The EU has ruled that the centimo sanitario is illegal, opening the way to a court ruling that Spain must return the almost 13 billion euros collected to drivers.
It’s a tax that the regions are allowed to apply at their discretion to fuel sold at the pumps, and the reason why Murcia is slightly cheaper for gas than Andalucia (Murcia doesn’t collect the tax). It’s known as the impuesto sobre las ventas minoristas de determinados hidrocarburos (IVMDH).
The tax is supposed to be used to offset pollution and emission, but in reality…. just goes into the coffers.
The EU Prosecutor General decided recently that the centimo sanitario didn’t comply with EU rules on “special taxes” and must be abolished, a ruling Spain hasn’t complied with yet, as it was waiting for the results of a court case, as I reported last October (Spanish green tax on fuel is probably illegal says EU).
Catalan transport company “Transportes Jordi Besora” (TJB) took the matter to the EU courts requesting the refund of €45,000 which it has paid under this tax.
The EU court of justice has now ruled that the centimo sanitario runs contrary to EU law and must be abolished. They can now rule on the TJB case, and if they rule TJB must be reimbursed, then anyone who has every paid the tax can ask for it to be returned, bankrupting Spain in the process – it’s estimated the tax has racked in over 13 billion euros since it was first applied.