If you live in Spain and have a vehicle with a Spanish registration, you have to pay road tax every year. This payment is made at the municipal level and the amount to be paid depends on the municipality and the type of vehicle. Amounts are different everywhere, although some target prices have been set. Payment is usually made between March and May, but in some municipalities after the summer in October.
Just like in other countries, you also have to pay road tax or motor vehicle tax (impuesto de circulación or Impuesto Municipal de Vehículos de Tracción Mecánica) in Spain. The Spanish road tax or ‘municipal tax on vehicles of mechanical traction’ was created more than 30 years ago and generates an annual revenue of more than 4 billion euros for the municipalities in Spain. It is therefore a municipal and not national tax whereby you actually pay for the use of the roads in your municipality.
The rates below are the minimum rates that apply throughout Spain (except Melilla and Ceuta where there are discounts) that must be paid annually per motorized vehicle and depend on the fiscal horsepower (in Spanish caballos fiscals or CVF) or engine power calculated is determined by a complicated mathematical formula. Incidentally, other vehicles such as scooters and motorcycles are also paid.
Less than 8 fiscal HP = 12.62 euros
Between 8 and 11.99 fiscal HP = 34.08 euros
Between 12 and 15.99 fiscal HP = 71.94 euros
Between 16 and 19.99 fiscal HP = 89.61 euros
From 20 and more fiscal HP = 112.00 euros
In addition to the fiscal horsepower, however, the municipality where the vehicle is registered, the type of vehicle, how powerful the engine is with regard to environmental pollution, is also taken into account, whereby cleaner cars receive discounts. All in all, it is a complicated calculation that therefore strongly depends on the municipality where you live.
As can be seen above, the government has published minimum rates that municipalities are not allowed to fall below. However, the municipalities are allowed to be above this, which means that there are large differences between municipalities, especially the larger cities. For example, the road tax in San Sebastian (Basque Country) is 150% more expensive than in Tenerife or 46% more expensive than in the capital of Spain Madrid.
In the table below from the ‘Automovilistas Europeos Asociados’, all amounts from 2021 can be seen in all major provincial capitals. The other smaller municipalities usually charge less road tax. Incidentally, this association also complains about the so-called ‘paraísos fiscals’ or municipalities where the road tax is very low but many more vehicles are registered than there are residents. According to the association, there are 25 of these municipalities where the difference in rates can be up to 900%.
Looking at a vehicle with a fiscal horsepower between 8 and 11.99, in 2021 a motorist in the province of Barcelona paid an annual amount of 68.16 euros, in Bilbao 69.36 euros, in Madrid 59.00 euros, in Valencia 62 .59 euros, in Alicante 60.47 euros, in Almería 62.41 euros, in Girona 67.24 euros, in Málaga 65.80 euros, in Tarragona 68.16 euros, in Palma de Mallorca 68.16 euros and in Las Palmas 56.57 euros.