Licensed To Circulate

Dear Mum,

Well, here we are at the end of February and there’s still no sign of any substantial rain. There’s been the odd drop, but the ground is dry and rock hard at the moment. No puddles anywhere and not even the slightest bit of mud. So let’s hope that March is the wettest month that Cyprus has ever known, otherwise we’re all doomed!

I had a letter from those very nice people at the Bank of Cyprus this week:

‘Dear Customer’, it began.

A nice personal touch, I thought.

‘We are contacting you today to remind you that your road tax license is about to expire!!!

My first thought was ‘Why on earth does it need to be in bold and with three exclamation marks? It doesn’t even need one!’

My second thought was ‘How nice of them. You don’t get that from banks in the UKOGBANI’

My third thought was ‘How on earth do they know? Do they send people round to look at my windscreen and see if my road tax is out of date? What a service!’

My final thought was ‘No! It’s not possible. It can’t be about to expire. They must be wrong’

A quick bit of investigation soon told me that Car Circulation Tax, as it’s officially called in Cyprus, can be purchased for either 6 or 12 months, and expires at either the end of December or the end of June.

So the bank’s your road tax license is about to expire!!! must be out by two months.

But from what I can gather they don’t seem to be in too much of a hurry to collect the renewal fee.

According to the Cyprus Advanced Driving and Road Safety Network,

The Police inform the public, via the press and TV, when they will start to prosecute for the offence of not having or displaying a valid circulation licence. Prosecutions will start after 28th February 2008.

So what the bank actually meant was “You’re about to get nicked for not having any road tax!!!“.

Or circulation tax, rather.

Still nice of them to tell me though.

But they’re still wrong. I’m sure of it.

The whole system of Circulation Tax renewal has changed here recently. In addition to renewing it at a Department of Transport office, you can renew your car tax at a bank. Probably why the Bank Of Cyprus is sending out spam letters, trying to drum up business. Presumably they get a rake-back of some sort.

A new alternative is to apply for it online and print out your own tax disc! That sounds to me like a system that must be severely open to abuse somewhere along the line. But the Cyprus Advanced Driving and Road Safety Network does advise you when you print it out to,

Make sure you have enough ink

Yikes! How big is this tax disc? Just how much ink will I need? And if I run out of ink, why can’t I simply replace the ink cartridge and have another go? Do you only get one shot at it? If you run out of ink half way through do you have to pay again?

Anyway, in my case, ‘Make sure there’s some paper in the printer, you wally‘ would be much better advice!

And how can they check that my insurance and MOT are valid if I apply online? Do cars even need an MOT or whatever in Cyprus?

According to the Cyprus Advanced Driving and Road Safety Etc. site…

That really is a bit of a mouthful. I think I’ll start abbreviating it.

According to CADARSE, vehicles require a ‘Bi-annual Vehicle Inspection (MOT Test / Roadworthiness Test)‘.

Yikes! And yikes again! Biannual? Twice a year? Surely not!

It’s a quirk of the English language that biweekly and bimonthly can mean either twice a week/month or every two weeks/months. You have to guess from the context which it is. But biannual has only one meaning  –  twice a year.

And as I suspected, further reading established that they meant to say biennial  –  every two years. Phew!

So we can unyikes that one.

And the answer to the question about documents is that it’s all logged on the Department of Road Transport database, and therefore easy to cross-reference when you apply online.

So what does it cost? How much do I have to pay to circulate on the roads in Cyprus?

It can be either very cheap or very expensive. It varies according to engine size. Under 1450cc will cost you just 0.0425 euros per cc. So a 1000cc car works out at just €42.75 per year (just over £30 GB). At the other end of the scale, over 2650cc starts at €522 euros (£386 GB).

Vans cost the same as cars up to 2 litres, after which the price is capped at €300 (about £220 GB).

doublecab.jpgThere are a lot of double cab pick-up trucks in Cyprus. An extraordinary amount in fact. They’re everywhere. Now I understand why. Because if you drive a double cab you get a 55% discount off your road tax!

Why? Why only double cabs and not single cabs? Why pick-up trucks at all?

I have absolutely no idea. It can’t be on economic grounds. They’re not particularly cheap to run, and they must apply more wear and tear to the roads than a small saloon car. So what could the reason be?

This is a complete guess and I could be way off the mark, but I think it may have something to do with the standard of the roads in Cyprus. The motorways are great. Top quality. A lot of the main roads are pretty good too. But there really aren’t any secondary roads. There are only tracks for which a 4-wheel drive vehicle is pretty much essential. The same goes for the Troodos mountains, which cover quite a large area of the island.

So a large part of the population live off the beaten track, as it were, and really don’t have much choice about what sort of vehicle to drive. So presumably the 55% discount is a concession to the rural community.

If I was playing Call My Bluff, I’d definitely reject that explanation. It only makes any sort of sense if the concession applied to any 4-wheel drive vehicle, not just double cabs.

But it’s the best I can come up with on the spur of the moment. I’m sure there must be another more logical reason.

Actually, as this is Cyprus, it’s a gross assumption on my part to assume that there must be some logic attached to it!

Anyway, to get back to that very kind reminder from the Bank Of Cyprus that your road tax license is about to expire!!!, I’m still pretty sure that they must be wrong. If only for the very good reason that…

…I don’t have a car!


©MPB 29/February/2008


4 Responses to Licensed To Circulate

  1. Sue says:

    Yup… we had two of those letters as well. And we have two cars, both of which had tax that expired at the end of 2007. So far so good.

    However… both the cars are registered in Richard’s name, since none of the rest of us drive. Did he get a letter? Nope. I got one, and so did our older son, who happens to be home for three months but usually works on a ship. Bizarre.

    Still, the online registration worked surprisingly well. Eventually.

  2. Priapus says:

    Hope you didn’t run out of ink!

    I can’t imagine you were too surprised about the letters though. That’s just so typical.

    I wonder how much it costs to tax a ship!

  3. Abelwm says:

    favorited this one, man

  4. cyprus tax says:

    After all the tax saving there might as well be some tax :)…

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