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German Road Toll A Tax On Foreign Motorists

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

22 December 2014


The German Cabinet on December 17 approved a plan to introduce a new road toll, despite a warning from the European Commission that the plans could breach European Union law.

Under the plan, a vignette system would be introduced from 2016 onwards, requiring drivers to purchase a sticker for either ten days, two months, or one year. The ten-day or two-month stickers would cost EUR10 (USD12) or EUR20, respectively, while the price of the one-year sticker would be calculated according to the vehicle's engine size and emissions, up to a maximum of EUR130.

The tax would be levied on all motorists, but German drivers would have the equivalent amount deducted from their vehicle tax liability, to ensure that owners of German-registered vehicles do not suffer any additional financial burden.

The new toll is expected to raise around EUR500m in revenue annually for the upkeep of highways.

Earlier this year, the European Commissioner for Transport, Siim Kallas, cautioned that the plan may infringe EU law as it discriminates against foreigners. Under EU rules both domestic and foreign road users must pay the same amount and must pay under the same mechanism, he said.

TAGS: tax | European Commission | vehicle tax | law | Germany | Europe

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