Car taxes in the Netherlands
When you buy or import a car to the Netherlands, or when you have a motor vehicle in your name, you pay tax. For lease cars the tax is included in the lease price. The Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) makes a distinction between three types of tax: Motor vehicle tax, Bpm and Tax on heavy motor vehicles.
Motor vehicle tax (MRB / Motorrijtuigenbelasting)
The motor vehicle tax is levied in the Netherlands on the possession of motor vehicles younger than 40 years. This is a holding tax. A popular name is "wegenbelasting" or "road tax".
Motor vehicle tax is levied on the ownership of a car of motorcycle, not on its use. It is therefore not important whether you drive a lot or just a few kilometers with the vehicle. Originally, the motor vehicle tax was collected as 'target tax': the aim was to pay for the construction and maintenance of roads (those using the roads pay for it).
The height of the motor vehicle tax depends on:
- The weight of the car
- The fuel type
- The degree of environmental pollution (a zero exemption from MRB applies to 0-emission vehicles)
- The povince where the owner is located
The proceeds of motor vehicle tax go partly to the central government (approximately 75%) and partly to the provinces (around 25%). Each province can decide for itself (within the maximum that the government establishes) how much tax they levy on motor vehicles. These are called provincial surcharges ('provinciale opcenten').
Tax on Passenger Cars and Motorcycles (Bpm / Belasting personen en motorrijwielen)
When you buy a new passenger car or motorbike in the Netherlands, or import one, you pay Bpm: Tax on Passenger Cars and Motorcycles. The Bpm also applies to delivery vans and lorries that are equipped for passenger transport.
The height of the Bpm depends on the motor vehicle and the tariff. For passenger cars, this rate depends on CO2 emissions. For delivery vans, camper vans and motorbikes the BPM rate is determined on the basis of the net list price.
Anyone who buys a completely new electric car in the Netherlands or imports the name of the Netherlands does not have to pay Bpm. Fully electric cars are exempt from Bpm until 2020, because the national government stimulates electric driving. For plug-in Hybrid vehicles (PHEV) an adjusted rate applies.
When a passenger car is bought at the dealer, the dealer places the Bpm on the invoice to the customer. The dealer then ensures that the paid Bpm ends up with the importer of the car, who then pays it back to the Tax Authorities.