Under current legislation, there are a limited number of exemptions from motor tax. There is no provision in legislation for exemptions from motor tax for individuals or organisations, rather exemptions are provided for by category of vehicle. Many of the categories of exemptions, such as those for fire engines and ambulances, have been in place since the 1920’s, when all such vehicles would have been in State ownership.
The determination of the appropriate vehicle licence (motor tax disc) for a vehicle in any individual instance is a matter for the local licensing authority (motor tax office). Licensing authorities have an obligation under Article 3 of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing)(Amendment) Regulations 1992 to be satisfied that a vehicle licence being applied for is the appropriate licence for the vehicle concerned.
Motor tax legislation does not contain a definition of an ambulance. My Department, in issuing guidance to motor tax offices on this matter in the past, has advised that an ambulance means a vehicle which is specially designed, constructed or adapted, and is primarily used following registration, for the conveyance of injured or seriously ill persons to a hospital on a stretcher and which is permanently fitted to accommodate and hold in position one or more standard stretchers.