Vehicles subject to the per-kilometre charge are :
- Motor vehicles, i.e. single lorries;
- All articulated vehicles, i.e. lorries with trailers or towing vehicles with semi-trailers;
- which are intended for the transport of goods on roads and those that are used for this purpose, either partially or exclusively;
- and which have a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of over 3.5 tonnes.
The per-kilometre charge is not related to the quality of the person paying the charge but to the type of vehicle (vehicle intended and/or used for the transport of goods).
Therefore, if a public authority, town, municipality or association of communes have this type of vehicle, this public authority, town, municipality or association of communes will be obliged to pay the per-kilometre charge.
Vehicles intended for transporting passengers (for example school buses) are not concerned by the per-kilometre charge.
There is a distinction between the “specific GVW” and the “road train GVW”.
The “specific GVW” is calculated by adding together the empty weight and the payload of the vehicle. This is indicated on the inspection certificate assigned to each vehicle.
When a motor vehicle is authorised to draw a trailer or a semi-trailer, as the case may be, the said document also indicates the “road train GVW” which is the vehicle’s specific GVW plus the permissible maximum weight of trailer.
To check whether a vehicle is subject to the per-kilometre charge, only the “specific GVW” is taken into account. However, to apply the rate, the “road train GVW” is taken into account
- A motor vehicle with a “specific GVW” of 3 tonnes and a “road train GVW” of 5 tonnes:
- This vehicle is not subject to the per-kilometre charge because the “specific GVW” does not exceed 3.5 tonnes.
- A motor vehicle with a “specific GVW” of 9 tonnes and a “road train GVW” of 14 tonnes:
- This vehicle is subject to the per-kilometre charge because the “specific GVW” exceeds 3.5 tonnes;
- To determine the rate, the “road train GVW” is taken into account, i.e. 14 tonnes.
Transporting goods means transferring goods from one place to another which suggests that the goods are likely to be loaded and unloaded.
The use of the terms “used” and “partially” underlines the fact that, for the per-kilometre charge to be owed, there is no requirement that the transport of goods on roads be an “exclusive function”. This differs greatly from the Eurovignette system in which only the general purpose of the vehicle was considered.
Based on the decree of 16 July 2015 implementing the per-kilometre charge, it can be concluded that vehicles that were subject to the Eurovignette will still be subject to the per-kilometre charge.
However, the reverse is not always true. So a vehicle that was “exempted” from the Eurovignette may be subject to the per-kilometre charge.
The following vehicles fall “outside the scope” of the per-kilometre charge introduced by the three regions :
- elevators with telescopic arms
- concrete pumps without mixers
- “training vehicles” if they meet the four following conditions:
- they have dual controls in the cabin
- they carry no goods (except for educational purposes, such as concrete blocks)
- they are externally recognizable by the name “drivings school” on the cabin
- they are registered in the name of a driving school or a social fund for transportation and logistics
- vehicles with a ZZ-type test drive licence plates, only used in accordance with the conditions specified in the Royal Decree of 8 January 1996 relating to regulations on the registration of commercial plates for motor vehicles and trailers
- vintage vehicles with an O licence plate, only to be used in accordance with the conditions set out in article 2, 7° of the Royal Decree of 15 March 1968 relating to general regulations on the technical conditions that vehicles must meet
If a vehicle mentioned above transports goods, it falls within the scope of the per-kilometre charge.
In principle, the per-kilometre charge applies to other vehicles
Those liable to the per-kilometre charge who believe that the exemption they had under the Eurovignette system could apply to the per-kilometre charge must send a substantiated request to the toll chargers.
For vehicles registered in Belgium which are domiciled in the Walloon Region, as indicated on the registration certificate, the request should be sent to SOFICO (Rue du Canal de l’Ourthe, 9/3, 4031 Angleur).
SOFICO shall pass this request on to the toll chargers of the other two regions.
Each toll charger shall send the applicant a substantiated common legal reply indicating the remedies.
This request and the remedies do not suspend the per-kilometre charge or the obligation to equip the vehicle, before it is used on the road, with the electronic recording system provided by the service provider.
Article 9 of the decree provides for exemptions for three main categories of vehicles.
The first category concerns vehicles intended for certain tasks of general interest which are recognisable as such :
- National defence
- Civil protection services
- Fire-fighting services
- Services in charge of law enforcement (the police)
The second category concerns vehicles especially and exclusively equipped for medical purposes, and recognisable as such.
The last category concerns agricultural, horticultural and forestry vehicles that fulfil all the following conditions :
- only be used on public roads in Belgium in a limited way
- only be used for the following activities: agriculture, horticulture, fish farming and forestry
In concrete terms, the vehicles used in agriculture, horticulture and forestry that are likely to be exempted are :
- Category T: wheeled agricultural or forestry tractors
- Category C: caterpillar agricultural or forestry tractors
- Category S: interchangeable towed machinery
Further details regarding the agricultural sector
Agricultural, forestry and horticultural vehicles with a GVW exceeding 3.5 tonnes, which are only used for agricultural, horticultural, fish farming and forestry activities, and which use the road network in a limited way may be exempted from the per-kilometre charge. “In a limited way” means, for example, going from the farm to the field, or transporting the harvested crop from the field to the storage centre.
What happens if an agricultural, horticultural or forestry tractor cannot be exempted due to the use to which it is put?
An agricultural, horticultural or forestry tractor that cannot be exempted because it is used, even occasionally, for purposes other than agriculture, horticulture, fish farming or forestry, or because it is mainly used on public roads, is in principle subject to the per-kilometre charge. Therefore it must be equipped with an OBU.
For example: farmers who occasionally use a tractor with a trailer to transport filling material for an earthmoving company must equip their vehicles with an OBU. The device must always be switched on when the tractor is using the public roads, regardless of the purpose for which the tractor is being used.
However, if the tractor is always used either on its own, i.e. without a trailer, or simply equipped with a tool (for example a mowing machine or pruner) but without a trailer, it is considered a tool vehicle which is not subject to the heavy goods vehicle per-kilometre charge.
For example: farmers who occasionally use a tractor to mow a road shoulder for a municipality, without using a trailer, do not need to equip their vehicles with an OBU.
For the exemption to be effective, vehicle owners must make an application for exemption. The application for exemption is not retroactive: therefore the application must be made before the vehicle is used on the Belgian road network, even if it never takes the network subject to a toll. If there is a change in the vehicle’s registration, a new application for exemption must be made. Enquiries concerning applications for exemption should be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.orgApplications for exemption of vehicles registered in Wallonia, or of agricultural, horticultural or forestry vehicles registered abroad,must be made to SOFICO via anonline form. All other applications for exemption must be made to the inter-regional entity VIAPASS.
This document must be accompanied by a scanned copy of the registration certificate (recto-verso) (Maximum size: 2 MB. Formats: .jpg, .jpeg, .png or .pdf) of the vehicle for which the application is being made.
Provided that the conditions set out in article 9of the decree are met, the exemption shall take effect on the business day following the application and the benefits of this exemption shall be maintained as long as the conditions are met.
The exactitude of the application for exemption can be checked at any time by officials appointed by the Walloon Government and any abusive application shall be punishable by an administrative fine of €1,000.
Click the privacy tab for details on the use of personal data collected within the framework of applications for exemption
Owners of vehicles subject to the per-kilometre charge must enter into a contract with a recognised and approved service provider which will provide them with an electronic recording device (called OBU).
The list of service providers can be found on the website of VIAPASS.
On behalf of the toll charger (SOFICO for the Walloon Region), the service provider levies the per-kilometre charge owed by users and then pays the amount collected to the toll charger.
Vehicle drivers are expected to make sure that the OBU in the vehicle is switched on at all times (both on roads subject to the per-kilometre charge and on roads not subject to the per-kilometre charge).
If a vehicle owner does not have a contract with a service provider or does not fulfil his commitments, which will lead to the contract being suspended, officials appointed by the Walloon Government may impose a fixed administrative fine of €1000 on the vehicle owner.
The departments appointed by the Walloon Government to look for and report infringements relating to the per-kilometre charge have the powers of investigation and control granted to officials that control the collection of vehicle taxes, entry into service taxes and the Eurovignette.
This network forms the “structuring network” as described in the Walloon Government’s law of 29 April 2010, amended several times, and the law of 23 February 2017, and it is managed by SOFICO
The basic tariff in Wallonia depends on:
- the vehicle’s EURO emission class
- the vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight category
When these two variables are taken into account, tariffs range from 7.70 to 20.90 cents per km.
|Tariff excluding VAT|
|EURO 0 & 1||EURO 2||EURO 3||EURO 4||EURO 5||EURO 6|
|“road train GVW” higher than 3.5 tonnes and lower than 12 tonnes||15,30 cents/km||15,30 cents/km||13,20 cents/km||9,90 cents/km||7,70 cents/km||7,70 cents/km|
|“road train GVW” higher or equal to 12 and lower or equal to 32 tonnes||20,50 cents/km||20,50 cents/km||18,40 cents/km||15,20 cents/km||13 cents/km||13 cents/km|
|“road train GVW” higher than 32 tonnes||20,90 cents/km||20,90 cents/km||18,80 cents/km||15,60 cents/km||13,40 cents/km||13,40 cents/km|
The tariffs and roads on which the per-kilometre charge applies in the three regions are indicated in the following document: http://www.viapass.be/fr/telechargement
It should be noted that, for transporters, the per-kilometre charge is an operating expense that can be recovered.
Insofar as the transporter is acting in a professional capacity, the VAT indicated on the invoice can, in principle, be deducted in the periodic VAT returns.
Similarly, the amount (excluding VAT) of per-kilometre charges is normally a tax deductible operating expense. With regards tax deductible business expenses, the relevant legal provisions must be taken into consideration (article 49 CIR 92).