is responsible for dealing with this. Outlined the numerous calls already made that day to them, person I spoke to there couldn't believe what was going on so suggested I ring the Ombudsman here so I did that:

- Rang the Ombudsman, nothing to do with them and they couldn't help, told to ring Revenue in Rosslare

- Ring Rosslare to be told to ring the NCT, told them that the NCT had nothing to do with it so they told me to get back onto his local VRT office.

- So I do that, back to square one again, nothing to do with them that it is Rosslare I need to speak to.

- Back onto Rosslare only to be told to ring Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

- So I ring them not that it has anything to do with them and got speaking to a lovely lady there who wanted to know why I was told to ring them. I explained to her the situation, she couldn't believe it and was so shocked that she went out of her way to try and help by getting contact numbers of places that might be able to help.

So there you have it, the people employed to do the job that is needed when it comes to VRT/Revenue, the very ones that moan if their wages or pension are to be cut, not one of them had a clue or were bothered to help, and the most helpful person of the day was a very helpful women whose job role had nothing to do with the matter at hand.

To date I have sent emails to both the Minister for Transport and the Minister for Finance, the Minister for Transports office has forwarded it onto the Chairman of the Revenue Commission. I’ve also sent numerous emails to the EU head of taxation and to date I’m basically getting the run around there also.

With Regards,



Anonymous said...

Thanks GM, DS :)

The Gombeen Man said...

You're welcome DS. Thanks for keeping us updated and the best of luck in dealing with them.

Maybe you should consider making a complaint to the EU? I think there is a facility for doing so - you might ask the EU Consumer office on O'Connell Street.

Ella said...

OMG, what a goddam nightmare and it's still not sorted. They really don't want you to import a car do they?

DS said...

I have already gone down the EU route, to date it has been a complete waste of time. Four email replies I have had from them now all basically saying the same thing, “nothing to do with them” and to deal with the Revenue here about it, some help they are.

DS said...

@ Ella - beyond a nightmare so it is and it's not even a car, it's just a shell. I can't pay VRT of €5900 on just the shell now as Revenue say I was wrongly told by my local VRT office last year that I could and I now have to build the car to have VRT calculated on the complete build.

Anonymous said...

Once again the poster has highlighted the sheer ineptitude and idiocy of what passes for a "public service" in Ireland.Incompetence at this level is normally only found amongst elected TD's. It is no wonder the economy is in tatters with a NON-public service performance like this one.

As bad as it is I think your only chance is to try and get it on any radio talk show, be it Joe Duffy or whom ever, with crap publicity, I betcha the idiot Revenue gobsheens will sort it out quickly for you

Mr H