Forecourt owners could be forced to pay duty difference for customers’ green diesel misuse

Forecourt owners could be forced to pay duty difference for customers’ green diesel misuse

Forecourt owners could be forced to pay the difference in duty if they inadvertently sell green diesel to a customer who then uses it for an inappropriate purpose.

Irish Tax and Customs sent out the warning in a letter to forecourt owners across Ireland this week, sparking consternation that fuel businesses could be fined for their customers’ misdeeds.

Marked Mineral oil is subject to a lower rate of tax, and is supposed to be used for agricultural vehicles.

With the rising cost of diesel at the moment, Revenue warned that there is potential for an increased risk of use of marked diesel in private motor vehicles.

The letter cite Regulation 24(1) of the Mineral Oil Tax Regulations 2012, which states:

“24(1) Where a mineral  oil trader supplies marked gas oil or marked kerosene at the premises of place of that mineral trader –

(a) to another mineral oil trader for consignment by that other mineral oil trader, or

(b) to a person other than a mineral oil trader, in a quantity not exceeding 2,000 litres and not for delivery to any other person, the supplying mineral oil trader shall keep a record, showing all the information relevant to that supply that is required under Regulation 23(4).

“Where the records required to be kept in accordance with Regulation 23(4) (Customers’s Name, Address and, where applicable, VAT Registration Number ) under the Mineral Oil Tax Regulation. cannot be supplied when requested, then, in accordance with Section 99 (10) Finance Act 2001, you may be liable to pay additional excise duty based on the difference between the lower rebated rate applied to marked mineral oil and the higher standard rate applied to unmarked mineral oil.”

One forecourt owner branded the warning ‘grossly unfair’ and said fuel retailers whose customers found loopholes to fill up with green diesel illegally could end up taking the hit.

For example, those who had installed OPT pumps that run 24 hours a day may not be present at night to inform customers of the rules before they fill up or to take their details as required by the Revenue.

“It’s a grey area. Our job is to run the business outside, but the Revenue can come after us for the difference if somebody buys it and doesn’t use it for what they’re supposed to,” the forecourt owner said.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty because the Revenue has not notified the general public that this is happening.

“They could have done this in s different way, such as running a campaign in the newspapers and on the radio for the general public that if they put in green diesel when they shouldn’t there will be consequences. They could have approached this better – this is grossly unfair.”