Huge differences between the regions in the level of car registration tax

In Belgium the regions are responsible for setting the level of registration tax for vehicles. This has produced differences in the level of tax levied on vehicles that can run into several thousand euro. For example in Flanders the level of registration tax for hybrid family car that can run of both electricity and petrol is 0 euro. Meanwhile, registration tax in the Brussels-Capital Region will set you back 4,947. 

Those that have bought a new or second hand vehicle are subject to a one-off vehicle registration tax known by its Dutch abbreviation BIV. However, since the tax is the responsibility of the regions there are difference in the level of taxation levied according to where you live. In Flanders a number of environmental considerations are taken into account when decided the level of BIV that is to be levied on a particular vehicle.

These include the amount of CO2 and particulate matter emitted by the vehicle in question. The type of fuel used the power the vehicle its Euro Norm classification and the age of the vehicle are also instrumental in defining the level of BIV that is to be paid.     

The Brussels-Capital and Walloon regions still use the method that was used by the federal authorities when they were still responsible for vehicle registration tax. This means that the tax is set according to the cubic capacity (CC) of the vehicle’s engine.

While in Flanders vehicles that create the most pollution are taxed more heavily, in Wallonia and Brussels those that have bought a vehicle with a large engine are taxed the most.

Could change be afoot?

The Brussels Regional Finance Minister Sven Gatz (Flemish liberal) told VRT News that he acknowledges that there is a need for thorough reform of the vehicle registration tax system in the Brussels-Capital Region.

The agreement signed by the 6 parties that form the regional government in Brussels states the intention to introduce a system like that in Flanders in which the level of vehicle registration tax is decided according to a vehicle’s eco-friendliness.

Furthermore, the times at which a vehicle is used will also be decisive in how much road tax is paid. For example, drivers that use their vehicles during weekday rush hours will pay more that those that use their cars for weekend family outings or Saturday trips to the supermarket.