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Written Answers - Motor Taxation

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 542.  Deputy Peter Mathews Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews  asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar  his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding motor tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23841/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Departments in line with eGovernment objectives are required to identify opportunities which will optimise online service availability for customers and at the same time deliver much needed cost savings to the Exchequer. The online motor tax service is recognised as one the major successes of eGovernment services and at this stage nearly 60% of vehicle owners who are eligible to do so renew their motor tax online. Focus is now being placed on other aspects of the motor tax renewal process where customer service can be improved and savings can be achieved through more imaginative use of the online services. My Department issues over 4.5 million paper based motor tax renewal notices each year at a cost of €2 million. Transfer to electronic reminders will significantly reduce costs associated the paper based system. In practical terms the objective is that motorists who use the online service to pay tax will receive the tax reminder and the online PIN through electronic means rather than posted notice. Initially notice by email is being introduced but it is planned to extend this to include notice by SMS (mobile phone) assuming successful pilot results. This is logical and is supported in the results of a customer survey carried out by my Department on some 3000 customers whose overwhelming preference was for electronic rather than paper based reminders. Only customers who elect for electronic reminders will receive them and those customers who wish to remain with the paper based system may do so. The process of ‘signing up’ owners who wish to avail of electronic reminders is in progress for some months and is achieved as part of the completion of an online motor tax application. Customers that have signed up for the electronic facility also have the facility to ‘opt out’ at any stage. Those who have not selected this option, or those who have taxed their vehicle at the local Motor Tax Office, whom in general it would be assumed include those that do not have access to email, will continue to receive their motor tax renewal notice by post.

The issuing of email tax renewal notices has recently commenced on a pilot basis to vehicle owners in one local authority area, Wicklow, which has a big urban/rural profile as well as significant online motor tax service usage and will be extended nationwide over the coming months subject to the pilot operating successfully. The electronic reminder service is governed by specific technical and security measures which will guarantee that electronic reminders will not be categorised as junk email or spam. These include technical measures to enable Internet Service Providers to correctly identify the Department as the bona fide email sender, compliance with industry best practice guidelines for the sending of electronic correspondence and compliance with industry programs for the management of sender reputation.

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