How to pay tax on marine fuel

So now we have the final ruling on red diesel. You’ll still be able to buy it. But leisure users will have to pay full tax on it. All you have to do is make a declaration at the pump that you have filled up for private use and the retailer will add VAT at 17.5%. So far no problem for you (extra cost apart) but lots of paperwork for the hapless retailer. But what if you’ve a diesel heater? You see heating oil is only taxed at 5%. So you now have to declare that 10% is for heating and 90% for propulsion. The poor guy’s calculator is now getting red hot.

But what does he do on a blazing hot summer’s day when you declare that 50% is for heating? Does he ask you to prove it? You could always say that you’re headed off to Baffin Island. And there’s also the unanswered question of other member states not recognising the difference between tax paid and duty free red diesel. Imagine trying to tell a Dutch or German Customs officer that 10% is for heating, even if it is pink. Talk about a fudge.