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Everything you need to know about vehicle tax

26 november, 2021

In Sweden, owners of cars and other vehicles have paid vehicle tax ever since 1922. The tax is paid to the state, and the purpose of the law was for road users to pay for road maintenance of worn roads. The authority that handles vehicle tax matters is the Swedish Transport Agency.

What is vehicle tax?

Vehicle tax is a fee that applies to all vehicles that are not parked or only temporarily registered. Apart from these and other exceptions, the tax is mandatory, and completely independent of how much it is used. So it doesn't matter if you commute 15 miles a day to work or if you have a motorcycle that is driven a few times during the summer. As long as a vehicle is registered, vehicle tax must be paid for it.

For vehicle tax up to SEK 3,600 you pay once a year. For higher tax amounts, the tax is divided into three payment occasions per year. These types of vehicles are taxable:

  • Passenger cars

  • Trucks

  • Buses

  • Motorcycles

  • Tractors

  • Motor tools

  • Heavier trailers

  • Heavy all-terrain vehicles

Exemption from tax liability

Not all motor vehicles and equipment are taxable. Exemptions from tax liability apply, among other things, to:

  • So-called vintage vehicles, i.e. cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles that are 30 years or older, and that are not used in commercial traffic

  • Tractors in tax class II (agricultural tractors)

  • Heavy all-terrain vehicles not used on public roads

  • Motor equipment class II

  • Emergency vehicles, upon request

  • Trailers over 3,000 kg (in some cases)

  • Light trailers of a maximum of 750 kg

  • Mopeds, ATVs, snowmobiles and ATVs

  • Decommissioned and temporarily registered vehicles are not taxable

Bonus malus

In June 2018, the government introduced the so-called bonus malus system, which provides a bonus for cars with low carbon dioxide emissions and a penalty (malus) for vehicles with high emissions. In 2021, the limits for when malus tax must be paid were lowered. From 1 June 2022 further reduced limits apply.

Malus covers petrol and diesel-powered cars, light buses and trucks with a vehicle year of 2018 or later, and which emit certain amounts of carbon dioxide.

When is vehicle tax paid?

The vehicle tax is paid according to a certain schedule, and it is the last digit in the registration number that determines in which month the tax must be paid. If you e.g. has a final figure of SEK 1 and SEK 3,600 or less in tax, your vehicle tax must be paid in April.

Below you will see a complete list of when the tax must be paid, depending on the final figure in your vehicle.

SlutsiffraBetalningsmånadYtterligare betalningsmånad
0MarsJuli och november
1April Augusti och december
2MajSeptember och januari
3JuniOktober och februari
4AugustiDecember och april
5OktoberFebruari och juni
6NovemberMars och juli
7DecemberApril och augusti
8JanuariMaj och september
9FebruariJuni och oktober

Section 3 The vehicle tax for a tax year or a tax period must be paid during the month before the start of the tax year or tax period (payment month). The Road Traffic Tax Act.

What determines how much you pay in vehicle tax?

The size of the vehicle tax is calculated either based on how much the vehicle (passenger cars, mobile homes, light trucks and light buses) weighs or depending on how much CO2 (carbon dioxide) the vehicle emits during mixed driving.

Those taxed based on carbon dioxide emissions are:

  • Passenger car class I which is of:

    • vehicle year 2006 or later

    • vehicle year earlier than 2006 but which meets the requirements for environmental class 5, environmental class electric or environmental class hybrid

  • Motorhome, light truck or light bus, put into service on 1 January 2011 or later

The vehicles that are taxed according to weight are other passenger cars in class I, motorhomes, light trucks and buses. That is, those that do not fall under the vehicles that are calculated according to CO2 emissions.

Calculate vehicle tax

Calculating the vehicle tax requires knowing a little about the various supplements. The vehicle tax consists of several parts, basic amount, carbon dioxide amount, environmental surcharge and fuel surcharge. The basic amount is SEK 360/year and is paid for all vehicles covered by the malus rule (see above) . Malus is charged for three years from the time a vehicle becomes taxable for the first time.

The carbon dioxide amount from 1 June 2022 is SEK 107 per gram for vehicles that emit between 75-125 grams per kilometer, and SEK 132 for those that emit more than 125 grams (an increase from SEK 82 and SEK 107 respectively from 2018).

The environmental supplement is paid for diesel-powered vehicles and amounts to SEK 250 per year.

The fuel surcharge , finally, also applies to diesel-powered vehicles. Here, the supplement is calculated based on how many grams the vehicle emits per kilometer multiplied by 13.52.

Who pays vehicle tax when ownership changes?

Who must pay the vehicle tax in the event of a change of ownership depends on when the change of ownership takes place. If the change of ownership takes place in the same month as the tax must be paid, the tax must be paid by the person who transfers or sells the vehicle. If the tax is to be paid later, it is the new owner who is liable for tax.

Statement in connection with change of ownership

If the vehicle is registered in connection with the change of ownership, it is usually the new owner who becomes liable for tax. This applies if the change of ownership and declaration takes place at the same time, either via the registration certificate or the Swedish Transport Agency's app or e-service.

If, on the other hand, you report a claim and then send in the registration certificate, you as a seller will be liable for tax. But if the notification of the change of ownership shows that the declaration took place on the same day as the change of ownership, you can request a review of the tax decision at the Swedish Tax Agency.

Vehicle tax refund

If a vehicle is parked in connection with a change of ownership, excess tax amounts are refunded. Who gets the payment depends on when the change of ownership takes place - if the car is stopped before the change of ownership, you as the seller get the money back, otherwise the refund of the vehicle tax goes to the new owner.

Reimbursement of vehicle tax also takes place when the vehicle is deregistered – for example when it is scrapped or sold abroad. Other occasions when the vehicle tax is refunded are:

  • when the tax liability ends or a lower tax is levied

  • the vehicle's construction is changed in a way that makes the tax amount lower

  • the vehicle's tax changes due to new rules

Refunds are made if there is excess tax to be refunded. Payment is usually made to the person who was the registered owner at the time of the changed conditions. However, if the amount is less than SEK 50, no refund will be made.

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