Paying vehicle tax
The amount of vehicle tax to be paid is set by the customs authorities.
In order to have a vehicle registered, you must give the licensing authority a SEPA direct debit mandate . This will authorise the customs authorities to debit vehicle tax from your bank account on the due date.
Moreover, you as the vehicle holder may not be in arrears with your vehicle tax payments.
The licensing authority in the district where your main residence, business headquarters or branch is located is responsible for registering, transferring registration and deregistering vehicles and for recording changes of keeper.
The licensing authority is:
- in urban districts: the city council (Stadtverwaltung)
- in rural districts: the rural district office (Landratsamt)
- The vehicle is registered in your name. You must pay tax on every vehicle registered in your name.
- You may not be in arrears with your vehicle tax payments.
Registration and direct debit mandate
If the vehicle is to be registered in your name, you must submit a completed and signed SEPA direct debit mandate form to the competent authority.
If you have a representative (e.g. the car dealer) register your vehicle or transfer the registration, he/she will require written power of attorney.
Tax assessment and tax payment
After your vehicle is registered, you will automatically receive a tax notification from the main customs office. This will contain your tax number, the amount of vehicle tax you have to pay and all the information you need to make your payment.
In general, you must pay vehicle tax for the year following.
Vehicle deregistration and tax rebate
If your tax liability ends, i.e. because you have deregistered your vehicle, a new amount will be fixed for the last period between the beginning and the deregistration. You will then be reimbursed the surplus tax paid.
If a vehicle is sold, the seller’s tax liability ends when the licensing authority receives the prescribed notice of sale, and no later than the time at which the new vehicle title is handed over to the buyer. This notice must include the buyer’s address and confirmation that he/she has received the vehicle papers (refer to the notes in the vehicle title/vehicle registration document part I).
The buyer may act for the seller by meeting his/her obligation to register the vehicle or transfer the vehicle registration to his/her name. If the buyer does not meet this obligation, the previous vehicle keeper cannot appeal on the grounds that the buyer was obliged by agreement to register the vehicle or transfer the vehicle registration.
The seller bears the full risk of his/her tax liability not ending if he/she refrains from sending the prescribed notice of sale to the licensing authority himself/herself.
Changes in your bank account information
If your bank account information changes, you must send your new bank account information to your main customs office as soon as possible. You must issue a new SEPA direct debit mandate for the collection of vehicle tax.
For domestic vehicles, tax liability begins when the vehicle is licensed as stipulated in road traffic law and remains in force for as long as the vehicle is licensed as roadworthy; the minimum period is one month.
- SEPA direct debit mandate form
- power of attorney if necessary
Ask the competent licensing authority for information about the documents required for registering a vehicle.
- Process costs: none
- where applicable: Costs of licensing, registering and transferring the registration of the vehicle
- In order to simplify the collection of vehicle tax, vehicles may only be licensed if a SEPA direct debit mandate is issued for the collection of vehicle tax.
- Provided advance notice is given, annual tax amounting more than 500 euros can be paid to the main customs office in two equal half-yearly amounts plus three percent. If the annual tax is more than 1,000 euros, payment can be made in four equal quarterly amounts plus six percent.
You can find more information about vehicle tax on the customs administration website.
The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Bundesfinanzministerium released it on 28.08.2014.