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Car Registration Taxes in France

The taxes payable on registration of a new or second-hand vehicle have increased this year.

If you purchase a new or second-hand car (or other vehicle) in France you will be obliged to register the vehicle with the prefecture.

The same applies for the importation of a car from within or outside of Europe, with higher registration charges that apply for the latter.

Since the beginning of the year registration can now only be carried out on-line, although the process is not self-evident, even for French nationals, and the system has been plagued by a major technical problems.

The vehicle registration document is called the certifcat d’immatriculation, formerly the carte grise, a term which is still in colloquial use.

In the case of a new vehicle, the registration process and payment of the charge is normally undertaken by the dealer, when it is added to the purchase price of the vehicle.

Several taxes and charges are payable, although some only apply to particular types of vehicles.

The taxes and charges comprise:

Taxe régionale;
• Taxe de formation professionnelle ;
• Taxes sur les véhicules polluants;
• Taxe de gestion ;
• Redevance d’acheminement.

The taxe de formation professionnelle only applies to commercial transport vehicles, and the taxe de gestion and redevance d’acheminement are of such trifling amounts there is no need to consider them here.

Taxe Régionale

This is a tax fixed by the regional council, but which does not vary significantly across the country.

The level of the tax depends on the base figure determined by the council, multiplied by the 'fiscal' engine capacity (puissance fiscal or cheval fiscal) of the vehicle.

The information on the puissance fiscal is contained in column P.6 on the French registration card. If your log book does not contain this information, you would be best advised to contact your insurer or do a search engine check on the vehicle. There is a mathematical formula to obtain it, but it is not easy to use.

For vehicles over 10 years old there is a reduction of 50% in the tax. Most regions offer a discount of 100% for 'green' vehicles.

The following table shows the base figures used by each region, excluding commercial vehicles. It is payable on both new and second-hand sales.

So, for example a vehicle with a cheval fiscal of 7, being registered in Occitanie, the tax would be €44 x 7 = €308.

Taxe Régionale
RegionAmount per
Cheval Fiscal
Green Exemption
Centre-Val de Loire€49.800%
Pays de la Loire€48100%
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur€51100%

Taxes sur les véhicules polluants

A pollution tax is payable on the purchase of a new or second-hand vehicle registered since 2004 where the CO₂ emissions or power output exceeds a minimum threshold.

The écotaxe additionnelle (or malus) payable on the purchase of a new vehicle originating from within Europe depends on the level of CO₂ emissions.

The rates are on a scale from 120 CO₂/km to 185+ CO₂/km, with the tax increasing by €100 to €200 for each gram per kilometre. The following table shows a selection of the rates payable.

Under 120 CO₂ €0
130 CO₂ €300
150 CO₂ €2,300
185+ CO₂ €10,000

The rate is reduced by 40% for vehicles using E85 ethanol fuel blend. Families with at least three children are also granted a discount.

The French energy agency ADEME offers an on-line simulator where you can establish the emission level of your vehicle.

For second-hand vehicles registered since 2004 the tax is based on the chevaux-vapeur (horsepower) of the vehicle, as follows:

Under 10
Between 10 and 11
Between 12 and 14
Greater than 14

The level of the tax is reduced by one-tenth per year from the first year of registration.

In addition to the above taxes, a taxe annuelle sur la détention d'un véhicule particulier polluant is payable each subsequent year on high-polluting vehicles.

For those vehicles registered since 2012 the threshold that applies is 190g/CO₂/km; it is higher for older vehicles registered prior to this date, but does not apply to vehicles registered before 2009. The tax is €160 per year.

Related Reading:

This article was featured in our Newsletter dated 08/05/2018

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