The Victorian Government and VicRoads now provide registration discounts for all vehicles that have been modified to make them accessible for people with disabilities. The registration discounts apply to Victorian residents with a modified vehicle, who are in a wheelchair and have hand controls to drive a car, or, are intending to buy a new vehicle for these purposes.
In 2010, Spinal Cure Victoria director, Gary Allsop was in the throes of purchasing a new vehicle when he found a letter from the former Victorian Minister for Transport Peter Bachelor that revealed some valuable details. This was that he was eligible for refunds from VicRoads on the registration fees he had paid for his modified vehicle.
“If you intend buying a new vehicle to have converted to carry a wheelchair, then the stamp duty that might be applicable to that vehicle is refundable,” Allsop told F2L. “The way you go about retrieving that money is firstly registering the vehicle as a wheelchair vehicle. After you have the registration papers you can then email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org at the State Revenue office or call them on 03 9628 0000 for further information. You may be asked to provide further details, such as a statutory declaration.
“If you are a pensioner and own a converted wheelchair vehicle that carries someone sitting in a wheelchair, in my case being a quadriplegic, you should now pay half the Transport Accident Charge (TAC) and no registration fee. If you own a wheelchair vehicle and are working you would pay the full TAC fee but no registration fee,” he said.
A vehicle is eligible for a full discount or no registration fee if it’s registered in the name of person with disability, their parent or legal guardian if they are a minor, and if the vehicle has been significantly modified to transport those sitting in a wheelchair. To be eligible for this discount, the vehicle needs to be modified so that people who use wheelchairs can enter and leave the vehicle in their wheelchair, are able to transport at least one person who uses a wheelchair, or whose mobility is profoundly impaired.
The vehicle must be registered as a wheelchair vehicle and may need to be presented at a VicRoads depot for inspection or require a letter from a GP stating the persons condition and what year it occurred. Additionally, some people may be eligible for a refund from VicRoads for all the registration fees previously paid dating back to 2004,regardless of whether they are a pensioner or not, providing the vehicle is set up to carry a person sitting in a wheelchair.
In Allsop’s case registration fees paid on two vehicles dating back to 2004 gave him a refund of around $700. “To see if you qualify for a refund under any of these circumstances call VicRoads on 131171 about your vehicle status, what modifications you have had done and what refunds you may be entitled to,” Allsop said. “Also, if you have a disability and drive a car with modified hand controls, you are now eligible for the ‘no registration’ fee.”
Conditions for eligibility for a full discount or no registration fee:
- The vehicle is modified to be driven by a person who uses a wheelchair, modified to transport people who use wheelchairs or whose mobility is profoundly impaired, or designed solely to transport a person with profound injuries or disabilities
To be eligible, the vehicle needs to carry significant modifications which include but not limited to:
- Adding or removing seats
- Mounting roof hoists, or modifying the vehicle’s floor plan
- Must be significant enough that a Vehicle Assessment Signatory Scheme (VASS) Approval Certificate was required to certify that the modifications are safe and the vehicle continues to meet Australian Design Rules (ADRs)
- Vehicles are not eligible if only minor changes have been made – refer to VicRoads’ Guide to Modifications to Motor Vehicles to check
Section 218(2) of the Duties Act 2000, provides that where a person with a physical disability has modified a vehicle in order to be able to drive it, the motor vehicle duty paid on the registration or transfer of registration, can be refunded by the State Revenue Office. The amount of duty payable is reduced by the reasonable cost of modifications to the vehicle. No duty will be charged if the cost of vehicle modifications exceeds the amount of duty. For information call the State Revenue office or e-mail them at: email@example.com.
“I have spent the last eight years and many phone calls and emails to VicRoads liaising with them to make changes to their system and they have now assured me that knowledge of this information has been distributed throughout their branches, so it should be a far smoother transition and easier for all concerned,” Allsop said. “However, keep in mind, this only applies to Victorian residents and you might like to take up this matter up with your states authorities and see if the same rules apply, and if it doesn’t, pursue the matter as I have.”
If you have any problems email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org