The kilometerheffing policy currently being drafted by the cabinet will likely see car owners in the Netherlands face a levy of 7 to 8 cents for every kilometre they drive, but researchers have highlighted various issues with the government’s new tax plans.
The Netherlands to scrap road tax and bpm by 2030
As was agreed in the Rutte IV coalition agreement last year, the Dutch government is looking to scrap the current taxes for drivers and other road users – namely road tax (motorrijtuigenbelasting) and bpm – from 2030, and instead replace it with a new kilometerheffing (“kilometre levy”).
The principle behind the new kilometre levy is that motorists who drive more regularly and longer distances will pay higher taxes than those who own a car but rarely drive. What the kilometerheffing will look like – and how it will be calculated – is yet to be determined, although it has been reported that the rate will likely be set at between 7 and 8 cents per kilometre. When introduced, the levy will apply across the country, on all roads and at all times of day.
This new system could have significant repercussions for car owners. For example, AD points out that households with two incomes and two cars will see their average costs rise, no matter how the government decides to calculate the levy. NOS also reports that low-income earners are likely to suffer, as they are often dependent on a car.
Several details yet to be ironed out, researchers say
As it currently stands, the cabinet has assessed a total of eight so-called variants in order to decide on a rate per kilometre, and no final decisions have been made. However, as has been pointed out by various studies commissioned by the Dutch government, the realities and practicalities of the new levy entirely depend on the variant(s) the cabinet decides on to calculate the rate per kilometre.
There are some potential issues with the plans. Researchers focused primarily on two variants – fuel types (e.g. petrol or diesel) and the weight of the vehicle – but, with the government hoping to encourage more motorists to make the switch to electric vehicles, a discount would have to be introduced, as electric cars are heavier than petrol and diesel cars.
The government will also need to monitor how many kilometres a motorist drives. According to NOS, researchers believe that it would be possible to base the taxes on the miles registered by garages during maintenance checks. While this solution would be cheap and easy to implement, there are concerns about whether or not it is “fraud-proof”.
Rutte IV to submit kilometerheffing law this autumn
As NOS reports, “what the system will look like is still entirely dependent on political choices, the researchers conclude.” The cabinet had hoped to submit the draft law to the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) this summer, but due to delays are now looking to present the plan in the autumn.