I remember learning at school about the window tax of the 17th and 18th century. A property tax based on the number of windows in the house, it led to people taking all kinds of measures in order to avoid it. Now in the 21st century we can welcome its modern equivalent in Spain – the air-conditioning tax.
The tax isn’t actually on the air-conditioning system itself but on fluorinated greenhouse gases. It will be implemented from January 1st 2014. There is some disagreement currently about how much the new tax will actually amount to for the home owner wishing to keep cool. Estimates have ranged from 5 euros to 65 euros. The tax will not be paid directly by the household but by the manufacturer and for this reason there is some uncertainty about how much difference it will actually make to the final, aircon cost.
There is no doubt that the tax is largely about making money, however, it is also being labelled as a ‘green tax’ as an extra 33 euros will be charged on each kilo of fluorinated gas. A domestic unit needs about two kilos of fluorinated gas to run. It’s not just domestic users who will be charged. Industrial users, such as agriculture, hostelry and tourism, will have an even bigger bill and there are concerns that this will also have to be passed down to the customer.
With this new tax on the way we might all be reverting to more windows and fans rather than investing in another Spanish air-conditioning system.