A simple guide to road tax in Spain
Road tax driving you crazy? Here’s how your vehicle’s specifications determine how much road tax you owe, and how to make your payments. Let’s go!
4 min read
If you own a car in Spain, you’re most likely paying the Spanish road tax, also known as IVTM. But did you know that how much you need to pay depends on where you live and the type of vehicle you own, as well as its weight, and the engine capacity?
For more insights on the ins and outs of road tax, read on.
What is IVTM and who needs to pay it?
IVTM (Impuesto sobre Vehículos de Tracción Mecánica) is a Spanish municipal tax. Anyone in Spain who has a registered vehicle and wants to drive on public roads has to pay IVTM, with no exemptions for hybrid or electric vehicles. However, discounts in many Spanish cities allow drivers to save considerable sums of money each year.
The road tax period begins on January 1st of each year, but the voluntary payment period is usually between the months of April and June. Payments should be made to the local council in the area where the vehicle is registered. This means that when someone sells a new or second-hand vehicle, they’re responsible for the road tax for the year of sale.
How much road tax do I owe?
The amount of road tax you’ll pay depends on a variety of factors, such as engine power, vehicle type, and weight. However, the biggest differentiating factor is where you live, as individual towns and cities set the final rate. For example, road tax in Melilla is six times less on vehicles with between 16 and 20 taxable horsepower (taxable HP) than in San Sebastian, the province with the highest IVTM fees. To give you an idea of the differences, in the table below, you can see the annual road tax in a selection of Spanish provinces set against the taxable HP for cars and engine capacity for motorbikes, in cubic centimeters (CC).
Cars (Taxable HP)
|Provincia||> 8||12 - 16||< 20|
|Provincia||> 125||250 - 500||< 1.000|
Reductions and IVTM-exempt vehicles
Though nearly all registered vehicles in Spain are required to pay road tax, the following vehicles are exempt:
- Urban public transport vehicles that have more than nine seats, such as buses and mini buses.
- Official state vehicles used to serve public government entities, autonomous regions (counties), or local organizations—including cars and vans that belong to municipal police, the Spanish Civil Guard, and the national police.
- Vehicles belonging to embassies, consular offices, diplomatic agents, and civil servants in the consular department.
- Ambulances and other vehicles that belong to the health service.
- Vehicles used to transport those with reduced mobility.
- Vehicles such as tractors, trailers, and machinery vehicles with an agricultural inspection license.
The law also provides road-tax reductions for some vehicles. If your vehicle uses a specific type of fuel or has an engine with certain specifications, you can save up to 75% on ITVM payments. And, if you own a vehicle that’s over 25 years old—which is considered a “historic vehicle” in Spain—you’ll enjoy a reduction of up to 100% on road tax payments.
How do I pay road tax?
In order to pay your road tax, you’ll need a tax bill from your local city council. If your vehicle is already registered and you’ve authorized direct debit, they may have already deducted this tax from your account, so check your bank statements to see if this is the caes. If not, there are now several ways to pay road tax easily and safely:
- In person. Road tax can be paid at your local town hall, or at partnering financial companies or banks. Simply present your road tax bill and make the payment on-site. Alternatively, you can make an appointment at an integrated citizen service center and pay there.
- Direct debit. This is a simple and safe way to have your road tax deducted directly from your bank account. Simply share your account details with your local tax office to kick off the process.
- Online. Road tax can be paid online until 8pm on the final day of the voluntary payment period via debit or credit card or bank transfer. Customers of banks or authorized financial companies will also allow you to pay with a digital certificate.
- Over the phone. Partnering post office or bank customers can also use telebanking to pay their road tax. Alternatively, you can call your local town hall’s helpline for phone payment options. In both cases, the payment must be made by 8pm on the deadline.
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What happens if I don’t pay my road tax?
If you miss your road tax payment, charges will be applied to your outstanding bill. If you still don’t settle the debt after that, the collection period will begin and the Spanish tax office will gain authorization to freeze money in your current account to cover your road tax and the corresponding charges. You can also pay road tax past the deadline online, but you’ll also need to pay any late fees that have accumulated.
When do I pay road tax?
Although the taxation period for ITVM starts on January 1st, it’s due once per year between April 1st and June 30th.
If I become a resident in another city, do I need to change my road tax?
If you move to another city, all you’ll need to do is register with your new local council, who will directly notify The Spanish Traffic Agency (Tráfico) of your change of address.
Which cars are exempt from paying road tax? (ES)
The following vehicles are exempt from road tax: ambulances and vehicles for transporting ill people, vehicles for people with reduced mobility, official state cars, public transport vehicles with room for nine passengers (including the driver’s seat), tractors, special vehicles used for inspecting farmland, and historic vehicles.
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