New/Young drivers wouldn’t be expected to know the ins & outs of car/motor tax rates in Ireland. It can seem confusing as it has many levels, but understanding and getting used to what rates your car falls within is easier than you think.
Let’s take a quick look at the reasoning for car tax, how its decided, and how to get help from The AA to figure out what tax you need to pay.
Why is there car/motor tax in Ireland?
Ireland is a car-heavy country. With many of us dependent on our cars for getting around, our roads and motorways need maintenance. To afford to do so, the government simply imposes a motor tax.
How are car tax rates calculated?
There’s a simple rule of thumb that the government uses to start its calculations: “The rates of tax for cars registered after July 1, 2008, is based on the emissions of the engine. Before that date, cars pay tax based on the size of the engine” (source).
Cars registered after 2009 have rates held within bands/ratings. This starts at A (for vehicles where CO2 emissions-grams per km are between 0-120) and goes to G (for vehicles where those emissions are more than 225g/km).
That tax rate can vary yearly in line with the annual budget. This article is being written in mid-2023, where someone within band A can have an annual rate between €120-€200.
If you’re buying an older car, different rules apply, with motor tax being based on the engine size. This is mainly down to emission data not being precise/something that wasn’t examined back then.
How would I know what tax band a car is in?
The Department of Transport has an online portal you can use here to check your car registration. It should be noted that there are two systems used, so take the time to read through the literature, as it can get confusing.
You can also get an AA Car History Check carried out. It will take you through a car’s tax history and highlight technical details, NCT history, and much more.
When should I pay car tax?
Your tax disc highlights what date a car is taxed, too. When renewing, you might wonder if paying the annual, bi-annual or quarterly rate is best. The flat annual payment is the best value if you can afford it. The bi-annual rate is usually 55% (i.e. you’ll be paying 110%) overall, while the quarterly rate is around 28.25%(i.e. you’ll pay 113%). It all comes down to what suits your budget best.
Can you be exempt from paying motor tax?
There are some conditions where a car is exempt, but it’s typically reserved for specific use cases and not for individual/private drivers. For example, someone driving an adapted/accessible vehicle may be eligible for tax relief.
Thinking of buying your next car and want to know the tax rate?
Make the search for your next car as hassle-free as possible. Use The AA Approved Car program to find a better deal on approved used cars, with AA Roadside Rescue included.