EU to take Ireland to court over yacht fuel breaches

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 authorities.

“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.

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