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.