All Spanish-registered vehicle owners (including motorcycle owners) must pay an annual road tax.
The amount of tax payable varies with the ‘fiscal horsepower’ of your car, which is a nominal amount not necessarily related to the engine power of a vehicle.
Road tax must be paid to your local authority, usually some time between March and May. Payment on the Orihuela Costa is usually by the first `part of May. Announcements are made on municipal notice boards and in local newspapers and banks, and the town hall may send you a reminder (but don’t count on it!). Tax can be paid in person at the SUMA office near the Town Hall on the N332, directly via certain local banks or direct debit from your account or by post.
When a vehicle is purchased, the tax payable is calculated pro rata for the current tax year. If a car is unused for a whole calendar year, you can have its registration temporarily suspended ( baja temporal) at your provincial traffic department. However, if a vehicle is used for just one month in a year, tax must be paid for the whole year.
There’s a late payment surcharge (recargo) of 5 per cent in the first month and 20 per cent thereafter, and the unpaid sum is also liable to interest. Some people have been able to avoid paying road tax for many years, although municipalities are now clamping down on non-payers, whose vehicles can be impounded by local police. Note that a Spanish-registered car is automatically logged by your local municipality when you register your ownership with the provincial traffic department.
A Spanish road tax certificate isn’t displayed inside your car’s windscreen or on your registration plates. However, you should keep the receipt in your car with your other vehicle documents, as the local police may ask to see it. It is also sometimes requested for ther traffic matters such as a change of ownership.