In Committee on Finance. - Financial Resolution No. 8—Excise.

I move:—

(1) That where, on the taking out of a licence under Section 13 of the Finance Act, 1920, for a mechanically propelled vehicle, the excise duty chargeable on such vehicle under the said Section 13 as amended by subsequent enactments has been duly paid and at any time while such licence is in force—

(a) such vehicle is used in a condition or manner or for a purpose which would, if it was used solely in that condition or manner or for that purpose, render it chargeable with the said duty at a higher rate than the said rate at which such duty was so paid, and

(b) such vehicle as so used is in all other respects a vehicle chargeable with the said duty at such higher rate,

the said duty shall become and be chargeable on such vehicle at such higher rate.

(2) That whenever any person so uses a mechanically propelled vehicle that the excise duty chargeable thereon under the enaotments mentioned in the foregoing paragraph of this Resolution becomes chargeable under that sub-section on such vehicle at such higher rate as is mentioned in the said paragraph, such person shall, unless such duty has been paid at such higher rate before the commencement of such user, be guilty of an offence and be liable on summary conviction thereof to an excise penalty of whichever of the following sums is the greater, that is to say, twenty pounds or three times the difference between the amount of the said duty paid on such vehicle on the taking out of the said licence therefor and the amount of the said duty at such higher rate.

(3) It is hereby declared that it is expedient in the public interest that this Resolution shall have statutory effect under the provisions of the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, 1927 (No. 7 of 1927).

The purpose of this Resolution, which I presume I may take as read, is to provide that where a mechanically propelled vehicle is licensed in one class and used in a manner rendering it liable for duty in a higher class, it shall be liable to a duty at the higher rate and failure to pay such duty shall be an Excise offence. It has been ascertained that at present the owner of a mechanically propelled vehicle can be prosecuted for not licensing the vehicle, but it is not certain that he would be amenable to penalties if he used the vehicle for purposes for which it has not been licensed and for which it would be liable to a duty at a higher rate. A provision to the effect which I have just recited was enacted in the British Finance Act of 1922, but this section has no force at present in Soarstát Eireann, and it is proposed to give effect to the same principle here.

Do I understand that if a vehicle which is licensed according to the hackney rate, which, I think, is £12 according to this Resolution, is used for private purposes, it will have to pay a tax of £16? In other words, a man who owns a hackney vehicle will not be entitled to drive his own family. Is that to be one of the effects of the Resolution?

If a person owning a motor car licensed at hackney rates uses it for private purposes he will have to pay duty, in the same way as a private person owning that motor car would have to pay duty.

Is that to be the spirit and the letter of the law? Will it be illegal for a man owning a hackney vehicle to drive his family, say, to Mass on Sundays without taking out a private licence?

Am I right in understanding the purpose of the Resolution to be this: at present the person referred to by Deputy Moore is so liable but the Minister is anxious that he should suffer severer penalties. Is that not practically the purpose of this?

The purpose is to make sure that he will be liable. He has always been regarded as being liable.

You want to make quite sure.

And the law has never been put into effect.

It is going to be put into effect now. He was not sure up to the present.

Resolution agreed to.

If the House has no objection, I should like to have these Resolutions reported now. They do not provide, as I have already said, for any increase in duty, and if they were to be reported now we should be able to take the First Reading of the Finance Bill next Wednesday, have the Bill circulated, and, possibly, take the Second Reading. If there was any objection it could be dealt with by amendment on the Committee Stage of the Bill.

Agreed.

Financial Resolutions Nos. 5, 6, 7, and 8 reported without amendment.