Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Questions (76)

Paul Connaughton

Question:

76. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for Finance the reason the fuel rebate for bus owners recently introduced in the budget is limited to those who use over 2,000 litres of fuel per month as this unfairly disadvantages smaller operators who are commercial bus operators and use over 1,000 litres per month but who fail to meet the 2,000 litre threshold; if there are plans to remedy this matter to allow smaller operators to compete successfully with their larger competitors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15627/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I introduced this scheme in the Finance Act 2013 in order to provide for a repayment to qualifying road haulage and bus operators of a part of the mineral oil tax paid on their purchases of auto-diesel for use in the course of business. In order to address the risk of widespread abuse of the scheme, provision was made for certain restrictions on the means by which the auto-diesel concerned may be purchased. Purchases in bulk must be made from a licensed mineral oil trader, and delivered, in a quantity exceeding 2,000 litres, to a premises or place that is under the control of that qualifying road transport operator. Bulk purchases from licensed mineral oil traders can be verified by reference to the monthly electronic returns that the oil traders are required to make to Revenue.

In designing the scheme, I was conscious of the point raised by the Deputy.  Accordingly, the scheme provides that purchases of smaller quantities, by means of a fuel card approved by Revenue for that purpose, may also qualify for repayment and there is no minimum requirement on purchases made in this way. A fuel card will be approved where Revenue is satisfied that the fuel card provider will supply it with the information required about purchases of auto-diesel by means of that card. There are a number of fuel card providers who can supply suitable fuel cards to road transport operators and fuel retailers.

The purchasing arrangements under the scheme are necessary to enable Revenue to manage repayments to qualifying operators while controlling the risk of fraud. The requirements of the scheme, including those relating to fuel purchases, were explained at length during meetings between Revenue and representative bodies of the transport operators prior to its commencement.