Spain Explained

Car tax in Spain: How much it is and how you can pay it

Like most countries, Spanish citizens and residents need to pay their car tax to keep their vehicle legal on the road. The good news is that it is not an extortionate amount, particularly in comparison to other countries in the EU. Anyone liable to pay car tax in Spain, or IVTM as it is known by locals, must do so annually. Furthermore, it is a fairly simple process that can be completed online, direct from your bank account or in person at your local tax collection agency office.  

However, we would like to remind you that in general, taxation in Spain can be complicated and you could be subject to fines or penalties if you miss a deadline or don’t do your taxes properly. Advisably, you should seek fiscal advice from an expert to avoid possible complications.

Who must pay car tax in Spain?

All vehicle owners, including those with motorbikes, must pay the Impuesto Sobre Vehículos de Tracción Mecánica (IVTM). If you are importing a car from the UK, there are other processes to follow. See here for more details.

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How much does it cost?

The amount due depends on the kind of vehicle you own, the region it was registered in and the horsepower it has. For those living in the Alicante region, an agency called Suma manage the collection of car taxes. Going directly to the Suma website will give you an indication of how much car tax you are likely to pay. This works regardless of whether you live in the Alicante region and if they are the agency responsible or not. This website is also in English if your Spanish is not up to scratch. 

On the website, you can receive your calculation by entering a few details. These start with the town where the vehicle was registered and the type of vehicle it is. If it is a normal family car then it would be classed as ‘turismo’, while ‘motocicleta’ refers to motorbikes. You will then enter the engine’s horsepower which will calculate the amount of tax you are obliged to pay. For instance, a fairly standard 2-litre car in Alicante will leave you liable to pay €201.60. In comparison to UK prices, this is pretty good!

When do you have to pay it?

Car tax in Spain is due for payment each year. If you are using the agency Suma (for those living in the Alicante area), then payment can be made on their website or in person at their offices. Often, the tax collection agency responsible will send out reminders that the payment is due. One simple way to pay it is directly through your bank

What happens if you miss the deadline?

It might not sound like a big deal, but missing the payment deadline of car tax in Spain means a 5% increase on the amount due and a visit to the office. If you do not pay after a year, the increase goes up to 20% and if you do not pay at all, then your car may be impounded. To avoid this, keep hold of any receipts just in case an officer asks to see them. 

Double-check the tax records of a purchased car

Tax records are registered to the car itself and are easily recognisable by law enforcement. There have been cases of people selling used cars with outstanding tax bills. If you buy a car that has not had its tax fully paid off, you could be in for some trouble with the police. To avoid this, make sure the car seller shows you proof of up-to-date and paid taxes. Furthermore, if you are selling a car, then be aware that the person registered as the owner on Jan 1st of any given year is the person responsible for paying the tax bill in April

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Stay on top of car taxes

Car tax in Spain is a fairly more straightforward process than you might expect. The different ways to pay, through agencies or directly at the bank, mean that the process is often done very quickly. Making sure that your car taxes are up to date and paid on time can help you avoid costly complications further down the line. Therefore we highly recommend looking at your car tax situation now and speaking to an expert if there are difficulties.

At Ábaco Advisers, our team of experienced fiscal and taxation advisers can help you make sure your Spanish obligations are in orders. For more information, without obligation, you can fill out this form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

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2 comments

Wendy Venters

15 July, 2020 6:49 pm

I’ve already downloaded you’re very helpful guide for residents and non resident and have been amazed at what I should, but have not been told by our present provider.
Therefore, we would like your company to communicate directly with us during the build up to annual tax matters in 2021.

We’re permanent residents here in Spain.

Oscar Paoli

15 July, 2020 10:56 pm

Hi Wendy,
Thank your for your nice words, I will have someone from our customer care deparment contact you shortly.
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers