KdL Automotive Volvo onderhoud voor youngtimers en klassiekers Middelbeers Brabant

Dutch government announces new classic car regulations next Wednesday

As mentioned earlier on the blog of Volvotips (Bad news for classic car fans in The Netherlands) the Dutch government were planning to ban the exemption for the road taxes for classic cars. The government didn’t like the idea a lot of classic car owners were using an oldtimer as daily driver to avoid paying road taxes: cars that were 25 years old became tax-free, resulting in a big import of cars from the early and mid 80s that were running on diesel. The government said the idea of withdrawing the tax-free status of the classic cars was created to protect the environment. But it’s an open secret the government didn’t like the idea a lot of classic cars (running on LPG or diesel) are being used to avoid the (very high) road taxes in the Netherlands: with an oldie running on LPG or diesel you’ll save about EUR 1.000,– to EUR 1.200,– per year on taxes and you’ll save a big amount of money on fuel.

Volvo Amazon 131 oldtimer oldie 1969

The old oldtimer-regulations were created to protect the industrial heritage and original Dutch cars (not imported cars) had already paid 25 years of road taxes. That’s why 25-year-old (or older) cars didn’t have to pay these road taxes and became tax-free. But (probably causes by EU-regulations) imported cars of 25 years and older were also tax-free, resulting in a massive import of classic cars that were tax-free immediately. Because cars of the eighties were a lot better (comfort, rust protection and service intervals) the Dutch government decided a couple of years ago cars of 1987 and newer where going to face a 30-year age limit and also had to pay a fuel surcharge when running on diesel or LPG. Needless to say a lot of cars made in 1985 and 1986 were imported to The Netherlands to avoid these extra regulations, and it’s very cheap to buy a Mercedes 190D running on diesel and paying not any tax at all.

A lot of lobbyists and car clubs (like the KNAC, Bovag and Fehac) protested against these plans and started to negotiate with the Secretary of Finance Frans Weekers (who actually owns a classic Peugeot 504). Weekers agreed to create an exception for classic car owners that aren’t using their classic car as a daily driver. Today the chairman of the Fehac (the Dutch association for classic cars) Bert Pronk announced at BNR newsradio the Fehac examined the yearly mileage of classic cars and used this research in their lobby. This research was based on a survey held on their website, and of course: there are some doubts if classic car owners filled the Fehac survey truthfully. And due regulations of oldtimer insurances there is some fraud in mileage of the odometers. Another problem (as the Fehac also mentioned) is the daily drivers with 80s cars aren’t the followers or members of the Fehac and didn’t take part of the survey. Bert Pronk also said the age limit for tax exemption for diesel cars should be increased to 35 years. I responded on Twitter and asked BNR Newsradio if Pronk isn’t afraid for a massive import of classic cars which meet these new regulations. That question was immediately asked to Pronk and he thinks it shouldn’t be an issue because these slightly older cars need more maintenance and aren’t as comfortable as modern cars. But that was said before: who wanted to import an old and slow 80s diesel car? And with an increase to 35 years of age for diesel cars it means a 1980 car will be tax-free in 2015. The problem will be pretty much the same.

Bert Pronk doesn’t have a clue in which direction Weekers is going with the new regulations, although Pronk was actively involved in the lobby. On Wednesday April 10 Frans Weekers (Secretary of Finance) will announce the final tax plans for the classic cars.

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