Brussels, Belgium switches to car use tax

In Belgium, the government of the Brussels’ region is setting up the SmartMove plan establishing a kilometric tax. Among with economic, environmental and health benefits, the project aims at reducing the number of cars in the city which is the 2nd largest source of GHG emissions and cause thousands of death each year.

Regional entities are responsible for road taxes in Belgium.  Currently car owners must pay a first tax at the car purchase (the tax on entry into service) and also a forfeit road tax (the road fund tax) to be allowed to drive. The SmartMove plan would make a change in this fiscal policy and opt for a mileage tax based on the car use and not the car ownership. Car drivers would then pay each time they use their car. This tariff would be based on kilometers done, the journey time (rush hour or not, day or night) and the car’s engine power.  This system would use cameras already in place to monitor low emission zones to record the length of cars trips. Expected decreased of car journeys would go up to 25%.

The aim of the project is also to incentivize people ditching their cars for cleaner ways of transportations and opt for a more reasonable use of cars. This plan will be submitted to Brussels’ parliament next year and could be implemented in 2022.