RHA Lobbying Influences Ireland to Re-instate Road Fuel Excise Rebate Scheme

The RHA on behalf of its International members have been actively lobbying Local Executive Ministers, Central Government in Westminster, HMRC, contacts within the European Commission and the Irish Government to re-instate the road fuel TIPP/TIPCE excise reclaim scheme for NI hauliers.

We held several meetings with the relevant Government Departments and were supported by hauliers affected by the loss of access to the scheme. We also had additional support from Jonathan Walsh, Fortior Insight https://fortiorinsight.com/ and Mark McConkey from AS24 Total https://www.as24.com/en, both of whom are working with businesses in the haulage industry.

As a consequence of the UK leaving the EU on the 31st December 2020, hauliers who undertake international road transport and purchase road fuel in a number of EU states, are no longer able to reclaim TIPP/TIPCE (An excise duty on fuel purchased in certain EU Countries). This domestic consumption excise tax levied by certain EU states on petroleum products (TIPCE) (formerly known as TIPP) is a tax on fuel and energy products, framed around Directive 2003/96/EC and various other legal statutes.

The levy rate per litre is calculated on the basis of the volume sold. The amount of duty is determined by each country yearly, and hauliers are able to obtain a partial refund of the excise duty paid.

The eligibility criteria to qualify for the rebates included:

-The company must be a private or public company subject to commercial law.

-The company must be established in the European Union.

-The vehicle must be used exclusively for the road transport of goods.

-The company must own or lease the vehicle with a leasing or rental contract of over 2 years.

-Vehicles of at least 7.5 tonnes maximum authorised payload/gross vehicle weight

-Vehicle registered in a country that is a member of the European community.

-Vehicle authorised to travel on the road.

-Vehicle intended to transport goods and thus equipped with equipment such as dumpster, trailer, loading platform, tank or container attachment.

-Vehicle was purchased and invoiced in a participating EU country.

-The fuel was consumed within the half-year period for which the request is filed.

-For all travel within the EU as well as in third countries.

Stiff Competition

Northern Irish Hauliers face stiff competition from Irish hauliers for contracts to or from mainland Europe and the potential loss of access to this tax rebate scheme would have a serious impact on their business model and ultimately, impact on their financial viability.

It appears that the loss of access to this scheme for NI hauliers, and the significant impact it would have, went under the radar of both the Local Executive and Central Government. Given that, in effect there is still a land border on the Island of Ireland for issues such as this, a case was made to the Irish Government via the North/South Ministerial Council and to HMRC in the UK Government to highlight our concerns and to ensure proper cognisance was given to this issue to ensure fair competition and a level playing field for road transport on the island of Ireland and under the NI Protocol.

After a number of engagements, the Irish Government appear to have agreed to re-instate the scheme for qualifying NI hauliers who purchase road fuel in Ireland. This is a significant achievement as it both enables NI hauliers who purchase fuel in Ireland to reclaim the excise duty, but it also sets a precedent, and hopefully other EU states will follow the Irish lead.

I’ve spoken to a number of hauliers engaged in International haulage who have expressed considerable concern at the loss of access to the scheme.

Tight Margins

Pat Campbell owner of Campbell Transport based in Co-Down operates a fleet of articulated vehicles doing European work. He spoke to me recently and indicated that “as an international haulier operating out of Northern Ireland for over 30 years, the loss of the TIPCE fuel excise rebate will have a major effect on my business operating on international journeys to the EU.” He added: “Margins are so tight you have to price a job based on where you can purchase fuel at the best rate as you are competing with all other European international hauliers. In the price you quote for European work you take cognizance of the TIPCE rebate.

“As an example, the fuel we purchased last year within participating EU states entitled us to a total TIPCE rebate in the region of £30,000. This makes a significant contribution to the profitability of my business and without it I will have to relocate my company to Southern Ireland to enable me to compete with hauliers there.

“It does not make sense that under the new trading arrangements goods from Northern Ireland can move without restrictions within the EU single market, however the hauliers based here are restricted in moving those goods. This will enable EU hauliers to undercut our rates by £200 to £300 pounds per run resulting in the loss of jobs and businesses closing down or moving to the EU.

“We really appreciate the work undertaken by the RHA on this issue and illustrates the value of strong local representation.”

I have also spoke to Mark McConkey from AS24 Total who work on behalf of hauliers claiming the TIPCE rebates and Mark commented on the RHA campaign: “Getting access to the European Excise recovery schemes for NI haulage companies is of paramount importance to allow them to compete on a level playing field within the European Logistics Sector. The work that has been done year to date hopefully shows that we are heading in the right direction to help regain this important source of revenue.”

Get in Contact

We are actively following up on this issue via the Secretary of State for NI, Brandon Lewis, and Lord Frost to ensure it’s included in their negotiations with the EC. We would encourage any haulier who purchases fuel in the EU and would benefit from the re-introduction of the scheme to get in contact with us at j.martin@rha.uk.net or on 07778 966287 as the more examples and evidence we have the stronger the case we can make.