German tolls not in accordance with EU rules

The European Court of Justice ruled on 28th of October 2020 that the calculation of the German road tax for heavy vehicles is not in accordance with EU rules. According to EU rules, only costs for infrastructure are allowed to be included in the toll amount, but the German road tax also includes costs for the traffic police.

For a number of years, transport companies have paid too much to drive on German roads. The European Court of Justice has now decided in case C-321/19, that the German toll is in breach of EU rules to the extent that costs to the traffic police are included in the toll rate.

The ruling of the European Court of Justice is a preliminary ruling, which means that it is the European Court of Justice's interpretation of EU rules. Based on this interpretation, the German courts will have to give a final decision in the case in question.

However, the interpretation of the European Court of Justice may mean that transport companies can claim a refund of the part of the toll that is based on costs to the traffic police. The specific amount overpaid is not yet known, but according to the rulings of the European Court of Justice, it is around 4%.

Due to the limitation period, the period for possible repayment will be limited to 3 years. Therefore, no claim can be made for payment of toll from before 2017, unless an objection has previously been made. For payments made in 2017, the deadline for claiming a refund expires on 31st of December 2020.

However, be aware that this is a legal requirement to make, so you cannot just apply for a refund. We are currently in a dialogue with our legal advisors in Germany about how and where we can refer our customer.

We will come back with further information as soon as these are available.

Should you in the meantime have any further requests please do not hesitate to contact your local Vialtis representative.