Typhoon Hato | Tax rebate for flooded vehicles to include backdate mechanism

Financial Services Bureau (DSF) director Iong Kong Leong has clarified that the proposed tax reduction on flooded or heavily damaged vehicles that are traded in for new vehicles will include a backdate mechanism. This will allow owners who purchase a replacement vehicle before the passage of the bill to claim the refund once the law is operative.

The tax reduction, which may also include a refund, is a relief measure proposed by the government to assist residents affected by Typhoon Hato.

The information was released on the sidelines of a press conference held yesterday morning at the Transport Bureau (DSAT). Government officials explained the details of the proposal, having been informed the previous day by the Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong, that the tax refund would have to obtain approval from the Legislative Assembly before entering into force.

In light of that, and given that the AL is currently on break and in the middle of the election process for the upcoming legislature, the DSF chief clarified that the proposal would be backdated.

“We are going to request that this proposal [bill] would have a backdate effect to all the cases that DSAT records as vehicles damaged as a consequence of the typhoon,” he said. “The [affected] owners can buy a new vehicle now and will be refunded from the taxes after the law comes into force.”

The DSF director clarified that the refund would apply only to vehicles of the same category and belonging to the same owner. “A car will be refunded only for another a car or a motorcycle for another motorcycle.”

Iong also explained that in addition to the previously established maximum ceilings of MOP140,000 for cars and MOP5,500 for motorcycles, there will be minimum ceilings of MOP8,000 for the cars and MOP2,000 for motorcycles. These will be the minimum amounts that the government will refund vehicle owners.

The calculation of the final amount will also take note of the number of years the damaged vehicle has been in operation. Each year of life will correspond to a depreciation rate of 10 percent per year after the first year of age until a limit of 10 years old. This period is considered the “vehicle lifespan.”

During the same conference, DSAT director Lam Hin San said that the bureau does not have yet a clear idea of how many vehicles have been affected.

“We are still doing this calculation and we don’t yet have a final figure,” Lam said, explaining that the DSAT’s request for owners to proceed with registration cancelation until September 18 has to do with the need to calculate the final number of affected vehicles, as well as to clear the parking lots to allow the spaces to return to normality.

“We think it is a reasonable timing. Already […] almost one month has passed and the water was already cleared from all the [affected] parking lots. We also need to calculate the final number [of vehicles affected],” Lam said.

Lam added that DSAT is sending staff to help cancel registrations free of charge. Towing services from streets or public parking lots will also be free.

For private parking lots, the DSAT head said that, upon request, the staff will also help cancel registrations free of charge, but owners must pay for their vehicles to be towed out of private properties.

many damaged vehicles canceled registration

A TOTAL of 1,010 vehicles canceled their registrations between the second day of Typhoon Hato and Wednesday this week, the Transport Bureau (DSAT) announced. The total number includes 548 cars and 462 motorbikes, with 90 percent of them representing vehicles damaged by the typhoon. Also, according to DSAT, 83 buses damaged during the typhoon are still waiting to be repaired.  DSAT is assisting the bus companies in launching new buses into operation that were not planned for public transportation. Questioned on the final destination for typhoon-damaged vehicles that will have their registrations cancelled, (DSAT) director Lam Hin San said that, for the time being, all the vehicles will be “towed and deposited at a vehicle depot located in Cotai.” “There is plenty of space and we shouldn’t have any trouble [accommodating] all of them.” Lam said that they would then be in charge of the Financial Services Bureau, which will proceed with a public auction, noting, “the company that wins the auction then will decide if they move [the cars] abroad or any other option. They might follow different processes.”

Full refund for
non-available alt-energy vehicles


ne of the most highlighted measures proposed by government officials regarding the tax refund for vehicles damaged by the typhoon was the possibility of a total tax refund for damaged vehicles, which will be replaced with new vehicles that use alternative energies such as electric, solar power or natural gas (CNG).

The Times questioned government officials on this proposal, since options are scarce for cars using alternative forms of energy in the local and even international market.

Financial Services Bureau director Iong Kong Leong responded, “[For] electric, we have some. As for the others, maybe they don’t yet exist or there are few [options], but I think if there is that demand, the car dealers will have [these] in the future.”

According to the bureau, there are currently only eight models of electric vehicles (EVs) from five different manufacturers authorized for sale in the region.

After contacting three of the authorized brands, the Times learned that none of the EV models are currently in stock. They would require a special order that, in some cases, might take “one year or more for the delivery.”

Regarding solar-powered and CNG-powered vehicles, there are currently no models approved for sale in the region. There are also no fuel stations for CNG vehicles other than one station which is privately owned by public transportation operator TCM, which uses natural gas as fuel in a small number of its buses.

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