State Secretary Eric Wiebes of Finance can once again wet his chest. Last week it became clear that the 1 excise duty measure January 2014 is in all likelihood lacking its effect. It has now also become clear that the adjusted MRB rules for old-timers this year are far from yielding the estimated amount. Instead of the estimated and already adjusted revenue of € 120 million in the meantime, less than a third of that amount in tax revenues will flow to Staatskas.
Revenue: € 35 million
The Car Interests Foundation of Wouter van Embden calculated that the measure in 2014 brings in a maximum of € 35 million in old-timer tax. That conclusion is the result of a thorough investigation, in which the representative represented all relevant figures. Car Interests discovered the calculation method of Finance through WOB requests and released it on the current figures of the RDW where all vehicle registrations are carefully recorded. In the analysis, Autobelangen involved the passenger cars and motorcycles that were on 1 January 2014 from 26 to 40 years: old-timers for which the MRB did not have to be paid for the adjustment. 1987 also included diesel and LPG passenger cars in the study, without taking into account the fuel surcharge resulting from the Van Vliet Amendment. That supplement was already a source of income and did not result from the adjusted measure. In total, 121.233 old-timer passenger cars and 120.066 motorcycles - active and taxed per 1 April 2014 - were taken as the basis for the calculated revenue.
Ministry estimate: calculation without behavioral consequences
To make a clear comparison between the Ministry's estimate and the conclusion of Car Interests possible, the organization of foreman Wouter van Embden used the same principles as the Ministry of Finance. However, various documents show that the data linked by the Hague calculators to these criteria (excluding fuel surcharge from Amendment van Vliet, no provincial surcharges, only assuming passenger cars and motorcycles) had a very loose pulse character. The revenues were initially calculated on the basis that the MRB exemption would be abolished for all old-timers. The composition of the old-timer file to be taken as the starting point was corrected with assumed and unexamined suspension numbers within different age categories. The result was multiplied by the MRB due per category. The estimate - including the effects of assumed suspensions - was set at € 153 million. The adjustments as a result of the relaxation of the past spring and the prelude to the current situation resulted in an adjusted estimate of € 120 million. Behavioral effects were hardly taken into account.
That is exactly what Autobelangen did. Already in 2013 a thorough investigation came forward that meticulously cast its shadow ahead. The yield analysis for 2014 was also compiled on that basis. The big difference with the data collection from Finance is that Car Interests involved all behavioral consequences in the survey, collected the correct figures and applied them to the current file mentioned. Van Embden and his companions already signaled this spring that the findings from the old-timer file composed in 2013 were confirmed. Car Interests approached State Secretary Wiebes a few times to discuss the arrangement and the consequences, but the Amsterdam politician kindly thanked for the honor. He indicated that he would continue the policy of his predecessor Weekers.
Answers to parliamentary questions indicate gaps
Wiebes did formulate the answers in July to a number of questions asked by CDA MPs Omtzigt and De Rouw. Broadly speaking, it came down to Wiebes indicating that the Tax and Customs Administration was completely unprepared for the adopted classic car scheme, many assessments had not yet been paid and there was a lot of uncertainty about the implementation. Also striking: Finance could or only wanted to submit the most up-to-date information regarding the oldtimer file "because of the continuous change in the license plate file." In doing so, the Ministry actually indicated that no interim evaluation took place in The Hague. The official body is also hiding behind the fact that in the first half of this year the Tax and Customs Administration was not yet properly set up for the amended measure. “Current figures can be requested from the RDW at any time,” says Wouter van Embden. “In addition, in contrast to those of the excise duty increases, the consequences of the measure are easy to determine.” It has now become clear that the modified old-timer scheme has caused a redundancy within the LPG stock, while the Diesels between 25 and 40 years are the least suspended. The latter indicates that the original reason for abolishing the motor vehicle tax exemption - the environmental principles - had the least effect.
Agreement between Car Interests and Tax Authorities
All developments do not prevent Car Interests from continuing the fight for the right scheme. In the meantime, agreement was reached with the Tax Authorities on the collective arrangement whereby Car Interests (further) litigate against the state on behalf of the classic car owners. Developments with regard to tax revenues can become an important factor in this.
Strive for a balanced arrangement
The aim of Car Interests, incidentally, remains to nurture cultural heritage and to achieve a balanced old-timer scheme that is in line with those in neighboring countries. “We are not satisfied until such an agreement has been reached,” says Wouter van Embden of Autobelangen, and he emphasizes that such an arrangement must above all be sustainable so that everyone knows what they are up to for years to come. Just as everyone now knows what it means when political measures are taken without proper behavioral consequences and scenarios being looked at. And these are not evaluated on time and meticulously. The result in the old-timer file is a miscalculation of € 85 million. Not to mention the damage suffered by the classic car owners and industry as well as the consequences for employment.
Wouter van Embden was early this morning interviewed by BNR Nieuwsradio. Click here to listen to the interview - including a response from CDA MP Pieter Omtzigt -.