Irish legislation allows private pleasure boats to use marked fuel despite EU rules against it

The EU is taking Ireland to court over the
misuse of marked fuel in private yachts after the country’s legislation has failed
to be changed.

Currently in Ireland, private pleasure
craft are allowed to buy and use a fuel that benefits from a reduced tax rate,
despite EU rules against it.

As a result, the European Commission has
decided to refer the country to the Court of Justice of the European Union for
not properly applying the rules on fiscal marking on fuel.

Under EU legislation, fuel that can
benefit from a reduced tax rate has to be marked by coloured dye.

Fishing boats are among some of the vessels
allowed to use this fuel, while private yachts must use a fuel subject to a
standard rate.

The European Commission said in a statement:
“Currently, Ireland breaches EU law by allowing the use of marked fuel for the
purposes of private pleasure craft.

“As a consequence, private leisure boats
cannot only use fuel intended for fishing vessels but also risk heavy penalties
if they travel to another member state and the boat is inspected by the local

“Moreover, it cannot be considered that
Ireland has properly implemented its obligation to apply a minimum level of
taxation in accordance with Directive 2003/96/EC.

While Irish law requires craft owners to
pay to the Revenue the difference between the tax paid on marked gas oil and
that due if the gas oil had been charged at the standard rate, the low number
of tax returns indicate that the minimum level of taxation is not applied.”

The European Commission made a request for
Irish authorities to amend the relevant legislation back in April, but so far
nothing has been done.

“As there have been no changes to the
legislation, the Commission has decided to bring the matter before the Court of
Justice,” the commission said.