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Generic Tax Name Motor vehicles tax
Tax name in the national language Kraftfahrzeugsteuer
Tax name in English Motor vehicle tax
Member State DE-Germany
Tax in force since 1950/01/01
If abolished, date on which the tax ceases to apply
Business version date 2015/01/01
Version date 2015/02/17
This file was last updated on

Type of tax
Direct taxes Personal income tax
Corporate income tax

Indirect taxes VAT
Excise duty (EU harmonised)
Alcoholic beverages
Energy products and electricity
Manufactured tobacco

Social security contribution Employers
Legal base

The legal basis for the tax consists of the 2002 Motor Vehicle Tax Act (Federal Law Gazette 2002 I p. 3818) last amended by the Act of 5 December 2012 (Federal Law Gazette 2012 I p. 2431) and the 2002 Motor Vehicle Tax Implementing Ordinance (Federal Law Gazette 2002 I p. 3856), last amended by article 3 of the Act of 29 May 2009 (Federal Law Gazette 2009 I p. 1173).

Who sets
The tax rate is set by

The tax base is set by

The reliefs are set by



Geographical Scope

Federal Republic of Germany.


Tax is generally payable by the registered keeper of the motor vehicle. Tax liability begins when the vehicle is registered with the vehicle licensing authorities and ends when the vehicle is deregistered.

Tax object and basis of assessment

Motor vehicle or trailer licensed for operation on public roads.

Motorcycles are assessed on the basis of cylinder capacity, motorcars being registered for the first time since 1 July 2009, on the basis of cylinder capacity and CO2-emissions, motorcars being already registered before 1 July 2009, on the basis of cylinder capacity and emissions according to the Euro standards, and all other vehicles (the most important of these being lorries and trailers) on the basis of their maximum permissible gross weight. Vehicle emissions also affect assessment for motorcars and for lorries with a gross weight of over 3.5 t. Emission data are established by the motor traffic authorities and entered in the vehicle registration documents. In order to promote innovation on the part of vehicle manufacturers, motor vehicle tax laws deliberately refrain from prescribing the use of specific technology or fuels.

Deductions, Allowances, Credits, Exemptions

Various exemptions. E.g. disabled persons can receive a partial or a total exemption of the tax.

Rate(s) Structure

The following emission-related tax rates are applied to passenger cars:

a) Passenger cars firstly registered since 1 July 2009

  • for every 100 ccm of cylinder capacity or fraction thereof for a petrol engine: € 2.00
  • for every 100 ccm of cylinder capacity or fraction thereof for a diesel engine: € 9.50


  • for every gram of CO2 emission exceeding in case of registration until
    • 31 December 2011      120 gram
    • 31 December 2013      110 gram
    • from 1 January 2014     95 gram
  • for petrol engines and diesel engines € 2.00

b) Passenger cars registered until 30 June 2009: 

for every 100 ccm of cylinder capacity or fraction thereof 

  • Euro 3 and better: 
    • petrol engine     € 6.75 
    • diesel engine    € 15.44
  • Euro 2:
    • petrol engine     € 7.36
    • diesel engine    € 16.05
  • Euro 1 and comparable norms:
    • petrol engine    € 15.13
    • diesel engine    € 27.35
  • Other vehicles permitted to operate during ozone alarm:
    • petrol engine    € 21.07
    • diesel engine    € 33.29
  • Vehicles with (limited) low-pollutant status not permitted to operate during ozone alarm and other cars:
    • petrol engine    € 25.36
    • diesel engine    € 37.58

Mobile homes are subject to emission-related tax rates (from 10 to 40 € for every 200 kg) according to the maximum permissible gross weight. 

Other vehicles with a gross weight of up to 3.5 t are subject to a tax assessed according to the maximum permissible gross weight. The following tax rates apply for every 200 kg:

  • with a total weight up to 2,000 kilograms:              € 11.25
  • with a total weight from 2,000 to 3,000 kilograms:   € 12.02
  • with a total weight from 3,000 to 3,500 kilograms:   € 12.78

There are four different emission-related schedules for all other cars with a gross weight of more than 3.5 t (heavy commercial motor vehicles and busses), graded in progressive steps of 200 kg according to maximum permissible gross weight. 

Motor vehicle trailers are taxed on a linear schedule at € 7.46 for every 200 kg of permissible operating gross weight or fraction thereof, rising to a maximum of € 373.24. 

Electric vehicles receive a tax exemption over ten years from first registration. This regulation is effective for vehicles being firstly registered from 18th May 2011 until 31st December 2015. Afterwards the tax exemption shall be reduced to five years. Afterwards they are assessed on the basis of total weight with a tax relief of 50 %.  

Tax due date

The amount of motor vehicle tax payable is fixed in a written notice of assessment. It is payable as a rule for one year in advance. The due date of the tax depends on when the motor vehicle was licensed.

Annual tax exceeding € 500 may be settled in equal half-yearly payments plus a surcharge of 3 %. If the annual tax exceeds € 1,000 it may be settled in equal quarterly payments plus a surcharge of 6 %. If the tax liability ceases before the end of the year for which tax was paid, tax is reassessed up to the time when liability ceases, so that excess tax paid will be refunded.

Tax collector

Since 1 July 2009 the Federation (Bund) is entitled to the revenue and also responsible for tax collection. At latest 1 July 2014, the Bund will organise the tax collection in his own responsibility, until then the tax is still collected by the federal states (Länder) on behalf of the Bund.

Special features

Economic function

Environmental taxes

Tax revenue
ESA95 code d29ba + d59da

Annual tax revenue (millions)
Tax revenue as % of GDP
Tax revenue as % of total tax revenue
2012 8,443.00 EUR 0.31
2011 8,422.00 EUR 0.31
2010 8,487.00 EUR 0.33
2009 8,200.00 EUR 0.33
2008 8,840.00 EUR 0.34
2007 8,910.00 EUR 0.35
2006 8,940.00 EUR 0.37
2005 8,680.00 EUR 0.38
2004 7,740.00 EUR 0.34
2003 7,340.00 EUR 0.33
2002 7,600.00 EUR 0.34
2001 8,380.00 EUR 0.38
2000 7,010.00 EUR 0.33