Germany tackles tax fraud from cross-border vehicle registrations

Neil King | 19 Apr 2021

Über den Autor

Neil King

Head of Forecasting at EV Volumes

Neil joined EV Volumes in March 2023 to assume responsibility for their global forecasting activities, leveraging the data and expertise held within EV Volumes and across the wider Autovista Group. He has been with Autovista Group since 2016 and has over 25 years of experience in automotive industry research and analysis, consulting, forecasting, and data journalism.

KFZ Schein mit Schlüssel vor einer KFZ-Anmeldung

The president of the German federal central tax office (BZSt), Maren Kohlrust-Schulz, and the president of the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA), Richard Damm, have signed an agreement to tackle tax fraud from cross-border vehicle registrations. The BZSt will receive support with access to the national-vehicle registers of EU member states that use the EUCARIS system for the exchange of vehicle and driving-licence data.

If VAT fraud is suspected, vehicle and owner data can be queried on the basis of the vehicle-identification number (VIN), licence-plate number or owner information. The data is exclusively accessed by Eurofisc liaison officers, a fixed group of experts that investigate sales-tax fraud across the EU.

Crime-fighting data exchange

Kohlrust-Schulz considers ‘the newly created access via EUCARIS to be a sensible extension in order to be able to fight sales tax fraud with vehicles in the European internal market faster and more efficiently.’

‘With the connection of the BZSt to EUCARIS, the European system for the exchange of owner and vehicle data has a further opportunity to combat cross-border crime. We have the data, the legal options and, with EUCARIS, a powerful and effective procedure that accelerates the Europe-wide exchange of data to fight crime. I therefore expressly welcome this development,’ commented Damm, who is responsible for the technical implementation of the EUCARIS process in Germany following the signing of the agreement.

This new agreement follows on from the council of the European Union creating the necessary legal prerequisites, based on a proposal from the EU Commission. The legal basis for the procedure, EU regulation 2018/1541, stipulates that each member state must allow the relevant authority of every other member state automated access to certain information from their national-vehicle registers.

‘This avoids VAT refunds for a vehicle that has not been sold in one country but someone pretends has been – a kind of double registration,’ commented Andreas Geilenbrügge, head of valuations and insights at Schwacke. ‘This could also be an instrument to identify eco-bonus fraud for young used cars that might have received a bonus in one country, only to get another bonus in Germany for example, which is explicitly not allowed under the German rules.’

Open to abuse

The widely varying vehicle-tax regimes across the EU have created a market for cross-border registrations.

In Germany, the VAT rate is 19% and the registration fee for a standard passenger car is fixed at just €26.30. In neighbouring Denmark, however, the VAT rate is 25%. Furthermore, a registration tax of 85% is charged on the value of the vehicle up to DKK 197,700 (€26,578) and if it is valued over DKK 197,700, a tax rate of 150% is applied. Given the costlier tax regime in Denmark, net prices are lower and this led to cross-border sales, with German buyers importing cars and then paying VAT at the lower German rate.

The new agreement will not halt this practice but the system is open to abuse, and the primary aim is to prevent any criminal tax fraud.

Das könnte Sie auch interessieren

What is total cost of ownership?

30 Apr 2021

What is total cost of ownership (TCO)? Daily Brief editor Phil Curry explains the terminology and its importance as a cost-comparison tool. To get...

Are EVs as green as they seem?

30 Apr 2021

The last year has been dominated by a single health emergency that brought the world to its knees. But for decades, scientists and campaigners have...

Updated whitepaper: How will COVID-19 shape used-car markets?

23 Apr 2021

The latest edition of Autovista Group’s whitepaper: How will COVID-19 shape used-car markets? considers the third-wave of coronavirus infections across Europe, and looks at the lessons learned a year...

Ja, ich möchte mich für den Autovista24-Newsletter anmelden

* Pflichtfeld

Ja, ich möchte folgende E-Mails erhalten:
Autovista24: europaweite Nachrichten und Insights - Täglicher Versand von Autovista Limited, auf Englisch

In unseren E-Mails verwenden wir Pixel, die uns zeigen, wenn Sie unsere E-Mails öffnen, weiterleiten oder Links anklicken. Dies hilft uns, die Leistung und Wirksamkeit unserer E-Mails zu messen. Wir kombinieren dies mit den Informationen, die Sie bei der Newsletter Anmeldungen angeben haben und Ihren Browsing-Informationen, damit wir unser Marketing besser auf Sie zuschneiden und verbessern sowie Ihre Benutzererfahrung auf unserer Website personalisieren können. Indem Sie sich anmelden, stimmen Sie der Verwendung Ihrer Daten zum Zweck der Zusendung der ausgewählten E-Mails und der Verwendung von Zählpixeln zu. Sie können Ihre Zustimmung zum Erhalt unserer E-Mails und dem Verwenden der Zählpixel jederzeit widerrufen, indem Sie dem Link zum E-Mail-Präferenzzentrum folgen, der in jeder E-Mail enthalten ist, die Sie erhalten. Weitere Informationen über die Verarbeitung Ihrer persönlichen Daten finden Sie in der Eurotax Datenschutzerklärung.