Brussels municipalities want to introduce tax on public charging stations

Brussels municipalities want to introduce a uniform tax of 125 euros per plug for public electric charging stations by early 2025, writes the business newspaper De Tijd. The news is confirmed by Vincent De Wolf (MR), president of the Conference of Mayors of the Brussels Region and mayor of Etterbeek.

The proposal, already debated in March, will be discussed again today among Brussels mayors. Many charging stations have two plugs, so the tax will amount to 250 euros in those cases. Brussels employers’ organization Voka Metropolitan reacted critically.

Compensation for lost revenues

The uniform Brussels tax rate for public charging stations aims to counteract a maze of taxes. The municipalities also see the tax to compensate for lost revenues from parking spaces and petrol pumps.

Ultimately, the municipalities must decide whether to introduce the tax. In Saint-Gilles and Ixelles, the decision has already been made, and taxes of 180 and 281 per plug, respectively, are currently higher than the estimated amount in the Conference plan.

Brussels tax trap

Brussels employers’ association Voka Metropolitan points out that the idea is diametrically opposed to the ambition of to install 22,000 charging stations in the Brussels region by 2035, a target to which several private players were invited.

“We now have to conclude that these companies have fallen into a Brussels tax trap,” says René Konings, director of Voka Metropolitan. As a result, Konings says, the revenue model of the charging station operators is at risk, and “the region risks not being able to fulfill its ambition.”

Belgian roadside assistance service and insurer Touring also reacts “with dismay” to the municipalities’ plan. Touring recalls that the future tax is on top of VAT on goods, the costs of charging, and labor costs. 

Lack of consultation

Resigned Brussels Energy Minister Alain Maron (Ecolo) regrets the lack of consultation with charging station operators, his cabinet told the press agency Belga. “ is a success, with more than 6,200 charging points accessible to the public today. In 2018, there were only 400.”

Maron says he has also asked his fellow Ministers of Local Government, Finance, and Budget to check whether these municipal taxes are in accordance with the principles of the tax compensation fund.

“According to the principles of agreement between the Region and the municipalities, municipalities receive regional subsidies and undertake not to increase local taxes on economic activities,” the Maron administration says.

The Minister also points out that an exemption request must be submitted to the Region for any new tax that could impact local and regional economic development.

“If local authorities want to levy taxes, it must be done in a coordinated and proportional way. And, of course, in a uniform manner in the 19 municipalities,” the Brussels Minister concluded.

Rotation tariff

Still, according to De Tijd, the Brussels municipalities also work on a so-called rotation tariff, charging those who occupy a load station longer than necessary. Those who park their car at a public charging station stay on average three times longer than their charging needs.

Such charging station hogs not only take the place of other drivers who want to load up their EVs, but they also limit the potential revenue of the operators.

The exact amount is still being negotiated, but at the Conference of Mayors, there was earlier talk of a progressive rate rising to 8 euros after three hours. For now, in Brussels, you don’t pay parking fees while your EV charges. But then, the vehicle must be effectively connected to the charging station. If not, a fixed fee of 50 euros will be charged.


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