Tag Archives: green diesel

Mineral Oil Tax

Here is a list showing the number of returns for Mineral Oil Tax, the number of litres declared and the tax paid. Everyone in Ireland who owns a diesel-powered boat, and fuels it with green diesel, should be making a return; clearly very few are, and I suspect most of the litres (and the money) come from the hire firms. If that is so, their business is improving again.

Year Payers Litres Amount
2010 for 2009 38 n/a n/a
2011 for 2010 41 n/a n/a
2012 for 2011 22 141,503.29 €53,398.58
2013 for 2012 23 301,674 €113,841.45
2014 for 2013 20 279,842.4 €105,561.74
2015 for 2014 26 289,151 €108,934.80
2016 for 2015 18 371,666 €140,021.51
2017 for 2016 21 384,150 €144,724.65

As far as I can make out, in the nine months ending 30 September 2015 (the latest figures I can find here) the Irish Sailing Association [PDF] received €899,000 and individual sailing persons a further €114,000 from the taxpayer. Furthermore, pretty well the entire cost of the inland waterways is met by the taxpayer.

 

Patriyachtism

It will be recalled that, for many years, the governments of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Ireland subsidised the owners of private pleasure craft by allowing them to use the cheap diesel permitted for off-road use (not that farmers should get subsidies either). The EU (or whatever it was called at the time) told them to stop; they asked for, and received, several derogations to allow them time to comply; during that time they stuck their thumbs in their collective bums and did nothing. Eventually the EU got fed up and told them to get on with it.

The Irish government’s pretence at compliance was particularly ludicrous and contemptible. It said that yacht-owners (using “yacht” as shorthand for “private pleasure craft”) could continue to buy marked gas-oil (cheap or green diesel) at the rebated (cheap) price but that, once a year, they should tell the Revenue Commissioners how much they had bought, work out the amount of the underpayment and pay that sum to the Revenue.

I can’t imagine how the Revenue Commissioners thought that was going to work, but they seem to have been happy with a scheme that facilitated — nay, encouraged — tax evasion by those sufficiently well off to own yachts. Someone in the Irish Times, perhaps after having had his or her ear bent over a few pink gins at the bar of the George, referred to this as an “honour system”; there was no evidence that she or he had actually checked the compliance rate to assess the effectiveness of the scheme and the extent of honour amongst yacht-owners.

The figures for the year 2015, as of 15 April 2016, were kindly supplied by the Revenue Commissioners some months ago; here they are, with those for previous years.

For the record:

Year Payers Litres Amount
2010 for 2009 38 n/a n/a
2011 for 2010 41 n/a n/a
2012 for 2011 22 141,503.29 €53,398.58
2013 for 2012 23 301,674 €113,841.45
2014 for 2013 20 279,842.4 €105,561.74
2015 for 2014 26 289,151 €108,934.80
2016 for 2015 18 371,666 €140,021.51

I suspect that the increase in the number of litres paid for might represent the improved business for the hire fleets in 2015, but I would welcome information on the subject.

In 2015 the Irish Sports Council gave the Irish Sailing Association €1,121,900.

 

Big it up for the Kingstown Blazers

Hats off to the Irish Sailing Association for its successful campaign to persuade owners of diesel-powered pleasure craft to pay the Mineral Oil Tax. The ISA reckoned that, if more folk paid up, the nasty foreigners might allow boaters to continue to use patriotic green diesel:

It may already be too late to save the present diesel supply system in Ireland, but the very least we can do is to strengthen the country’s case by paying the tax. If we don’t do that, we won’t have a leg to stand on.

There have been other press releases since then, and the ISA has said that

The issue for leisure sailors is not the price of diesel but its availability.

Which suggests that it’s only a series of misfortunes that has prevented 99.75% of owners from paying the tax they should have paid. Perhaps the dog ate their chequebooks.

But the ISA put its shoulder to the wheel, its nose to the grindstone and its money where its mouth was, calling on other people to pay up. And, by golly, they did. It is no doubt as a result of the ISA’s call that the number of folk paying Mineral Oil Tax in 2015 (for 2014) was …

30%

… up on the previous year’s figure.

Admittedly that just meant it went from 20 to 26, so the non-compliance rate is still around 99.75%, but let us not mock honest effort. If the number continues to increase at six a year, there will be full compliance by the year 3677, which will be good; I look forward to recording the event.

For the record:

Year Payers Litres Amount
2010 for 2009 38 n/a n/a
2011 for 2010 41 n/a n/a
2012 for 2011 22 141,503.29 €53,398.58
2013 for 2012 23 301,674 €113,841.45
2014 for 2013 20 279,842.4 €105,561.74
2015 for 2014 26 289,151 €108,934.80

The income generated by the tax is about 10% of the amount the ISA gets from the state every year.

 

Better drowned than duffers

The Irish Sailing Association is at it again, lobbying for the retention of a system under which the vast majority of owners of diesel-powered private pleasure craft can safely engage in tax dodging.

The ISA folk don’t want you think about that part of it so, although they say that they hold “no brief for those who have not complied with the current arrangements”, they concentrate on all the disasters that will befall leisure sailing folk if they can’t buy cheap diesel. Apparently there will be outbreaks of scurvy, plagues of locusts and unwanted exercise if boaters can’t continue to buy subsidised fuel.

You can read it all here if you want a laugh, but Commander Walker’s immortal words come to mind:

BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS IF NOT DUFFERS WON’T DROWN.

If owners of private pleasure craft are as nitwitted as the ISA say …

Leisure vessels would go to sea either overburdened with spare cans of fuel, or with insufficient reserves on board. Distress situations would arise and lives would be at risk.

… they will at least have the consolation of knowing they may be nominated for the Darwin Award. But I don’t believe they are, and I believe in the power of the free market: if seafaring yachties have to use white diesel, a supply will arise to meet the demand.

The ISA are asking us to ignore the elephant in the room: to treat as an incidental and minor side-effect the fact that (by my reckoning) 99.75% of those who should be paying tax are not doing do. That scale of tax-dodging means that the current scheme is a complete failure, indeed a farce. It would have been really nice if the ISA had used their accumulated brainpower to devise schemes whereby yachties (and other owners of diesel-powered private pleasure craft) would have to pay the full price for their fuel.

The ISA say …

The issue for leisure sailors is not the price of diesel but its availability.

… but the fact that (at a rough guess) only 0.25% of them have been paying the proper rate of tax for the past five years, even though all they have to do is to send a cheque to the Revenue Commissioners, strongly suggests to me that “leisure sailors” are keenly interested in the price and have few qualms about ripping off the state.

According to Practical Boat Owner 584 March 2015, one Harry Hermon, described as “chief executive of the RSA”, said:

The ISA’s role is to promote the sport and to protect the interests of Irish sailors, hence the ISA’s interest in this matter. It is not the ISA’s remit to regulate or to enforce regulation.

But what the ISA is doing goes well beyond the neutrality that that suggests: it is actively promoting and lobbying for the retention of a scheme that facilitates tax-dodging by boat-owners. The ISA’s stance might be slightly less irritating if their friend Cantillon in the Irish Times hadn’t been prating about an “honour system” for paying the requisite tax. In 2014 just 20 boat-owners paid the tax for 2013 [I have not yet got the figures for 2015, covering tax due for 2014], which suggests that honour is not to be relied upon.

You might think that the ISA would have an interest in the financial health of the state: after all, the taxpayers give them over one million euro a year. But perhaps, in the yachting world, it’s more blessed to receive than to give?

Background

The ISA are lobbying because the European Commission has taken an interest.

 

Roll up! Roll up!

Download the form for paying Mineral Oil Tax on green diesel used for private pleasure navigation here [PDF]. The Kingstown Blazers are relying on you to save green diesel supplies:

It may already be too late to save the present diesel supply system in Ireland, but the very least we can do is to strengthen the country’s case by paying the tax. If we don’t do that, we won’t have a leg to stand on.

After all

How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

 

 

Green diesel

Big it up for Messrs Breakingnews.ie for the information that the European Commission is taking Ireland to court over the ludicrous regulations for the use of green diesel in private pleasure craft. The topic has been covered here more than once, most recently here; I discussed the ludicrous regulations here.

Breakingnews.ie says that Ireland ignored the EU’s “letters” (presumably the Reasoned Opinion) on the subject. That is consoling, because my own requests for information about Ireland’s response to the Reasoned Opinion have likewise been ignored.

The EU’s press release is here; the EU notes that

While Irish law requires craft owners to pay to the Revenue the difference between the tax paid on marked gas oil and that due if the gas oil had been charged at the standard rate, the low number of tax returns indicate that the minimum level of taxation is not applied.

Indeed.

Marked fuel

The European Commission is taking the UK government to court because it

… does not require fuel distributors to have two separate fuel tanks to distinguish between the lower tax marked fuel and the fuel subject to the standard rate.

As a result, owners of pleasure craft sometimes (poor dears) find themselves with no choice but to buy red diesel and they may not pay the right amount of tax, which is no doubt a cause of great sadness to them.

As I (and the Irish Examiner) reported some time ago, the Commission is also coming after Ireland’s ludicrous arrangement. Ireland was to respond to the Reasoned Opinion by 16 June 2014; the Revenue Commissioners have not told me how (or indeed whether) they responded.

 

 

Green diesel: reasoned opinion [updated]

Some news on one of our favourite topics.

The European Commission has formally requested Ireland to amend its legislation to ensure that private pleasure boats can no longer buy lower taxed fuel intended for fishing boats. Under EU rules on fiscal marking for fuels, fuel that can benefit from a reduced tax rate has to be marked by coloured dye. Fishing vessels for example are allowed to benefit from fuel subject to a lower tax rate but private boats must use fuel subject to a standard rate. Currently, Ireland breaches EU law by allowing the use of marked fuel for the purposes of propelling private pleasure craft. As a consequence, private leisure boats can not only use fuel intended for fishing vessels, subject to a lower taxation, but also risk heavy penalties if they travel to another Member State and the ship is checked by the local authorities. The Commission’s request takes the form of a reasoned opinion. In the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may refer Ireland to the EU’s Court of Justice.

European Commission press release dated 16 April 2014, about three quarters of the way down the page.

Update: I see that the Irish Examiner noticed the EC statement. And NESC believes (sensibly) that green diesel should be scrapped altogether. Which won’t happen, because if you didn’t have unnecessary or ridiculous regulations Irish politicians wouldn’t be able to pretend to be doing something useful by playing with them.

 

Mineral Oil Tax returns for 2013

I have been pointing out for many years that the Mineral Oil Tax is paid by only a tiny minority of Irish boat-owners, although it should be paid by all those who use rebated (green) diesel for propulsion of private pleasure craft. You can read my previous postings here, here, here and here, with information on how to pay, in 2014, the tax due for 2013 here.

Twelve months ago I gave the figures for the years 2009–2012.

In 2010, 38 boat-owners paid the tax for 2009.

In 2011, 41 boat-owners paid the tax for 2010.

In 2012, 22 boat-owners paid the tax for 2011. The total amount received was €53,398.58 on 141,503.29 litres of diesel, an average of 6432.1 litres per return; I reckoned that much of that figure was accounted for by the hire fleets.

In 2013, 23 boat-owners paid the tax for 2012. The total amount received was €113,841.45 on 301,674 litres of diesel. I was unable to explain the increase.

I now have the latest figures. In 2014, 20 boat-owners paid the tax for 2013. The amount received was €105,561.74 on 279,842.4  litres of diesel. This is the smallest number of returns since the idiotic tax was introduced.

I have suggested to the Revenue Commissioners that they should compare the reported total number of litres of diesel bought with the total sales reported by those Licensed Marked Fuel Traders who sell at marinas. The licensing system has been in operation since October 2012 so Revenue should be able to determine the total sales for 2013 and compare them with the reported purchases. The match is unlikely to be exact but the orders of magnitude would be interesting. If Revenue releases the figures to me I will report them here.

 

Diesel

The Revenue Commissioners [whom god bless and preserve] and their UK counterparts intend to add a new marker to rebated diesel to make it more difficult for oiks, cads and rotters to pollute the countryside.

If they had any sense, they would abolish rebated diesel altogether and force everybody — including boat-owners — to pay the full rate.