Over 2.3 million vehicles to pay CO2 tax from autumn onwards

Generalitat expects to collect €67.3m this year and €145m from next year onwards

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Traffic queues on the Rondas. Transport is responsible for 29% of greenhouse gases in Catalonia, with 12.9 million tonnes per year.

BarcelonaThe Government has decided to implement the tax on CO2 emissions emissions from motor vehicles -which affects cars, motorcycles and vans-, which will start to be paid in autumn. On average, the tax will involve the payment of €35 per year for cars and €26 for motorcycles, with which the Government expects to collect €67.3m this year, an amount that will increase to €145m in 2022, when the level of emissions required to be exempt will be lowered.

Despite the average quota cited above, most of the vehicles affected - cars and motorcycles emitting between 120 and 160 grams of CO2 per kilometre - will pay slightly less: between €8.8 and €17.8 for passenger cars, and between €8.3 and €16.8 for motorcycles.

This is the first large tax launched by the Catalonia's Tax Agency (ATC) and it is expected to affect 2.31 million vehicles in Catalonia out of the 4.85 million registered. This will affect 1.79 million taxpayers, including individuals and legal entities, out of the nearly four million that exist.

The tax is finalist. Half of the collection will go to the climate fund and the other half to the natural heritage fund, It will be used to promote renewable energy, energy efficient housing, public transport, sustainable mobility, car renewal and other environmental issues. The tax was approved by Parliament in 2017 and was included in the climate change law, but was not applied because a State appeal to the Constitutional Court suspended it until November 2019. "Last year it was not applied because of the pandemic," says Marta Espasa, secretary of Finance of the Generalitat, but now it has been implemented with the intention that "people internalise the impact of climate change".

Who will have to pay?

In its first year the tax will apply to car and motorbike owners whose vehicles emit more than 120 grams of CO2 per kilometre, or in the case of vans, more than 160 grams per kilometre. This limit, however, will change next year and will have to be paid when cars' and motorcycles' emissions exceed 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

The lowering of the limit will increase the quota by between 20% and 25% from the 2021 tax year, which will be paid in 2022, as the taxpayer base will be increased.

However, there are some bonuses. If payment is made by direct debit, there will be a 2% rebate. Vehicles with historical registration will have a 100% rebate. Classic vehicles will also be exempt: they will have to be over 30 years old, no longer manufactured, and with a correct maintenance. In this case, a certificate from the Catalan Federation of Historic Vehicles must be provided.

How can I find out the emissions of my vehicle?

The CO2 emissions in grams per kilometre are usually specified in the vehicle's technical data sheet or in the importer's certificate. But in the case of vehicles that do not include this information, the Tax Agency has a formula developed by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center that allows you to calculate the emissions for each type of vehicle. In addition, on the ATC website there is a simulator to calculate how much you will have to pay. The website also has a virtual assistant to guide taxpayers.

What are the steps to follow?

As this is the first year of this tax, the ATC will publish the provisional vehicle register from May 1st to 15th. Once this period is over, there will be a period for appeals, until June 4. All the vehicles will be included in the provisional register, but after the appeals all vehicles which are either exempt or whose owner are required to pay under €6 (it is considered uneconomical to process such small amounts) will be removed from the list.

Once this has been done, between the 1st and 15th of September the definitive list of vehicles will be published, and from this moment onwards the tax payments will begin to be processed. The payment period will be from 1 to 20 November. This year, which is the first, payment will have to be made when an individual notification is received by each taxpayer.

Average instalments for the first year for passenger cars
  • Cars from 120 to 140 gr/km €8.8
  • Cars from 140 to 160 gr/km €17.8
  • Cars from 160 to 200 gr/km €37,9
  • Cars over 200 gr/km €96.1
  • Average charge for all passenger cars €34.1
Average charge for vans
  • More than 160 gr/km €21.5