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Foreign license plated car in the Netherlands

In the event you become a Dutch resident tax payer, then you can only drive a car with Dutch license plates. The tax office is very keen on foreign license plated cars that actually should have been Dutch license plated cars based on the fact that the car is registered to a Dutch resident tax payer. The reason is the tax connected to the car, the name of the tax is BPM.

The person in who’s name the car is registered determines whether Dutch BPM applies, but the person actually driving the car is held responsible at the spot if stopped by the Customs/tax office. An example court case was the Dutch person who had a Belgium friend over in an exotic car. The question if he could drive the car was quickly asked, resulting in him being stopped on the Dutch highway with a Belgium license plated exotic car. At that time the BPM rate was 45.2% over the Dutch catalogue value. This Dutch person had to pay the BPM over this Belgium car, even though it was not his car and the driver was not importing this car into the Netherlands. This shows how rigid this tax is.

When you move from abroad to the Netherlands you can import a car tax free from BPM if this car was already owned by you during at least a six months period before you moved to the Netherlands. Please do not import a right hand driven car as you will never be able to sell it with Dutch license plates.

For your information, the BPM is now calculated based on the CO2 emission. The first 88grams is taxed at zero. The following 43 grams is taxed at EUR 125 per gram, which is EUR 5.375 if your car has a CO2 of 131 gram. The next 61gram is taxed at EUR 148 per gram, the following 23 gram is taxed at EUR 276 per gram. From 215 gram the rate is EUR 551 per gram. The BPM due up to 215 is already EUR 20.751.

We recommend that you have the license plates of your car converted into Dutch license plates if you drive a foreign license plated car while being a tax resident in the Netherlands. It is the driver that pays for the tax, hence if your partner or parent drives your car in the Netherlands during a visit, then they are liable for the BPM tax due based on the fact that you are a Dutch tax resident.

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