Fleet News

ECJ ruling on excise duty

The European Court of Justice has said European Union (EU) public service workers are liable to pay excise duty on cars acquired in a foreign EU member state, when they are transferred abroad for more than 185 days.

In a case focusing on a Greek air force officer transferred to Naples, where he bought a Mercedes-Benz E200, the court has found that under EU directive 83/183 on the freedom of movement of workers, such public servants are deemed to have relocated to another member state after living there six months.

If they later want to bring a car back to their home state, excise duty could be charged, if, said the court, “they are normally charged on the permanent importation by a private individual of a vehicle for personal use from another member state”.

However, tax authorities are not allowed to charge more tax than paid by local citizens remaining in their home country.

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