Thousands of imported car owners charged excessive vehicle tax

The Dutch road traffic agency RDW does not know whether many old imported diesel cars are fitted with a soot filter. This resulted in thousands of motorists being wrongly taxed, because RDW assumed their cars did not have a soot filter and therefore emits too much particular matter, AD reports.

As of January 1st, the owners of old polluting diesel cars have to pay extra motor vehicle tax, referred to as the soot tax. This tax applies to cars that emit more particulate matter than 0.005 grams per kilometer. This mainly involves diesel cars, delivery vans, and campers made 10 or more years ago, with no soot filter installed. For the average old diesel car, this extra tax is 225 euros per year.

Soot filters became mandatory in 2011. The RDW started keeping track of which cars do and do not have these filters in 2004. But with imported cars, that information is often completely missing.

Last week, 5,590 car owners received a retraction letter from the RDW, saying that they do not have to pay the soot tax after all, because it turned out that their car does indeed have a soot filter. 

The RDW does not exclude that there may still be diesel car drivers who are being charged the soot tax, but shouldn't be. The agency advises diesel car drivers who are being charged this tax to check the emission data of their car at the RDW, to inquire with the official brand importer about whether they have a soot filter, and if all else fails, to take the car to a garage or crawl under the car yourself to check whether there is a soot filter.