Lifting Lockdown Slowed – FTAI

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Just as we thought we were making some progress on getting back to normal, the Coronavirus has popped up again, although things remain fragile and uncertain the Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI) continues with the everyday tasks of  lobbying the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and other Government Departments on various issues. 

Aidan Flynn, General Manager at the FTAI reports: “The week of the 20 July was the original proposed date for the broader relaxation of the rules on movement. We have benefited from the commitment of the Irish people to managing the spread of COVID-19 so well that the reopening phases were accelerated allowing us to shop and travel around the country and meet our friends and relatives earlier than expected. This was welcome relief for all. So, it was disappointing to hear that the next phase of the reopening would be paused. The decision taken by the Government on Wednesday 15 July is proof enough that the virus has not gone away! The cautious approach by Government must be commended given what is at stake for the Irish economy and for the health and safety of our people. It is of course not good news for the tourism and hospitality sector which has suffered more than most. Those servicing this industry including the private coach industry, haulage sector, and those involved in entertainment and culture, which are all faced with prolonged uncertainty with their fleet of vehicles parked up.

All supports necessary must be considered by Government in order to ensure that those whose livelihoods are impacted significantly are supported until such a time that the virus is contained, and we return to normal activities. The FTA Ireland has raised awareness of the issues facing the coach and bus sector and the freight distribution and logistics sector to all stakeholders and the Government since the pandemic began. Most recently it is seeking the Road Safety Authority and the Department of Transport to review the Commercial Vehicle Testing regime for vehicles that are out of test due to the vehicles being park up as a consequence of COVID-19.”

  1. Where companies due to commercial constraints have had to park up their vehicles, and their Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Certificate (CVRT) has expired, that a derogation could be implemented to allow these companies register their vehicles off road. When they get back up and running, their CVRT certificate should not be backdated. Currently the requirement is to back date the test if the operator is late in arranging it.

(a) This request also applies to commercial trailers and PSV’s that are parked up – off road     due to COVID19.

  1. Postpone Collection of Road Tolls for the Coach and Bus and Heavy Goods Vehicles. Similar to the announcement in the UK where the collection of the road user levy in Northern Ireland and Great Britain will be postponed for 12 months commencing on the 1st of August 2020,

Subsistence rates have been updated in June 2020.

Some key points

  1. Appropriate books and records must be maintained by the employer so that Revenue can, on inspection, identify a driver receiving expenses with the job he or she has completed. The period of retention of records is six years after the end of the tax year to which the records refer. The records should indicate:

(a)    Details of journey,

(b)   Departure time,

(c)    Destination,

(d)   Invoice relating to the journey or delivery docket,

(e)    Expense sheet signed by driver and duly authorised.

2.    Goods and passenger vehicles first registered after 1 May 2006 must be fitted with a digital tachograph. If they are registered before that date, they can be fitted with either an analogue or digital tachograph. All tachograph recordings must be maintained and made available to Revenue. The tachograph records must be retained for six years as they represent part of the books and records of the haulier business.

o     The subsistence payment must only be applied to expenses wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred in the performance of the drivers’ duties. At no stage can they be regarded as an addition or as a substitute for wages.

o     Time spent on board long-distance ferries from Ireland direct to Europe (excluding UK) will not count for the overnight. No subsistence should be paid for the 2 days of the trip where a return is applicable. However, where a driver has commenced work or started their return trip ten hours or more prior to boarding the ferry and is more than 8km from their base then the 10-hour rate applies.

o     The overnight allowance rate is inclusive of the 10-hour subsistence rate.

More information can be found here https://www.revenue.ie/en/tax-professionals/tdm/income-tax-capital-gains-tax-corporation-tax/part-05/05-02-10.pdf