Malus surcharge on imported cars

IF I IMPORT a 2005 car must I pay a malus tax or is this only levied on new cars? H.M.

4 September 2014

IF I IMPORT a 2005 car must I pay a malus tax or is this only levied on new cars? H.M.

IT DEPENDS on the car’s CO2 emissions and in which month you register it in France.

Cars previously registered abroad and brought into France are subject, on the occasion of their first French registration at the prefecture, to the same malus (surcharge) tax as new cars bought in France.

The rates have been becoming increasingly tough and currently range from €150 for a 131-135g/km up to €8,000 for more than 200g/km (see: www.

However, if the car was previously registered abroad, the malus is reduced by 10% per year “broached” – referring to 12-month periods from the date of registration abroad to the date of registration in France.

In theory once you have moved permanently to France you should re-register the car within a month; otherwise a car used more than six months in any 12 in France should be registered.

So, if the car’s first registration was in May 2005 and you register it in June 2014 there is no tax because you have “broached” the tenth 12-month period; if it was first registered in the latter part of 2005 then there would be a (relatively small) malus to pay.

Note that owners of cars that are on their first registration in France (ie. new ones or imported ones) that emit more than 190g/km are also eligible to pay an annual tax of €160, levied from the year after registration, by the local tax office at the end of the year.

The CO2 emission level - for purposes of calculating the malus - is reduced by 40% for cars running on E85 ethanol fuel blend (as long as they do not emit more than 250g/km of CO2).

Large families can apply for a refund of part of the malus tax paid resulting from a (retrospective) reduction in the CO2 emission level used for the car by 20g/km per child from the third.

Photo: Clement Bucco-Lechat/ Wikimedia Commons

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