MOTORISTS are not being spared when it comes to the government’s drive to right the public finances. The Slovak Parliament, as part of the state’s financial consolidation measures, on September 11 adopted a revision to the law on administrative fees that will increase the initial registration fee for more powerful passenger cars. The raised fees, whose ceiling is almost ten-fold the current fee, will become valid as of October 1. The sudden hike has already boosted sales of SUVs.
Under the revised legislation the fee that motorists pay to register a new car or an imported second-hand car will vary according to the vehicle’s type and the performance of its engine. While all types of cars currently pay a €33 fee, from October that fee will increase for cars whose engine produces 80 kW and above.
Finance Minister Peter Kažimír, whose ministry prepared the draft revision, argues that the variable registration tax is similar to others that already exist elsewhere in the EU.
“It is a common tax paid in civilised countries,” Kažimír said, as quoted by the Pravda daily.
For personal cars, utility vehicles and motorcycles with performance between 80 kW and 86 kW the administration fee increases to €167. The fee will rise in line with the performance of the vehicle’s engine up to a ceiling of €2,997 for cars with more than 254 kW. Utility cars with three seats, i.e. those used for transportation of goods when doing business have been excluded from the higher registration fees. Employers in particular objected to such an increase. The fee also remains unchanged for electric cars.
The vehicles groups that will be subject to the higher registration fees includes passenger cars, motorbikes, all-terrain vehicles, utility vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes, and vehicles with eight passenger seats plus the driver’s seat. A commentary on the new fees said that the state will collect over €6.2 million in 2012 and €29.3 million in 2013 as a result of the change.
The Slovak Automotive Industry Association (ZAP) does not expect the increased fees to have any significant impact on car sales in Slovakia, as over 70 percent of new cars have engines that produce less than 80 kW, the ZAP’s Dušan Koblišek told the Hospodárske Noviny daily.
The impending fee hike has already spurred motorists to buy large SUVs. In August alone, sale of such vehicles rose by 40.36 percent compared with August 2011, according to ZAP statistics. Higher sales are expected to continue in September.