By Constantinos Psillides
OWNERS of immobilised vehicles will be spared the road tax if they file an application to have the vehicle declared immobile, the House Communications committee decided yesterday.
Vehicle owners who have not paid their road tax for the last three years, on vehicles they are no longer using, will not be subjected to a road tax if they file an application with Road and Transportation Department (RTD) or give a sworn statement in court to verify that the vehicle is no longer in use.
This applies to vehicles not used, vehicles that were destroyed in accidents and even vehicles that were bought but the previous owner had neglected to pay the road tax.
The proposed bill, that enjoys cross-party support, will be put to a final vote at next week’s plenary session of the House.
The measure was deemed necessary due to the high number of people refusing to pay road tax on vehicles they no longer use. The RTD estimates that around 135,000 owners have an outstanding debt on 143,000 vehicles, which amounts to €53m owed in road tax. The government has so far received a fraction of that amount, just €9.5m, since only 28,000 owners settled their debt.
Those who have already paid the road tax on their immobilised vehicle will be refunded.
People who haven’t paid their road tax for over three years are required to both file an application and settle the excess debt. A chunk of the road tax owed comes from vehicle owners who haven’t paid in years, reaching a point where they cannot afford to pay the whole sum. These owners now have three years’ worth of road tax less to worry about. The House has already invited these vehicle owners to settle their debt in 12 monthly instalments. The deadline for this settlement expires on February 2015.
Communications committee chair Antonis Antoniou is fully aware that some might mistake this as an opportunity to get out of paying their road tax and keep using their car. “We will be very strict on this aspect. People found to have filed false statements with the court just to get out of paying for the road tax will be subjected to a hefty fine and possible jail time,” he said.