When you register a vehicle in Spain, you almost always have to pay some form of vehicle tax. The type and amount that applies depends on the purpose of registration. There 3 main circumstances when registering a vehicle where a vehicle tax on may apply, these are:
- Purchase of a new vehicle
- Vehicle change of ownership
- Import / registering of a foreign vehicle
In all cases local Town Hall collected ‘road tax‘ – IVTM (Impuesto Sobre Vehículos de Tracción Mecánica), must be up to date for the vehicle.
Vehicle Tax – New Vehicle Purchase
New vehicle purchases in Spain are subject to IVA (Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido), the Spanish equivalent of VAT. The rate of this tax is currently 21% of the purchase value.
Vehicle Tax – Buying a Second Hand Vehicle
In Spain when you buy a second hand car, there is a vehicle tax on the change of ownership. This tax is called Impuesto sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales Onerosas, or ITP for short. The rate paid depends on the original new value of the car, it’s current age and the power output of the vehicle, (Calculo de la Potencia Fiscal – CVF).
The power output determines the rate of vehicle tax, in Andalucia this is either 4% or 8%, however this does vary across the different autonomous regions. The original new value of the car, and it’s current age are used to work out a value for the vehicle, to which the rate will then be applied. A depreciating factor is applied to the values according to the number of years since the vehicles first registration. This goes from 84% for a car between 1 and 2 years old, down to 10% for a vehicle more than 12 years old.
Vehicle Tax – Registering a Foreign Vehicle
When registering a foreign vehicle in Spain, the vehicle tax is worked out in a similar way to the local ‘road tax’, (IVTM). As with ITP above, the vehicle´s original new value and it’s current age are factors taken into account, however it is the CO2 emissions of the vehicle rather than the power output, that determines the applicable rate for the vehicle tax. Vehicles with CO2 emissions below 120g/km are exempt from the tax, and the rate increases with the level of emissions as follows:
- 121g/km – 159g/km = 4.75%
- 160g/km – 199g/km = 9.75%
- 200g/km or higher = 14.75%
Aside from low CO2 emissions there are other circumstances where it can be possible to gain an exemption from vehicle tax when registering a foreign vehicle in Spain. EU citizens have a right to freedom of movement (along with their personal possessions), throughout the EU. Therefore if you are moving to Spain from another EU country, or have recently done so, and have a vehicle that you wish to register, so long as you have not already gone and obtained your Spanish residency certificate, (Residencia), you may be able to take advantage of this rule and register your vehicle/s without paying this tax.
To do so you must demonstrate that it is/was your main vehicle of use in your previous country, (have owned the vehicle for 6 months or longer), that you were recently resident in the country, and that you have just left, i.e. have just given up residency there. You then have a 60-day window (from the date of your registration as a resident in Spain), to apply for an exemption from this tax.