Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (175, 176)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

291 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Finance the criteria a person must meet to be eligible for a primary medical; the criteria there are for persons with multiple sclerosis to be eligible; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1437/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

I assume the Deputy is referring to the primary medical certificate that is required for application to the disabled drivers and disabled passengers (tax concessions) scheme. The medical criteria for the purposes of the tax concession under this scheme are set out in the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994. Six different types of disablement are listed under the regulations and a qualifying person must satisfy one or more of them. The six types of disablement are as follows: persons who are wholly or almost wholly without the use of both legs; persons who are wholly without the use of one of their legs and almost wholly without the use of the other leg such that they are severely restricted as to movement of their lower limbs; persons without both hands or without both arms; persons without one or both legs; persons wholly or almost wholly without the use of both hands or arms and wholly or almost wholly without the use of one leg; and persons having the medical condition of dwarfism and who have serious difficulties of movement of the lower limbs.

It is regrettable that the Revenue Commissioners are unable to consider an application for the relief without the issue of a valid primary medical certificate. The medical criteria listed above applies to all applicants wishing to gain access to the scheme, including those with multiple sclerosis.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

292 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Finance the reason the grant for the disabled drivers scheme can only be applied to new forms of transport; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this excludes many people from this scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2090/04]

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I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the repayment of VRT is made on second hand vehicles as well as new ones. An individual who qualifies for the reliefs available under the disabled drivers' and disabled passengers' tax concessions scheme is issued with a primary medical certificate. Possession of a primary medical certificate provides for remission or repayment of vehicle registration tax, VRT, plus a repayment of value added tax, VAT, on the purchase of the vehicle, plus a repayment of VAT on the cost of adaptation of that vehicle. Repayment of the excise duty on fuel used in the motor vehicle and exemption from payment of annual road tax to local authorities are also provided for.

An interdepartmental group was established to review the disabled drivers and disabled passengers (tax concessions) scheme. The group examined all aspects of the scheme. I have received the report of the review group and it is currently being considered. Any recommendations contained in this report will receive full consideration.

Any consideration of a change to the scheme will, among other factors, have to take account of any cost implications. The substantial tax benefits of the disabled drivers' and disabled passengers' scheme make for considerable interest in, and desire to be admitted to, the scheme.

The cost of reliefs, excluding annual road tax costs, is estimated to be in the region of €34 million in 2002, as compared to €5.1 million in 1994.