The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme provides a range of tax reliefs linked to the purchase and use of specially constructed or adapted vehicles by drivers and passengers with a disability. The rules of the scheme are set out in the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994 (SI 353/1994) as amended. Under the scheme, you can claim:
- Remission or repayment of vehicle registration tax (VRT)
- Repayment of value-added tax (VAT) on the purchase of a vehicle
- Repayment of VAT on the cost of adapting a vehicle
If you qualify for the scheme, you may get some additional exemptions and benefits including:
- An exemption from motor tax on the vehicle, see ‘How to apply’ below.
- An exemption from toll road fees, see ‘How to apply’ below.
- The fuel grant, see ‘Rates’ below.
The qualifying person
To qualify for tax relief under the scheme, the person with a disability must have a valid Primary Medical Certificate. A Primary Medical Certificate confirms you are severely and permanently disabled and:
- Are completely or almost completely without the use of both legs or
- Are completely without the use of one of your legs and almost completely without the use of the other leg to the extent that you are severely restricted as regards movement in your legs or
- Are without both hands or both arms or
- Are without one or both legs or
- Are completely or almost completely without the use of both hands or arms and completely or almost completely without the use of one leg or
- Have the medical condition of dwarfism and serious difficulties of movement of the legs
Local Health Offices of the Health Service Executive (HSE) process applications for a Primary Medical Certificate. If the HSE refuses your application for a Primary Medical Certificate, you can appeal the refusal to the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Rochestown Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.
The type of vehicle
If you are a driver or a passenger with a disability you can claim tax relief on:
- A new vehicle
- A used vehicle that has not been previously registered in the State
You can also buy a previously registered used vehicle, in which case the amount of the repayment will be the residual VAT contained in the value of the vehicle. However, the majority of used vehicles purchased from a dealer are purchased under the Margin Scheme. This means that no VAT is due when the vehicle is purchased and therefore no VAT is refundable.
If you bought the vehicle before you qualified as a disabled driver or disabled passenger, a repayment of VAT and VRT, appropriate to the market value of the vehicle at the time of entry to the scheme, will be made.
If you are a passenger with disabilities and you buy a used vehicle that has previously qualified for tax relief under the scheme for transporting disabled passengers and where the original adaptions remain in place when you buy it, it is eligible for the scheme.
To qualify for the tax relief the vehicle’s engine must be less than 6,000cc.
You do not have to purchase your vehicle from an authorised motor dealer, and you can use a hire purchase agreement to pay for the vehicle and still qualify for the tax relief.
A family member of a disabled passenger can also qualify for relief if they are living with and responsible for the transport of the disabled person in question and have got the vehicle for that purpose.
If the disabled person only stays with a family member on a part-time basis, the residency requirement is not met. However, if the disabled person is a minor who is in residential or medical care on a part-time or occasional basis and spends a significant part of their time at home, for example, every weekend and holidays, the residency requirement may be met. The Revenue Commissioners can waive the residency requirement in exceptional circumstances.
You should contact the Central Repayments Office to make sure that you meet the residency requirements for relief under the scheme before purchasing a vehicle.
Restrictions on disposal of the vehicle
“Disposal” means the sale of the vehicle, the gift of the vehicle to another person and the hiring or renting of the vehicle. The vehicle must not be disposed of for at least 2 years from the date the relief is granted. You must keep the vehicle for 3 years for a specifically adapted vehicle and 6 years for an extensively adapted vehicle.
You will only be allowed to dispose of the vehicle within the retention period if you refund the Revenue Commissioners a substantial portion of the relief given. This is calculated by looking at the value of the vehicle at the time of disposal.
If the vehicle is disposed of following damage in an accident, the damage will be taken into account in calculating the value of the vehicle at the time of disposal.
Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme
The maximum amount of VRT and VAT relief available under the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme depends on whether you are a disabled driver or passenger and how the car has been adapted. The maximum amounts are:
- Disabled drivers: €10,000
- Disabled passengers: €16,000
- Specifically adapted vehicles for drivers with severe disabilities: €16,000 (Specifically adapted vehicles are vehicles that need significant adaptations)
- Extensively adapted vehicles for drivers and passengers: €22,000 (Extensively adapted vehicles are vehicles that need adaptations that cost more than the open market selling price of the vehicle being adapted)
If you qualify for tax relief under the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme, you also qualify for the fuel grant. The fuel grant is paid per litre, up to a maximum of 2,730 litres per calendar year. The rate per litre is:
- Petrol – €0.602
- Diesel – €0.495
- LPG – €0.106
How to apply
Applying for an exemption from VRT (or a repayment of VRT and VAT)
You can find further details on this information from Revenue’s guide to the Tax Relief Scheme (pdf).
You can apply for an exemption from VRT (or a repayment of VRT and VAT) on Revenue’s MyAccount. You can register for MyAccount on revenue.ie. If you are applying for the first time, you will need to submit a primary medical certificate which you can upload on MyAccount. Revenue’s Quick Guide to Making Claims for Relief Online (pdf) shows what the application process looks like.
If your application is accepted for exemption from VRT, your account will be updated and you will get authorisation to buy a vehicle and an Exemption Notification that allows the vehicle to be registered as exempt from VRT at the NCTS centre. After you buy the vehicle, you may need to submit further documentation.
If your application is accepted for repayment of VRT and VAT, you may need to submit further documentation.
Applying by post
If you do not have online access, you can submit a paper form – Form DD1 (pdf). If you are applying for the first time, you should also include the original Primary Medical Certificate. You may also need to submit additional documents along with your application.
You can post your application to the Central Repayments Office, see ‘Where to apply’ below. Postal applications may experience delays during peak periods so you are encouraged to use the online service if possible.
Applying for exemption from motor tax
The way you apply for this motor tax exemption depends on whether your vehicle has been registered in Ireland before or not.
If your vehicle is being registered in Ireland for the first time, you must apply to Revenue for the motor tax exemption, see ‘Where to apply’ below for their contact details. You must include the vehicle’s chassis number and details of what adaptations have been made to the vehicle. If the application is successful, you will get a code from Revenue, which your motor dealer can use to register the vehicle. The Motor Tax Office will then issue an exempt tax disc to the registered owner of the vehicle.
Used or second hand vehicles
If you have a used or second hand vehicle, you need to apply to Revenue for the motor tax exemption, see ‘Where to apply’ below. If the application is successful you will get a certificate of approval.
You then need to go to your local Motor Tax Office to tax the vehicle. You need to bring the following documents with you:
- Certificate of approval
- Change of particulars form RF111
- Vehicle Registration Certificate
The Motor Tax Office will then issue an exempt tax disc, and a replacement Vehicle Registration Certificate to the registered owner.
Applying for the fuel grant
If you qualify for the scheme you are also eligible for a fuel grant, which is paid 12 months in arrears. You should keep your fuel receipts for 4 years, but do not have to submit them when you apply for the fuel grant. You have to estimate the percentage of the fuel that is used for your own transport or the transport of a disabled passenger.
You can claim your fuel grant by using Revenue’s online service myAccount. To register on myAccount you need your PPS number, mobile or landline number, email address and home address. If you do not have internet access you can contact the Revenue Commissioners, Forms & Leaflets Section on 1890 306 706 and request a paper form.
The fuel grant is paid directly into your bank account so you have to provide details of the account you want to be paid into.
Applying for a toll road exemption
Vehicles adapted for disabled drivers or passengers are entitled to an exemption from toll fees.
The new Disability Toll Exemption Scheme (DTES) allows drivers of qualifying vehicles to travel toll free on all Irish roads using their DTES disc. Only one application is needed under this new scheme, which has been in operation since 3 February 2020.
To qualify, your vehicle must be eligible for tax relief under the Drivers and Passengers with Disabilities Scheme.
You can apply for a DTES disc, and read more information about the rules of the scheme on dtes.ie.
If your vehicle is adapted and qualifies for tax relief, but you have not applied for a DTES disc, you can still travel toll free by going to the manned tollbooth and showing your tax disc.
If you have a toll free pass that was issued by an individual toll operator, your pass will continue to be valid until 1 July 2020, although TII recommends switching to the new scheme as soon as possible.
Where to apply
You can find further information on the tax relief scheme (pdf) on revenue.ie.