Car taxes in another EU country
As soon as you start using your car on national roads, you need to pay car-related taxes: either road taxes or both car registration and road taxes. Each EU country determines what taxes you should pay if you regularly use your car on its territory.
In some cases, the amount of car registration tax may correspond to the period you use your car in your new country. But you may not be taxed higher than a resident of your new country. In some cases, when you change countries, you may be entitled to a car registration tax exemption or a car registration tax refund. You should contact the national authorities before moving to your new country in order to avoid double taxation.
Exemptions from car registration taxes
In most EU countries, students, cross-border workers and secondary residents don't have to pay car registration taxes. They may need, however, to pay road taxes.
If you move to another EU country to study or to carry out a job with a limited and defined duration, for example as a volunteer, you can drive your car registered in your home country without having to register it or pay taxes in your new country. As a student, you must be enrolled in an educational establishment in that country and be able to provide a valid enrolment certificate. If you start working during your studies, however, you will have to register your car in that country.
Before leaving your home country, you should check the applicable rules in the country where you are going to study. You may need to fulfil some administrative formalities or meet certain conditions in order to avoid problems during police checks.
Denmark, Estonia, Germany, and Sweden do not exempt students from registering their cars and from paying the corresponding taxes.
Mathieu from France moved to Belgium where he is doing a 2-year post-graduate course. Mathieu's car was damaged, so he went to the police to get a report for his insurer. When the police discovered that Mathieu had been living in Belgium for over a year without registering his car there, they told him that his situation was irregular and would be fined.
Mathieu could prove, however, that he was registered at Antwerp University and that as a student from another EU country, he didn't have to pay car or road taxes in Belgium.
As a cross-border worker, you may need to drive a company car that is registered in only one of the two countries.
If you drive a company car registered in the country where you work, you may also use it in the country where you live without having to register it there. Check the different conditions that apply to the use of company cars in the EU as the rules may vary considerably.
If you use your own car to commute regularly from the country where you live to the country where you work, you have to register it and pay the relevant taxes in the country where you live - but not in the country where you work.
For more information on car registration and relevant taxes as well as for links to national authorities' websites see:
Questions on a specific country?
As a general rule, you do not have to register your car and pay car registration taxes in a country where you have a secondary residence or a holiday home. If you leave your car permanently where your holiday home is located, you may, however, need to pay a registration tax there even if you have already paid a registration tax in your home country.
As a secondary resident, you do not pay car registration taxes if:
- you live in your second country for less than 6 months per year
- you have your normal residence in another EU country and you have a valid document to prove it
- you use your car only for private purposes
- you do not sell, hire or lend your car to residents.
The information on this page does not apply to UK nationals residing in the EU and EU nationals residing in the UK. National rules are applicable in these cases.