Thursday, 28 January 2016
Department of Finance
Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme
63. To ask the Minister for Finance the status of an application for repayment of excise duty on fuel used in motor vehicles, for the transport of drivers with disabilities by a person (details supplied) including if he will expedite same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3481/16]
I am advised by Revenue that a repayment will issue to the person concerned for years up to 2014 in the next week. A form on which to make a claim for 2015 has been sent to the person concerned and this will be processed when received by Revenue.
64. To ask the Minister for Finance when disabled drivers will receive their repayment for excise on fuel payments; if these payments are now overdue; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3483/16]
My Department expects to make the first tranche of payments of the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Fuel Grant shortly in respect of applications made in the first three weeks of January 2016. My Department then expects to make payments every two weeks from the week beginning 1 February 2016.
Many beneficiaries of the Fuel Grant will have applied online on 1 January of this year, and the intention was to make payments from mid-January. However, some IT issues on the new payment system arose which have delayed payments. These issues are now in the process of being resolved and payments will shortly proceed to be made on a bimonthly basis.
I think it is important to provide the Deputy with some of the background to the introduction of the Fuel Grant.
From 1969 to 2014, the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme provided for the repayment of excise duty on fuel used by beneficiaries of the Scheme. Following a judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union of April 2013, the repayment of excise element of the Scheme was found to be incompatible with the Energy Tax Directive. Following negotiations with the European Commission it was agreed that the repayment of excise duty should be discontinued as of 31 December 2014.
As I stated in March 2014, to ensure that no beneficiary of the Scheme lost out as a result of the Court's ruling, I decided to introduce a new fuel grant effective from 1 January 2015. Section 81 of the Finance Act 2015 provided for the making of regulations to govern the operation of the fuel grant, which I subsequently made through the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Fuel Grant Regulations (S.I. No. 635 of 2015). The Revenue Commissioners are processing Fuel Grant applications and, as I have indicated, my Department is making the payments to beneficiaries.
The Fuel Grant is paid at the same rate as the rates for repayment of excise duty on fuel. Accordingly, I have maintained the rate for petrol at €0.59 per litre, the rate for diesel at €0.48 per litre, and the rate for liquefied petroleum gas at €0.10 per litres. This Fuel Grant maintains the previous practice of paying the sum 12 months in arrears, so that the Revenue Commissions began processing applications on behalf of my Department from 1 January 2016.
With the assistance of the Revenue Commissioners, a number of improvements have been made to the administration of the Scheme. For example, beneficiaries are now able to apply for the fuel grant online on the Revenue website through the 'myAccount' feature, and payments are made directly into beneficiaries' accounts.