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A COUNTY Donegal man who took on Customs over VRT and won has told others facing court cases to get rid of solicitors unwilling to challenge attempted prosecutions.

John Doherty says Gardai and customs officers are ‘knowingly breaking EU Law’ every time they seize a vehicle in connection with VRT charges.

He says legal representatives who do not challenge the VRT charges and the laws which are used to collect them should be dismissed by clients.

Mr Doherty did not specify any solicitors here in Co Donegal, and said his comments are directed generally at the legal profession throughout the country.

He told “Victims of Customs/ VRT are being failed and misled by some members of the legal profession who are leading people into the courts like a lamb to the slaughter.

“They are not informing them that there are both constitutional and EU law rights that should be raised in court leaving a very easy conviction for the judge to rule on the bogus 1992 Finance Act.

“On the first instance the solicitor should inform his client that the 1992 finance act breaches the 3rd amendment of the constitution under the 1972 European community’s act, Ireland’s accession to Europe.

“The legal profession are also failing to inform their clients that fixed roadside penalties by customs or Gardai breaches their constitutional right to a fair trial in court.

“There is also a failure to inform clients of their treaty rights under the Treaty of Rome where Customs dutys are prohibited under Article 25 and also free movement of goods as between member states in Article 39.

“There is also a failure by the legal profession to raise these matters in court leaving the victim with a €2500 fine leaving court. These cases are very easily won in court if solicitors were representing them properly.

“We in the Irish Drivers Association are advising people that find themselves in this position and are not being informed by their solicitor to dismiss them and find a solicitor who acts for them under the constitution and their treaty rights and object in court to any summons issued under the 1992 Finance Act.”

Under the Finance Act, Gardai are given the power to seize cars at the roadside for non-payment of VRT. This is even if they are properly registered in, for example, the North, and fully insured to be driven in the South.

But Mr Doherty says the Act stands in contradiction of both Irish and European Union legislation, a ruling they claim has already been upheld at Letterkenny Court.

He claims precedent set 18 months ago has already been established in the case of his son when three charges against him were struck out by Judge Kevin Kilraine.

He ruled that the seizure breached Article 25 of the Treaty of Rome Act (free movement of products within the Union). When the car was taken, they also denied him the right of due process, as he was not convicted of any crime yet his car was taken from him.

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July 19th, 2012

Revenue Commissioners Crackdown on VRT offences

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The Revenue Commissioners has begun a major national crackdown on Vehicle Registration Tax offences.Customs checkpoints, mainly in border counties and major urban areas, started this week and will continue for some time.

The major focus of the blitz is VRT evasion through the use of foreign registered number plates.

Revenue Commissioner Liam Irwin said, ‘We maintain a focus on VRT offences throughout the year but at regular intervals we undertake ‘blitz’ style operations which are high visibility.

‘The focus of this specific campaign is Irish residents illegally driving foreign registered cars.’

He warned that people who attempt to evade VRT ‘will face the consequences’.

Last year Revenue challenged 23,986 vehicles and 1,589 cars were seized for VRT offences.

March 27th, 2009

VRT on imports inflated – definitely RIP-OFF

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IMPORTERS OF second-hand cars to the Republic are missing out on millions of euro each year in vehicle registration tax (VRT) reductions, figures obtained from the Revenue Commissioners have revealed.

Reductions in VRT are available to those who successfully appeal the level of VRT calculated by the Revenue Commissioners, which are based on what the Revenue calculates to be the “open market selling price” of the vehicle in the Republic.

Figures obtained from the Revenue Commissioners by The Irish Times reveal that in 2007, some 98,353 used vehicles were imported and registered in the State. Of these, just 540 cases appealed the VRT assessment.

But the figures also reveal that, of the 540 appeals, 409 were successful, indicating that the Revenue Commissioner’s estimate of the open market selling price is significantly inflated.

The success rate of appeals would support research published in last week’s Motors which showed that the Revenue’s open market selling price estimate was consistently significantly higher than that of vehicles offered for sale on used cars for sale websites. Examples of cars for sale showed a Saab 9-3 Aero was overvalued by as much as €13,000; an Audi A4 by more than €7,000 and a VW Passat by almost €3,000.

Yet the number of importers appealing revenue valuations, at 540, represents just 1 per cent of the total number of used vehicles imported into the State in 2007. Given the figures, the collective overpayment by importers is likely to be in the millions.

In response to the situation, the Revenue Commissioners clarified their comments of last week to point out they request the advice of the motor industry here only for the open market selling price of new vehicles. A spokesman said price setting of new vehicles was nevertheless subject to Revenue approval.

In a statement, the Revenue Commissioners said: “In the case of . . . all used vehicles, open market selling prices are determined by Revenue on the basis of regular review of market values. Where Revenue receives information that a value may be inaccurate, the relevant value is reviewed.”

One possible reason for the low take-up of the appeals process may be the requirement in Section 147 of the Finance Act 2001 that the VRT duty must be paid before the appeal.

Unless the duty is paid in the first place, the appeal commissioners have no powers to assess a claim for a reduction.

News from IrishTimes Author: TIM O’BRIEN

August 31st, 2008