Costs for the police were wrongly included in the toll for HGVs in Germany. The European Court of Justice came to this decision on 28 October 2020. Due to this decision, the fees paid and still to be paid from this date until 30 September 2021 will be decreased retroactively. You can find out here where you can apply for a possible refund in the near future. And also what will change from 1 October.
A Polish freight forwarder had filed a complaint in Germany against the local toll charges. It considered them to be too high in view of the Eurovignette or infrastructure costs directive at European level. The case went all the way to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg. On 28 October 2020, the judges there ruled that the charging of traffic police costs in the Federal Republic of Germany for the calculation of infrastructure costs is objectionable under current European law.
For this reason, Germany updated its infrastructure cost calculation. And this will not only happen from the entry into force of the relevant amendment to the law from Q4 2021, but must also be implemented retroactively to the date of the ECJ ruling - i.e. the aforementioned 28 October 2020. It is therefore all the more important for transport companies to "retain the monthly toll statements from Toll Collect GmbH or the EEMD provider, as well as the itemised bills, from 28 October 2020 up to and including the last invoice for the period up to 30 September 2021 (Section 4 (2) sentence 3 of the Federal Highway Toll Act)", according to the Federal Office for Goods Transport (BAG) on its website.
For the time being, there is no threat of limitation for the period after the judgement.
The BAG therefore asks that applications not be submitted before 1 October 2021. The entire supporting documents, the processing of which is free of charge, should only be sent to the Office after the end of the calculation period, according to the wish of the higher federal authority.
But you generally do not have to prioritise speed over accuracy when submitting your documents. After all, according to the information provided by the agencies involved, you have until the end of 2023 to request repayment of these overpaid toll amounts. The corresponding application modalities, which are currently still being prepared and, according to the authorities, should be "as simple as possible", will be published on the BAG's homepage in due course.
However, since, depending on the outcome of further legal disputes, repayments for the periods prior to the ECJ ruling of October 2020 cannot be ruled out, it remains important to closely follow the current reporting in this field and also to maintain contact with the FOPH.
It remains important to closely follow the current reporting in this field and also to maintain contact with the BAG. For example, according to the trade media, claims for 2018 will become time-barred towards the end of this year.
Fees will decrease slightly in the future
Taking these developments into account, there will be new charging structures from 1 October due to the amendments to the Federal Highway Toll Act. Thus, the recalculation is fed not least by the ECJ ruling, but also takes into account other aspects of infrastructure as well as air and noise pollution issues. According to Toll Collect, "the toll rates per kilometre decrease slightly depending on the pollutant class (overall)." But in the so-called partial toll rates, the use of the more polluting models, especially Euro 4 or older types, will now be financially burdened a little more than before.
On the BAG website, the comparative overview of the toll rates - on the one hand, these rates assessed since 1 January 2019, and on the other hand, the charges to be paid from 1 October 2021 - can be downloaded. In the PDF file available there, the old and new rates are juxtaposed for the individual emission classes and toll categories. At a glance, it is clear that in almost all cases there is a slight reduction per kilometre.