Vehicle tax rebates

Ask Afpop
In this new monthly column, afpop, Portugal’s largest foreign residents’ association, aims to answer some of the most frequently-asked questions by members.

Question: I’ve heard that I can now claim back the money I paid when I imported my car. Is that correct and how do I go about it?

afpop answers: It’s important to understand that this is not about the tax people paid when importing their vehicle, which was ISV (Imposto Sobre Veículos), but refers to the annual circulation tax IUC (Imposto Único de Circulação), which for imported vehicles has been incorrectly calculated in Portugal.

When vehicles were imported and matriculated, they were given a new date of registration as being the year of import to Portugal rather than the actual year of the vehicle’s first registration. Those vehicles which will qualify for the rebate are those that were registered in Portugal after July 1, 2007, when the regulations were changed, but which were registered in their country of origin before that date and it only refers to EU/EEA-registered vehicles.

It is our understanding, after reading the information released from Finanças and reported in the Portuguese press, that only those vehicles that were registered in their country of origin before July 1, 2007 will qualify for any reduction in their IUC or rebate for previous overpayments, but that vehicles imported from January 1 this year will be assessed correctly.

The Portal das Finanças website will shortly have a simulator, whereby the vehicle owner inserts certain details about the vehicle, including date of first registration, and the new IUC for 2020 will be calculated and a refund issued for the last four years, not for the whole time that the vehicle has been in Portugal. This should normally be done in the month that the IUC payment is due, but it is possible to apply before the month it is due via the Finanças ‘e-counter’ on their website.

However, since January 1, 2018, the details of first registration were recorded in Portugal, so those vehicle owners who imported their vehicle after that date need do nothing as the calculation will be made automatically and the correct rate will be applied.

Those people whose vehicles for which IUC is due in January and possibly February will have to submit their information via the same website on the Finanças ‘e-counter’, which will then be reviewed. This is because the new system is not yet up and running.

We must stress though that, at the moment, as far as we understand, what has been released by Finanças only applies to vehicles registered in their original country prior to July 1, 2007. This does seem ridiculous to us and we are trying to clarify that situation, but the information from Finanças is very clear:

Which vehicles are covered by the change?
This change in IUC applies to vehicles that:
▪ have been imported or admitted to Portugal on or after July 1, 2007; And
▪ registered in a Member State of the European Union or the European Economic Area prior to July 1, 2007.

We will have a Fact Sheet available to afpop members shortly, which will include all the information that people will need to decide if this applies to them and then how to proceed.

For more information about the benefits of membership of afpop, the largest association for foreign residents in Portugal, you can visit their website; e-mail them direct on [email protected] or call the afpop office on 282 458 509 or 938 252 100).
Please remember to quote “The Algarve Resident” when contacting them.