The deadline for renewing road tax has been extended to March 9 of each year on a permanent basis, under a law passed on Thursday.
The current law calls for road tax to be paid within 40 days from the expiry date; the new deadline is now 70 days, which falls on March 9.
The deadline for payment is usually the beginning of February but parliament traditionally extends it for a month.
In the House, MPs said the change is intended to ease the pressure on people, since the bulk of other levies – such as Immovable Property Tax – are payable in the November to December period.
Also on Thursday, legislators passed another law extending to March 31 the deadline for late payments of road tax on idle vehicles, and also slashed the late penalty from €30 to €10.
The arrears in question had been due in July 2014. An estimated 143,000 vehicles are affected, which amounts to €53m owed in unpaid road tax. The government has so far received a fraction of that amount.
Following a bill passed by parliament last November, owners of immobilised vehicles will be spared the road tax if they file an application to have the vehicle declared immobile.
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 the Road Transport Department (RTD) or give a sworn statement in court verifying that the vehicle is no longer in use.
This applies to vehicles not in use, vehicles that were destroyed in accidents and even vehicles that were bought but the previous owner had neglected to pay the road tax.
Sparing owners of idle vehicles was deemed necessary by the RTD, due to the high number of people refusing to pay the circulation tax on vehicles they no longer use.
The relevant declaration and objection forms have yet to be prepared by the transport ministry.
AKEL MP Andreas Fakondis said that if the paperwork and procedures on idle vehicles are delayed further, then parliament might subsequently have to grant another extension to this category of motorists.