Flat-rate vehicle tax, company cars and exchangeable license plates for old cars
udo reub, a tax lawyer and business graduate, is responsible for tax issues at finanztip. Previously, he worked for various business and trade publishers such as handelsblatt, F.A.Z.-publishing group, haufe-lexware and vogel business media – 14 years of which he worked as editor-in-chief of trade magazines. From the complex tax law, he draws the relevant rulings for tax savers.
- To qualify as a classic car, a vehicle must have been registered for the first time at least 30 years ago.
- Owners of vintage vehicles pay a flat rate of vehicle tax: 191.73 euros annually for cars or 46.02 euros for motorcycles.
- Whether the vehicle is eligible for the H license plate for historic cars is determined by experts during the main inspection.
- If you only use your oldtimer for measurements and the like, you can save considerably by using a red changeable license plate for several oldtimers as a license plate.
- Self-employed persons may be able to use their classic car as a company car and save taxes for private use under the one percent rule.
- car insurance is cheaper for vintage cars.
In this guide
Porsche 911, mercedes tailfin or the good old VW beetle: names like these make car lovers go into raptures. But when is a car considered a historic vehicle?? Because only then does the flat rate oldtimer tax rate which is often more favorable than the normal annual rate.
An oldtimer is usually only little used. This is another reason why many owners benefit from a more favorable annual amount of motor vehicle tax, which is set out in section 9 of the motor vehicle tax act (kraftstg). For a car you pay a flat rate of 191,73 euro, motorcycles cost 46,02 euro per year.
the car must be at least 30 years old
In the ordinance on the registration of vehicles for road traffic (§ 2 nr. 22 ZV) is defined what a vintage car is: it is a vehicle that is
- More than 30 years ago was approved for the first time,
- largely corresponds to the original condition,
- is in a condition worthy of preservation and
- the care of the "motor vehicle cultural asset" serves.
cars that have not yet reached the age of 30 are called youngtimers. For them, the vehicle tax is calculated according to the old vehicle tax system without a surcharge for carbon dioxide emissions.
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the HU clarifies the oldtimer status
Whether or not your vehicle qualifies for H-status is determined by experts during the main inspection (HU), which every vehicle owner is required to undergo. On the one hand, they check whether the appearance of the car roughly corresponds to its original condition. A fixed navigation device on the dashboard excludes for example the H license plate. If you can prove that the spoiler or the fancy sports steering wheel were already common at that time, there is nothing to stop you from getting H-status. The inspectors are more precise when it comes to the engine: a replacement for the broken engine of a VW golf I, for example, may only come from the golf I series, not from the golf II, III or IV.
the condition of your car is checked again at every general inspection. Then it will be decided if your car will keep the H-status or if it will be downgraded to a normal used car.
Collectors can use exchange license plates
If you own more than one classic car, you can save taxes with the red changeable license plate. You pay a flat rate of 191.73 euros for cars and 46.02 euros for two-wheelers, just like for the H license plate, and you can mount the license plate on the respective vehicle according to its use. However, you may only drive the red license plate to historical events, oldie fairs or to the workshop for repairs.
Self-employed people can use their classic cars as company cars
As a freelancer or businessman, you can register your classic car as a company car. For private use, however, you have to pay tax on a non-cash benefit – at least 1 percent of the gross list price each month. For 30-year-old vehicles, however, this is far below the price of comparable models today.
Example: for a new porsche 911 S you pay more than 100.000, while the 1968 model was listed at a price of 26 euros.918 mark, i.e. just under 14.000 euros. According to the one percent rule, the new porsche will cost more than 1.000 euros in tax, but only about 140 euros per month for the classic car.
Although the fiscal court of baden-wurttemberg issued a legally binding ruling in 2011 (az. 6 K 2473/09), according to which a classic car was considered an unreasonable representation expense and therefore could not be included in the business assets. The case in question concerned a jaguar E-type from 1973. However, if you follow the advice below, the tax office will usually recognize your oldtimer as a company car:
- Make it clear why it makes sense and is useful for the business to use a classic car as a company car. Important: if you want to use the classic car as an advertising medium, make sure that the advertising lettering does not jeopardize the classic car status. Magnetic plates, for example, can be easily attached and removed again.
- Use your oldtimer mainly for business trips and keep a logbook to document business trips.
- Keeping acquisition and operating costs within reasonable bounds.
Car insurance is cheaper
There are particularly favorable rates for classic cars in the motor vehicle insurance. The contributions are calculated as a lump sum depending on the age of the car. As a rule, the older the car, the less expensive the vehicle insurance policy.
insurance as a classic car is sometimes possible from an age of 25 years onwards. However, the mileage in these special tariffs is usually limited to 6 km.000 to 9.000 kilometers and limited to private use.
Another advantage of older vehicles: unlike other older used cars, classic cars are allowed to drive through the environmental zone in cities without a sticker.