The Low-Down On Spanish Car Road Taxroad-tax-license

They say that only two things in life are certain – death and taxes. Well, we’re afraid the same applies here in Spain, although having said that, Spanish road tax (IVTM as it is known locally) is a little cheaper than the equivalent British road tax.

When do you Need Spanish Road Tax?

The initials IVTM actually stand for Impuesto Sobre Vehículos de Tracción Mecánica, which is the Spanish term for car tax, or as we would say in the UK - Road Fund License. It amounts to the same thing. If you own any sort of motor vehicle inlcuding motorcycles and you’re going to be driving on Spanish roads, it is a compulsory tax – and a word of warning here - they can and will impound your vehicle if you are found without a valid car tax (IVTM) receipt. So make sure you do not give the traffic police the opportunity!

How Much Does Spanish Road Tax Cost?

We’ve already indicated that the price of car tax here in Spain is cheaper than in the UK, but whereas in the UK the price (according to engine size, age of vehicle, emissions etc), here in Spain it varies according to the type of vehicle, horsepower (Potentia Fiscal), and the region in which it is registered. To give you some sort of an idea of cost, take a car of 1600cc or above. The cost of IVTM for Madrid would be 161 euros, Seville 170.26, Zaragoza 179.20 and Malaga 173.05 euros.

When Is Spanish Road Tax Due?

Payment is normally due at the end of April each year and the payment period stretches from March to May. If you are late within payment, you can still apply but you will be charged a small fine – however – be warned – as we said earlier, if you are stopped by the police and you don’t have a valid IVTM, your car can be towed away and impounded. In some rare cases your bank account can even be embargoed!

You can pay your IVTM at your local town hall assuming that your car is registered in your local region or municipality. You can also pay at the bank. In fact once you are on the system and have paid IVTM, you just go along to the bank, and they will have the details on their computer system courtesy of your local authority. It’s the same for the Spanish equivalent of your council tax too.

When you have paid your tax, you will not be given a tax disc to display as you used to be in the UK. So you must retain your receipt, and carry it with you when you drive, just in case you are asked to produce it by the police.

Documentation Required When Paying IVTM

When you go to the town hall or bank to pay your road tax you will usually need to present a few items of documentation along with your payment. These are:-

  • I.D (NIE or CIF)
  • The vehicles registration document (Permiso de Circulacion)
  • Technical Certificate (Certificado de Características Técnicas)

Buyer Beware when Buying a Secondhand Car

You should also be aware that when you buy a second hand car, if the previous owner did not have it taxed, you will become liable for any amount that is owed, so it’s a case of checking this out carefully or you could be in for a nasty surprise. If you’re buying a new car from a dealer, they will guide you through the process of applying for the first IVTM for that vehicle. If you are purchasing a second hand car, it can be worth paying a small fee to a gestor who will check the vehicle documentation, any outstanding taxes and help you to register the vehicle.

In Spain, the registered vehicle owner on the 1st of January is the person who is liable to pay the road tax.

Vehicles That Are Exempt from IVTM

Some vehicles are exempt from Spanish road tax or are subject to a discount. These include vehicles that are used for public service, such as taxi's, diplomatic vehicles, and cars over 25 years old which are completely exempt from IVTM.

Eco-friendly, electric or hybrid vehicles may also receive a reduction of up to 75%.

Motorway Tolls

There’s one other thing that you should be aware of too, and that is that whereas in Britain Road Fund License is what is costs to drive on UK roads, in Spain, on many of the motorways (autopistas) you also have to pay a small toll for the privilege of using the motorway. Toll roads are normally designated by an “AP”. For example the AP-7 on the Costa del Sol is just one example of a Spanish toll road.

My Vehicle Is Not Going to Be on the Road. Do I Still Pay IVTM?

If you will not be using the vehicle on the Spanish roads, you will not be liable to pay Spanish road tax. You will need to apply for a Baja Temporal. This is the equivalent to the SORN (Statutory Off Road Notice) in the U.K.

Fines for Late Payment

As mentioned previously, if you are late paying your IVTM, a small fine will be issued which is usually around 5% of the total.

If payment has not been made after 1 year, the penalty rises to around 20%.

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Image courtesy of Leo Reynolds on Flickr.

Updated: 28/7/2016

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