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VAT blow to drivers using toll motorway

Drivers to Dublin face forking out an extra 21% in toll charges on the Republic's busiest motorway after Europe ordered the Irish roads operator to charge VAT.

The National Roads Authority said yesterday it has been ordered to begin adding 21% to the cost of using the Dublin Port Tunnel (DPT) and M50 toll from July 1.

It will affect up to 100,000 drivers who use the M50 daily, and a further 9,000 who use the tunnel.

The move comes after the European Court of Justice ruled last July that a VAT exemption on services provided by Irish authorities gave them an unfair advantage over private operators who were obliged to charge the tax.

But despite there not being a rival, privately-operated motorway serving the capital, meaning no competition issues arise, the Revenue Commissioners have ordered the NRA to impose VAT on the M50 and Dublin Port Tunnel.

The NRA said it would pay the VAT pending the outcome of an appeal, which will be €1.4m (£1.1m) a month Motorists are charged different rates on the M50 with cheaper tolls applying to those who have an account.

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