Delivery van sold on within five years
The registration of a motor vehicle in the Netherlands involves a private motor vehicle cum motorcycle tax charge (Dutch acronym: BPM) being levied unless it concerns the registration in a business owner’s name of a delivery van, in which case provisional tax exemption is available, albeit that the owner will belatedly be presented with a tax charge – in the computation of which allowances are, however, made for the depreciation of the vehicle – in the event of the vehicle in question being re-registered, within the first five (5) years, in the name of a non-business owner.
A business owner imported a used delivery van from Germany. Having originally been admitted to road circulation (in Germany) on 18 June 2007, the vehicle was imported into the Netherlands on 31 May 2011. Its owner went on to sell the van to a private individual on 29 February 2012. The business owner with reference to the hardship clause petitioned the State Secretary for Finance with a request for private motor vehicle cum motorcycle tax exemption, which request the State Secretary turned down. The Inspector of Taxes raised an additional tax assessment with the business owner because of the latter’s failure to pay the outstanding amount in private motor vehicle cum motorcycle tax. The business owner in the ensuing lawsuit argued that the additional tax assessment should only have covered the remainder of the initial five (5) years of the vehicle’s useful life, which would have worked out at a mere four (4) months in this particular case. The court ruled that this interpretation of the law was incorrect notwithstanding the fact that the residual private motor vehicle cum motorcycle tax for a delivery van is indeed reduced to nil as soon as the first five (5) years are over, the legislator having deliberately decided against including a separate depreciation table for delivery vans providing for graduated depreciation over a five (5) year term (to 100% at maturity).