Non-Use of Motor Vehicles Bill 2013

The Non-Use of Motor Vehicles Bill 2013 is currently winding its’ way through the corridors of power in Leinster House. We take a look at what it will mean for the Irish motorcycling community.

The Non-Use of Motor Vehicles Bill 2013 (source here) is a major change to the road tax regime in Ireland.


If you have a shed like this, be prepared for a lot of paperwork.
(Image credit:

Currently when a vehicle is off the road, a declaration of non-use is signed after the fact stating the “period of non-use”, usually when applying for a new tax disc. This declaration is signed at a Garda station where the function of the Garda is to witness the signature, not to ascertain the truth of the declaration.

This bill will introduce a system similar to the UK’s Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) process.

Research suggests that up to €55m of motor-tax annually is lost through abuse of this system. For example, thousands of untaxed vehicles show up on the records of the M50 toll operators, many of which are taxed (no arrears paid, declaration of non-use signed) a few months later.

The bill has cross-party support, and is likely to pass into law sometime in late summer, early Autumn 2013.

The bill introduces a number of important changes:

  • Any period of non-use must be notified before the expiry of the current tax disc, or the current period of non-use.

  • A declaration of non-use may be made for a period of 3 to 12 months in advance.

  • There is provision for an administrative fee to make a declaration
    (you may have to pay a fee where the road tax is normally €120 or more)

  • There will be a three-month grace period on the introduction of the legislation during which owners of untaxed vehicles must either:

    • Tax the vehicle (making a declaration of non-use, or paying arrears as appropriate)

    • Make a declaration of non-use in the “old fashioned” format – and declare a new period of non-use under the new system.

A recent report which we covered previously (see here), tells us that some 57% of Irish motorcycles are currently untaxed – presumably legitimately not in use.

Our own research (click here) has shown that the majority of motorcyclists have more than one bike registered.

Old Moto Guzzi

Own something like this?You’ll need to declare it off road.
(Image Credit: Flickr)

So, what does this legislation mean for the Irish motorcyclist?

Firstly, there’s some good news – while there is a provision in the bill for an administrative fee – it will not apply to vehicles for which the motor tax is less than €119 annually which means it’s going to be more of a paperwork exercise for motorcyclists with many bikes.

If you have a motorbike which is currently off the road with an expired tax disc, when this bill passes into law you are going to find yourself making a trip to your local Garda station to declare that it has been off the road.

Once you have that declaration in your hands, you must then either:

  • tax the bike, or
  • declare it off the road for a further 3 to 12 months ahead.

You must renew the declaration of non-use prior to the expiry of the current off road period.

Buying and selling:

Any declaration of non-use will become void on the transfer of ownership – so if you buy a bike which is currently declared off-the-road, you must (once the documents are in your name) either tax it yourself or declare it off the road. This must be done within 10 days of the transfer of ownership.

Do I have to keep the bike in a garage to declare it off-the-road?

The bill, as it stands, tells us that a vehicle must be taxed if it is kept in a “Public Place” within the meaning of the 1952 Excise Duty (Vehicles) Act – as amended by the Finance Act 1976.

“public place” means any street, road or other place to which the public have access with vehicles, whether as of right or by permission and whether subject to or free of charge;

So, while you don’t have to keep it in a garage – you cannot declare a vehicle off-the-road if it is parked on the side of the road outside your house.

How does this compare to SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) in the UK?

Overall, it’s quite similar, almost identical in spirit, but as usual, the devil is in the detail.

  • UK: Under SORN, a vehicle off-the-road prior to the introduction was exempt from SORN requirements (though once re-taxed comes back under the act).

  • Ireland: Under the Non-Use of Motor Vehicles Bill 2013, all vehicles owned must be taxed, or declared off-the-road proactively – there are no exemptions.

  • Ireland: Under the Non-Use of Motor Vehicles Bill 2013, as long as it’s not used or kept in a “Public Place”, it may be considered off-the-road.

MAG Ireland LogoWe in MAG Ireland will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds ahead of the law coming in which is expected to be later this year.

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The bill in full:,32737,en.pdf

The executive summary:,32738,en.pdf

See also:

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Update: The original post had an erroneous reference to the UK SORN provisions, and this has been removed.
You may also be interested in our post about notifying modifications – click here
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