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Changes to the environmental tax on vehicles

Monitorul Oficial al Romaniei, Part I, No 119 / 4 March 2013 has published Government Emergency Ordinance No 9 / 19 February 2013, regarding the environmental tax on vehicles and the abrogation of legislative acts referring to the tax on pollutant emissions produced by vehicles.

With a view to providing for the compliance of the national legislation with the recommendations contained in the European Commission’s Communication of 14 December 2012 and in consideration of the need for measures towards implementing the applicable Community rules and regulations, the Romanian Government has issued Emergency Ordinance No 9 / 19 February 2013, regarding the environmental tax on vehicles, which has been published in Monitorul Oficial al Romaniei, Part I, No 119 / 4 March 2013.

The Ordinance establishes the legal framework underpinning the application, as of 15 March 2013, of the environmental tax on vehicles.

The tax is applicable in the case of motor vehicles falling under the following categories: M1, M2, M3, N1, N2 and N3, excepting certain vehicle categories such as: special vehicles modified so as to be driven by physically disabled people or to transport seriously disabled people; vehicles belonging to diplomatic missions or those used by the armed forces; vehicles meant for special services such as emergencies, etc.

The Ordinance also provides that hybrid and electric vehicles used in competitions, those used by institutions pertaining to the public administration, by trade unions, associations and foundations, as well as the vehicles acquired under will or separation and divorce conditions shall be tax-exempt.

The environmental tax shall be paid only once, in the following cases:

a)     concurrently with the acquisition of ownership right over a vehicle by the first owner in Romania;

b)    when a vehicle re-enters the car fleet, provided that, once it exited the national car fleet, the residual value of the tax was refunded to the owner;

c)     when the ownership right over a vehicle that has already been run, for which no special tax has been paid, as per applicable law, is transcribed;

d)    upon transcription of the ownership right over a vehicle that has already been run, for which restitution or incorporation is required without payment of any special tax under court order.

Having in view that the method for the calculation of the environmental tax is underlain by certain criteria / elements setting a fixed rate such as the real annual average mileage of vehicle, the person requesting its registration or, as the case may be, transcription of ownership right over an already run vehicle may obtain additional discount, provided that such person declares on his own responsibility that the annual average mileage is longer that the estimated standard. Discount may also apply when the requesting person proves, by virtue of a technical expert’s report, that the wear and tear of the vehicle is greater than the normally estimated one.

The Ordinance also mentions that, when a special tax has been paid for the registration of the vehicle and such vehicle is to exit the national car fleet, the residual value of the environmental tax shall be repaid to its latest owner, provided
that no court has issued any decision on the refund of the paid tax.  The residual value of the tax represents the amount which should have been paid for the respective vehicle if it had been incorporated when it has exited the national car fleet.

In the event that the tax previously paid for a vehicle is higher than the environmental tax which should be applied in accordance with this Ordinance, the amount representing the difference between the two values shall be paid only to the person who has had such payment obligation.

With a view to stimulating the acquisition of new, non-pollutant and power-efficient, cars, natural persons or public institutions purchasing such cars shall benefit from an eco-ticket in value of RON 12,000.  The manner in which this ticket shall be used is to be established under Government Resolution within fifteen (15) days of the publication date of the Ordinance.

The environmental tax shall be established, verified and collected by the competent tax authority that will also handle any objection related to this tax, in compliance with Government Ordinance No 92 / 2003, regarding the Tax Procedure Code.  Any person dissatisfied with the tax authority’s response to his/its objection may refer the case to the competent courts adjudicating administrative litigations.

As the Ordinance stipulates, the competent tax authority responsible for the calculation of the environmental tax may collect it only on the strength of documents evidencing the acquisition of ownership rights over the vehicle as well as the elements underlying tax computation, which should be submitted by the taxpayer that intends to register or transcribe the ownership right over the vehicle.  The list of such documents may be found in the Methodological Norms for the application of this Ordinance, which are to be published within fifteen (15) days of the publication date of the Ordinance.

LEGAL ALERT by Duncea, Stefanescu & Associates / MAZARS

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* LEGAL ALERT contains a selection of the latest major issues occurred in the Romanian legislative framework, is intended only to provide information and, hence, shall not be deemed to provide professional advice or consultancy. Therefore, we assume no responsibility in this respect.

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