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The police have already located two hundred foreign drivers and warned them about the tax obligations of their vehicles
29.01.12 - 17:40 -
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Guardia Civil and tax authority take action over foreign cars
Confiscations. The Guardia Civil has already begun to seize vehicles whose owners have failed to heed the warning. EFE.
They don't pay the fines for parking too long in the restricted blue parking zones, nor the fines for speeding; they pay no road tax; their vehicles are not taken for ITV tests......
Foreign residents who drive their cars on the roads of Malaga province enjoy an impunity which comes from the registration plate of their vehicle. The authorities have often failed to take action because of the difficulties in verifying their address in order to notify them of such penalties. However, the Guardia Civil and the State Tax Agency (AEAT) have decided to put an end to this situation and have begun a campaign to tighten the net on foreigners who live permanently or part-time in Spain but who have not registered their vehicles here or paid the relevant taxes on them.
This initiative is the result of an EU directive which establishes that people are obliged to comply with the tax obligations of the country in which their vehicle is being used. It is based on two aspects: the fact that the vehicle is making use of the country's infrastructure and the environmental contamination it produces.
Identifying offenders
Malaga, which has 283,498 official foreign residents, is one of the areas which suffers most from this problem. In this province, the Traffic Department began its campaign in November. The choice of date was not casual. The first requirement is that drivers of cars with foreign plates have been living in this country for at least 30 days. Because of the difficulties of proving their address - they usually say they are on holiday - the Guardia Civil began checking schools. “If their children are registered at a school and they were attending classes in November, their parents cannot argue that they are only here temporarily when we surprise them at the school gates”, explains an officer.
Since then, the Guardia Civil has identified about two hundred drivers whose cars bear foreign plates and who officers have been able to prove are living on the Costa del Sol. Most of them are living in Malaga city, Marbella and La Axarquía. More than half are British, followed by Germans, French and, although to a lesser extent, Romanian, Portuguese and Bulgarian.
These two hundred foreigners have been ordered by the Guardia Civil to put the situation of their vehicles in order within five days. At the same time, Spanish Customs, which is part of the Hacienda tax authority, has begun proceedings against them. If they comply and make their vehicles legal within the given period, the case is filed and no further action is taken. If they don't, the police are authorised to intercept the car, immobilise it and place it at the disposition of the AEAT tax agency. It is reported that this has already begun to happen in the province of Malaga. But that is not all. The owners of the vehicles are also reported for driving without having obtained the relevant authorisation and this can result in a fine of 450 euros.
To avoid ending up without a vehicle, foreign drivers should comply with two obligations. First of all, they must pay the Impuesto Especial sobre Determinados Medios de Transporte, (Special Tax on Determined Means of Transport) which comes under Law 38/1992. If a vehicle is registered during the first month of the owner's stay in Spain, it is exempt from this tax.
Calculation of the tax
After this first month, the tax rate depends on the CO2 emissions of the vehicle and is calculated according to the tax regulations in each region. In Andalucía, the tax ranges from 4.75 and 16.9 per cent of the tax value of the car, explain sources at the vehicle department of Gestoría Bocanegra.
The second course of action, once the tax is paid, is to register the car. To do that, the vehicle must undergo an ITV (MOT) test to specify its levels of environmental contamination and to confirm that it is road worthy. Once this test has been passed, all that remains is to obtain the relevant authorisation from the Provincial Traffic Department. Staff at the offices of Ricardo Sánchez Bocanegra confirm that they are already being consulted by foreign clients who have been caught by the Guardia Civil and whose vehicles, in some cases, have been confiscated by the tax authority. "We haven't seen cases of this type for years and now, in two weeks, we have had four or five", they say.
With the tax, the registration fee, the Spanish plates, the ITV test and the fine, offenders could face having to pay out between three and four thousand euros.

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