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Written by:
Nico Koppel


Adjustment of private motor vehicle cum motorcycle tax as at first of July

The private motor vehicle cum motorcycle tax (or “BPM”, as it is commonly referred to in the Netherlands) is levied on the basis of the carbon dioxide emission levels of the vehicle in question. Although it has been obligatory throughout the European Union since the first of September 2018 to test new cars using the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) method, which has replaced the – obsolete – NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) method, the calculation of the BPM charge has to date continued to be based on carbon dioxide emission levels according to the NEDC method. Research has shown carbon dioxide emission levels to turn out greater on average when the WLTP rather than the NEDC method is used. The Dutch Cabinet has promised that the BPM revenue is not to go up owing to the change in test methods, as the test method as such has no bearing on vehicle efficiency.

A cap of 95 grammes per kilometre is being introduced from 2021 onwards where it concerns the average carbon dioxide emissions of new private motor vehicles, as a European standard based on the NEDC method. It is for this reason that all WLTP-tested cars in the interim, until 2021, will additionally be given an NEDC-based carbon dioxide emission rating (which may be a calculated value or a test value).

According to the Miscellaneous Tax Measures Act 2017, it is permissible for the NEDC-based carbon dioxide emission rating of WLTP-tested (four and two wheel) motor vehicles to be used for BPM levying purposes, as a temporary solution until such time as a WLTP-based table of BPM rates has become available. A survey by TNO, the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, has produced greater-than-expected NEDC-based carbon dioxide emissions for WLTP-tested cars. This would justify an increase in BPM charges. A possible explanation for the difference in carbon dioxide emission levels is that the new WLTP cars typically weigh more and boast greater engine output than their NEDC predecessors.

TNO’s research results have prompted the Cabinet to conclude that there is sufficient insight into the carbon dioxide emissions of WLTP cars to fix the BPM rates in such a manner as to control the knock-on effect of the WLTP conversion in terms of BPM revenue. As conversion with effect from the first of January 2020 would be too soon for the automotive industry, the Cabinet has decided to include the new table of BPM rates in the Miscellaneous Tax Measures Bill 2020 and defer the effective date to the first of July 2020. The upshot of all of this is that NEDC-tested carbon dioxide emission levels will continue to underpin the levying of private motor vehicle cum motorcycle taxes in the Netherlands for the period up to and including 30 June 2020.

Dutch version: Aanpassing BPM per 1 juli 2020

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