HGV Transit Toll (ex Ecotax)

What is the HGV Transit Toll (ex Ecotax)?

The HGV Transit Toll (ex Ecotax), one of the measures adopted by the Grenelle de l’Environnement law, is a mileage tax that aims to reduce the environmental impacts of road haulage and generate resources to develop and maintain transport infrastructure. The HGV Transit Toll applies to all haulage vehicles in excess of 3.5 tonnes travelling on approximately 4,000 km of the French national and department network, liable for this tax.

The taxable road network consists of a publicly-managed national network (3,800 km), currently free of charge, and certain departmental or communal roads liable to receive a significant transfer of traffic (200 km).

The map of the taxable network is available on the website of the French Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy as a downloadable document.

The revenues generated by this tax will be distributed to the Agency for Financing Transport Infrastructure in France (AFITF) and territorial authorities for the sums corresponding to the circulation of heavy goods vehicles on department and communal roads.

Taxable vehicles

Who is liable for the tax?

The HGV Transit Toll is owed jointly by the owner, lessee, sub-lessee, driver or any user of a haulage vehicle whose tractor maximum weight permissible exceeds 3.5 tonnes and uses the taxable network.

Which vehicles are taxable?

Taxable vehicles are haulage vehicles whose tractor maximum weight permissible exceeds 3.5 tonnes.

How is a vehicle’s category defined?

The vehicle category is defined according to its total number of axles (including the trailer) and, if applicable, the tractor’s maximum weight permissible. There are three categories:

  • Cat. 1 : 2 axles with a maximum weight permissible > 3.5 tonnes and < 12 tonnes;
  • Cat. 2 : 2 axles with a maximum weight permissible > = 12 tonnes or 3 axles;
  • Cat. 3 : 4 axles or more

Which vehicles are non-taxable?

Non-taxable vehicles are:

  • passenger transport vehicles;
  • priority general interest vehicles;
  • agricultural vehicles and machinery, defined by article R311.1 of the French Highway Code;
  • vehicles, owned by State or local authorities, used for road operations and maintenance works;
  • milk collection vehicles;
  • military vehicles.

How does the payment system work?

All vehicles should be fitted with a HGV Transit Toll-certified electronic On-Board Unit. The OBU developed by Telepass is interoperable with other European (TIS-PL in France, Via-T in Spain, LIEFKENSHOEK tunnel in Belgium,…) toll systems.
The On-Board Unit is programmed when the vehicle’s characteristics are entered into the database. This information includes the registration number, number of axles, gross combination weight rating, emission category and full name and contact details of the owner. The unit’s customised data allow the system to recognise the vehicle. Circulation data registered by the On-Board Unit allow automatic calculation of the amount of tax due for each journey by the heavy goods vehicle on the taxable network. The On-Board Unit is very easily installed by the user.

Registration

How to register and receive an On-Board Unit.

Vehicle registration, which entitles the vehicle to an On-Board Unit, is done:

  • either with a registered Electronic Toll system Company (SHT): In this case subscribers are “subscribers liable for tax”;
  • or the commissioned contractor, Ecomouv’: in this case, subscribers are called “non-subscribers liable for tax”, via the Ecomouv’ website, an automatic terminal or distribution point on the Ecomouv’ distribution network (Pass points).

Who can register a taxable vehicle?

The following, or their authorised representative, may proceed with registration of a taxable vehicle:

  • the owner;
  • the lessee or sub-lessee;
  • the driver;
  • the user.

I am neither the owner, nor the lessee, nor the sub-lessee but simply the user of the taxable vehicle, may I register as person liable for tax?

Yes. The user should in this case enclose with their registration application, a “person/entity liable for tax certificate” (available by request from +33 (0) 808 807 801) which needs to be jointly signed with the vehicle owner.

What is the difference between subscribers and non-subscribers?

Users have two solutions to comply with the tax:

  • Subscribers liable for tax

This category of users signs a contract with the company authorized to collect toll money (registered Electronic Toll system Company or ‘SHT”), which will supply the On-Board Unit and provide all other related services, in particular regular invoicing of the tax, as well as management of the contract and customer account.

Unlike non-subscribers liable for tax, subscribers liable for tax benefit from a 10% reduction, according to a rate set by Order.

  • Non-subscribers liable for tax

This category of users signs a contract with Ecomouv’, obtains an On-Board Unit and pays a prepaid credit amount on tax. This prepaid credit amount on tax may be topped up by cash, cheques, credit cards and by the major fuel cards. It may be done on issuance of the OBU unit or later. In all cases, this prepaid credit amount should be settled before access to the taxable network. It must be topped up before it runs out and the vehicle is unable to use the taxable network. A prepaid credit amount on tax should be settled for each vehicle. It may not be used for several vehicles at a time.

For more information

Case of rental

In the case of vehicle rental, who pays the HGV Transit Toll: the hire company or the lessee?

It is necessary to make the difference between short-term rental (less than 3 months) and long-term rental (more than 3 months).

  • In the first case, the hire company should acquire an OBU (by registering with an SHT -registered Electronic Toll system Company- or by prepaying the HGV Transit Toll) and bill the lessee for the sum of the HGV Transit Toll.
  • In the second case, the registered taxable entity may be the lessee with authorisation from the hire company. In this case, the lessee proceeds with vehicle registration and fits the vehicle with an OBU.
    (decree no. 2013-559 of 26 June 2013)

In the case of a rental, who – the hire company or the lessee – applies the increase?

The flat-rate increase applies to the price of the vehicle hire with driver. The increase does not apply in the case of vehicle hire without a driver.

The flat-rate increase only applies when the hire company is the registered taxable entity for the hired vehicle.

When the hire company is the registered entity liable for tax, how does it apply the increase?

It applies the tax according to the geographic scope of use of the vehicle for the hire period.

  • If the geographic scope has not been determined in the contract, the hire company applies the national flat-rate increase.
  • If the geographic scope has been determined, the hire company applies the corresponding rate set out in the contract (regional or national flat-rate increase rate).

Tax calculation

What pricing principles are applied?

The taxable network is divided into sections (taxed road segments between two successive intersections with other public roads). Each charging section defined in this way is linked to a virtual charging point. Crossing it triggers the application of tax. The distance linked to this charging point then constitutes the tax base. The charging sections and points are defined by Order.

Are any reductions possible?

Three regions benefit from a tax reduction due to their distance from the economic centre of Europe: The tax will be reduced by:

  • 30 % for the use of roads located in so-called peripheral regions (far from large European urban centres): Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrénées;
  • 50 % for the use of taxed roads in so-called peripheral regions without toll-paying motorways: Brittany.

How is the tax calculated?

The tax is calculated according to a per-kilometre rate that varies depending on the vehicle category and which may be subject to a weighting coefficient depending on the vehicle’s emission level (EURO class), the concerned geographical areas (application of the peripherality principle) and traffic density.

Is it necessary to fit a taxable vehicle with an OBU even if it does not use the taxable network?

All taxable vehicles must be fitted with OBU when they use the taxable network.

Are foreign heavy goods vehicles taxed in the same way as French heavy goods vehicles?

Yes. Payment of the HGV Transit Toll does not depend on the vehicle’s nationality but only on the kilometres travelled by the vehicle on the French road network. However foreign vehicles need only be fitted with the on-board unit if they use the network in question.

What rate per kilometre is applied?

The rate per kilometre applicable to vehicle categories defined by Order 14 May 2013 bearing on the rate per kilometre and on modulations applied by the aforementioned national heavy goods vehicle tax for 2014 is as follows:

  • Category 1: 8.8 euro centimes per kilometre;
  • Category 2: 11.1 euro centimes per kilometre;
  • Category 3: 15.4 euro centimes per kilometre.

How is the rate determined according to the Euro emission class?

The rate varies according to the EURO emission class of the vehicle (as set out in paragraph two of 1 of article 275 of the French Customs Code) and is determined for each class by an increase or decrease of the rate defined by the Order of 14 May 2013:

  • Electric vehicles: ― 40 % ;
  • EURO VI and more environment-friendly vehicle (VRE): – 15 %
  • EURO V: – 5 % ;
  • EURO IV: 0 % ;
  • EURO III: + 10 % ;
  • EURO II: + 15 % ;
  • EURO I and vehicles prior to Euro I class: + 20 %.

Electric vehicles are considered to be vehicles completely driven by electric power, without the use of fuel combustion.

How is my vehicle detected when using the taxable network?

The OBU informs the Ecomouv’ processing centre by GPS that the vehicle has crossed the charging point. When the zone is not covered by GPS (tunnel, mountain, etc.), a DSRC beacon replaces GPS.
The taxable network is divided into charging sections. Each charging section is linked to a charging point. Crossing it triggers the application of tax. Charting points and sections on the taxable network are not displayed along or on the road. The definition of charging points is available on the Ecomouv’ website.

If I do not drive under a gate (fixed automatic enforcement), will I be taxed?

Yes. Gates are not charging points; they are part of the enforcement system.

My vehicle breaks down and has to be towed by a rescue vehicle. Who pays the HGV Transit Toll?

The broken down vehicle, even if it is towed, will be invoiced through its on-board unit. But the person/entity liable for tax may file a reimbursement claim with Ecomouv’ or the toll company. For that, it is necessary to complete the Ecomouv’ “invoiced nominal tax reimbursement claim” form (www.ecomouv.com) and provide proof of the vehicle rescue.

What to do if I want to dispute the invoiced tax?

Payment by the person/entity liable for tax of the full amount of the tax invoiced is a prerequisite for any reimbursement claim. The claim against the customs administration should be filed 3 years after the payment of the said tax at the latest.

  • Non-subscribers liable for tax send their claim directly to the commissioned contractor, Ecomouv’.
  • Subscribers liable for tax send their claim to the SHT -registered electronic toll system company- with which they contracted. They can also directly contact the commissioned contractor.
  • • In all cases, they need to complete the Ecomouv’ “invoiced nominal tax reimbursement claim” form (www.ecomouv.com).

Repercussion of the cost of the HGV Transit Toll (ex Ecotax)

How should the HGV Transit Toll be retranscribed on the customer’s invoice?

The HGV Transit Toll needs to be paid by the carrier but may be transferred to the consignor, i.e. the entity ordering the haulage service. The carrier is authorised to increase the price of transport by including the HGV Transit Toll through flat-rate increases. The invoice should feature the sales price excluding taxes and including the flat-rate increase; but it is necessary to specify the increase amount at the bottom of the invoice.
VAT should be applied to the HGV Transit Toll which is considered as a service purchased by the consignor.
(Sales price + flat-rate increase) + VAT/sales price including the flat-rate increase = price to pay

What are the terms of the repercussion of the HGV Transit Toll to the consignor?

The carrier may charge the HGV Transit Toll to its customers via a flat-rate increase.

A Ministerial Order defines two types of increase rate:

  • a single rate for transportation between regions: 5.2 % as of 1 January 2014
  • an intra-regional rate for transportation inside each region, depending on the region

Features of the flat-rate increase

  • The mandatory increase applies to the benefit of carriers and affects the price of haulage services.
  • The increase is applied via a flat rate,
  • The increase is applicable to all journeys (taxable and non-taxable network).
  • The increase is independent of the HGV Transit Toll paid by the carrier, the journey taken or the features of the heavy goods vehicle.
  • The increase comes into force on the total amount of the haulage service.
  • The increase is passed on after diesel costs.
  • The sum of the increase should be written on the bottom of the invoice on a dedicated line.
  • The increase is mandatory and is automatically applied. Non-compliance can incur a criminal penalty of €15,000. If the price of haulage is considered abusively low and does not cover a certain number of costs, the carrier and customer are liable to pay a fine that could reach up to €90,000.
  • For cabotage operations and national haulage services provided for a foreign customer, the increase still applies.

In the case of non-use of the taxable network, can the carrier apply the price increase to the transport service?

The price increase should be applied by the carrier for all haulage services, even if the journey takes the taxable network partially or not at all.

What are the terms of repercussion of the HGV Transit Toll to the consignor within the scope of international transport?

If transport is to or from an administrative border region, the carrier applies the regional increase rate. In all other cases, the national increase rate is applied. If it is impossible to isolate the haulage cost – because it covers consolidation and sorting operations for transport purposes for example – the repercussion will be based on a flat-rate amount defined by a weight-distance price chart defined by the DGITM (General Directorate of Transport and Sea Infrastructure). The amount may be broken down between different customers.

Does the increase apply to a transport contract not governed by French law?

If the law chosen by the contracting parties is not French law, the increase does not apply.
The parties can freely choose the repercussion method or make the contractual choice to apply French increase rates. But this choice will be contractual only.
The provisions of European Regulation (EC) No 593/2008 will be applied to the law applicable on contractual obligations transcribing the Rome I international convention.

Article 5 of the European regulation:
1 – To the extent that the law applicable to a contract for the carriage of goods has not been chosen in accordance with Article 3, the law applicable shall be the law of the country of the usual residence of the carrier, provided that the place of receipt or the habitual residence of the consignor is also situated in that country. If those requirements are not met, the law of the country where the place of delivery as agreed by the parties is situated shall apply.
2 – […]
3 – Where it is clear from all circumstances of the case that the contract in the absence of a choice of law, is manifestly more closely connected with a country other than that indicated in paragraph 1 […], the law of that other country shall apply.

What increase rates should be applied?

2014
National flat-rate increase rate 5,20%
Intra-regional flat-rate increase rate
Alsace 6,90%
Aquitaine 2,30%
Auvergne 3,80%
Basse-Normandie 4,60%
Bourgogne 4,30%
Bretagne 3,70%
Centre 3,60%
Champagne-Ardennes 5,50%
Franche-Comté 3,30%
Haute-Normandie 4,10%
Île-de-France 7,00%
Languedoc-Roussillon 2,10%
Limousin 6,00%
Lorraine 5,70%
Midi-Pyrénées 2,80%
Nord-Pas-de-Calais 6,70%
PACA 2,70%
Pays de la Loire 3,90%
Picardie 4,10%
Poitou-Charente 4,60%
Rhône-Alpes 3,40%

Source: Orders of 25 July 2013 setting the increase rates set out in article L. 3222-3 of the French Transport Code for 2013 and 2014.

Enforcement

Will there be enforcements?

Different types of enforcement will be done by different authorities:

  • by the commissioned contractor: on the roadside using moveable or fixed automatic enforcement devices;
  • by the enforcement authorities (customs and gendarmerie officers and terrestrial transport inspectors): on roads, in parking places and areas or in companies.

For more information about penalties and enforcement of the HGV Transit Toll:
On the Ecomouv’ website, in the section 3.2. ENFORCEMENT SYSTEM and on the Customs website

What is the purpose of the gates (Fixed Enforcement)?

They are used to check that:

  • Each vehicle is fitted with an operating and activated OBU.
  • The on-board unit’s data correspond to the vehicle.
  • The actual number of axles on the vehicle matches the number declared in the OBU.

Besides fixed enforcement points, there are moveable enforcement points. These are devices placed along the roadside and designed to identify irregularities. Moveable and manual enforcement devices complete the enforcement system. They are used by the 4 State enforcement authorities (French Police, Gendarmerie, Customs, terrestrial transport inspectors). They are used to detect irregularities in moving or parked vehicles.

What is a non-compliance?

Non-compliance is an irregularity aimed at or resulting in escaping or compromising the payment of the tax (e.g. lack of OBU, OBU switched off, discordance between the declared EURO emission class and the identified EURO emission class resulting in eluding or reducing the amount of tax, on-board unit not corresponding to the vehicle, etc.)

How is the person/entity liable for tax informed of the non-compliance by an automatic enforcement device?

Ecomouv’ identifies the non-compliance through the automatic enforcement device, notifies the person/entity liable for tax and receives the actual tax amount due to that non-compliance. Ecomouv’ then transmits the dossier to the General Directorate of Customs and Indirect Duties (DGDDI) for application of the fine.

How much tax should be paid in the event of non-compliance?

The sum of tax to be paid and the details of its settlement are mentioned in the notification document sent to the person/entity liable for tax. Depending on the scale of the non-compliance, the person/entity liable for tax will be required to settle a flat-rate or actual rate. When flat-rate taxation has been applied, the tax rate multiplied by a flat-rate sum of 500 km, the person/entity liable for tax can provide evidence of the distance actually covered on the taxable network by the non-compliant vehicle. When this evidence is provided and accepted, an effective tax rate is established (non-compliance rectification or cancellation form, www.ecomouv.com)

What is the difference between a non-compliance and an offence?

When the compliance is observed by an enforcement authority, it becomes an offence.

What happens when an offence is observed?

When an offence is observed by an enforcement authority officer, they are authorised to notify the offence and receive the fine. Only the French Customs Authority is also authorised to collect the tax.

What are the legal penalties in the case of an offence?

Any infraction observed is punishable by a maximum fine of €750.

When can my vehicle be checked?

Checks on vehicles may intervene at the roadside (moving vehicle) or when stopped (e.g. when parked). They can also occur in company premises. In this case they are conducted jointly with Customs and terrestrial transport inspection departments. They focus on compliance with legal or regulatory provisions by the company.

Additional information on the HGV Transit Toll (ex Ecotax)

Additional information on the heavy goods vehicle transit toll is available:

Legal framework

Legal tax bases and penalties
The legal tax bases (enforcement and collection defined by the law, decree and published in the JO and BOD) are available on the Ecomouv’ websiteCOMMUNITY AND NATIONAL FRAMEWORK OF THE SET IN WHICH THE TAX INTERVENESCommunity frameworkDirective 2004/52/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 29 April 2004 on “Interoperability”Directive 2006/38/EC dated 17 May 2006 of the Parliament and the Council modifying Directive1999/62/EC concerning the taxation of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures, known as “Eurovignette”

Ruling of the Commission 2009/750/EC concerning the definition of the European toll automatic toll payment system and its technical aspects.

Transposal into French law

Decree n° 2011-812 of 5 July 2011 relating to the market launch, withdrawal or ban on interoperability elements of the European electronic toll service.

Decree n° 2011-813 of 5 July 2011 relating to the terms of registration in France of Electronic Toll System Companies.

Order of 2 November 2011 relating to applications to register as a European Electronic Toll System company.

Order of 29 June 2011 relating to EC marking of the interoperability elements of the European electronic toll system.

FRENCH LEGAL AND REGULATORY NETWORK APPLICABLE TO THE TAX

National legal framework

Law no. 2008-1425 dated 27 December on finance for 2009 (article 153) modified by:

(i) Law no. 2009-1674 dated 30 December 2009 on finance, rectification (article 32)

(ii) Law no. 2010-1658 dated 29 December 2010 on finance, rectification for 2010, Law no. 2011-1977 dated 28 December 2011 on finance for 2012

(iii) Law no. 2011-1978 on finance, rectification dated 28 December 2011 (article 53)

(iv) Law no. 2012-1510 dated 29 December 2012 on finance, rectification for 2012

(v) Law no. 2013-431 dated 28 May 2013 applying various provisions concerning infrastructures and transport services

FRENCH REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

Decrees

Decree n° 2009-1589 of 18 December 2009 relating to the consistency in the Alsace road network where vehicles transporting goods are taxed.

Decree n° 2009-1588 of 18 December 2009 relating to the composition in the national road network where vehicles transporting goods are not taxed.

Decree No. 2011-233 dated 2 March 2011 concerning the list of departments specified in 2° of Article 275 of the French Customs Code (List of French mainland departments categorised in the most unfavourable decile according to their peripherality in the European area, evaluated according to their distance from the major European urban areas).

Decree n° 2011-234 of 2 March 2011 relating to vehicle categories liable to pay national heavy goods vehicle tax.

Decree n° 2011-845 of 15 July 2011 relating to the official approval of collection and enforcement chains of the tax in Alsace and the national heavy goods vehicle tax.

Decree n° 2011-899 of 27 July 2011 relating to vehicle categories liable to pay heavy goods vehicle tax in Alsace.

Decree n° 2011-910 of 27 July 2011 relating to the consistency in the national road network where vehicles transporting goods are taxed.

Decree n° 2011-991 of 23 August 2011 relating to the contractor tasked with collecting the heavy goods vehicle tax as set out in articles 269 to 283 quinquies and 285 septies of the French Customs Code.

Decree n° 2013-618 of 11 July 2013 relating to the definition of the vehicles subject to the heavy goods vehicle tax.

Decree no. 2013-559 dated 26 June 2013 concerning the rights and obligations of users liable for heavy goods vehicle tax.

Orders

Order of 28 September 2011 relating to the registration terms of Electronic Toll System companies for the benefit of persons/entities liable for Alsace heavy goods vehicle tax and the national heavy goods vehicle tax.

Order of 8 June 2012 relating to the certification of technical devices and official approval of collection, automatic and manual enforcement chains of the Alsace heavy goods vehicle tax and national heavy goods vehicle tax.

Order dated 1 October 2012 setting the values stipulated in Articles 29, 44, 65, and 67 of the appendices of the order dated 8 June 2012 concerning the certification of technical equipment and the official approval of collection chains, automatic enforcement and manual enforcement of the Alsace tax and national tax on heavy goods vehicles, as modified by the order dated 21 February 2013.

Order dated 28 March 2013 concerning the definition of charging points and charging sections stipulated in II of Article 270 of the French Customs Code.

Order dated 14 May 2013 concerning the kilometric rate and modulations applied to it of the national tax on heavy good vehicles for 2013.

Order dated 14 May 2013 concerning the kilometric rate and modulations applied to it of the national tax on heavy good vehicles for 2014.

Order dated 14 May 2013 concerning the discount stipulated in Article 278 or the French Customs Code on the amount of national tax due on heavy goods vehicles.

Order dated 3 July 2013 stipulating the criteria applicable to the guarantee of the service provider in charge of collecting the heavy goods vehicle tax under the provisions of Articles 269 to 283 quinquies of the French Customs Code.

Order dated 4 July 2013 authorising the creation of an automated processing system called the “taxe poids lourds” or heavy goods vehicle tax.

Order dated 12 July 2013 concerning the registration of vehicles subject to the heavy goods vehicle tax.

Order dated 12 July 2013 concerning the minimum fill and refill of the prepaid credit amount on tax on heavy goods vehicles.

Order dated 12 July 2013 concerning the supply of on-board units required to collect the heavy goods vehicle tax.

Order dated 12 July 2013 concerning the data required to personalise the on-board unit required by vehicles subject to the heavy goods vehicle tax.

Order dated 17 July 2013 stipulating the appointment of the service provider in charge of collecting the heavy goods vehicle tax under the provisions of Articles 269 to 283 quinquies of the French Customs Code.

Order of 25 July 2013 setting the increase rates set out in article L. 3222-3 of the French Transport Code for 2014.

Choosing Telepass to pay the HGV Transit Toll (ex Ecotax) means choosing:

Expertise, benefit of an expert, reliable assistance to answer your questions about all the details of the new tax.

Simplicity, simplify your payments by using just one service with a single device.

Cost-effectiveness, get the best prices and 10% of bonus from the State.

It will be possible to pay for the heavy goods vehicle transit toll service using Telepass SAT.