Ecotax 2019: how it works, how much it costs and who pays


The 2019 eco-tax applies from 1 March 2019 to any petrol or diesel powered vehicle with CO2 emissions above 160 g/km. Initially the threshold was set at 110 g/km but, as this level would have affected the price of most small cars, it was decided to increase it to the current level.

The duration of the tax is set for now until 31 December 2021, but more is likely to follow. As it applies only to new registrations, used cars are exempt, as are some categories of "special" vehicles such as ambulances, hearses and construction vehicles.


The 2019 eco-tax consists of a surcharge on the cost of purchasing new registrations of M1 category cars considered polluting. This measure seeks to discourage the purchase of petrol and diesel engines, while encouraging hybrids and electric cars with the 2019 Ecobonus.

Cars are considered polluting when their emission level exceeds 160 g/km of carbon dioxide. Therefore, the buyer of the new vehicle only pays once at the time of purchase, unlike the vignette which is an annual tax.

The Highway Code defines M1 as "vehicles designed and constructed for the carriage of persons, with a maximum of eight seats in addition to the driver's seat". Therefore , this category includes all saloons, SUVs, small cars and vans.

Many people write that the eco-tax only applies to SUVs but, as we have just shown, these are just rumours. The amount of the tax depends on carbon dioxide emissions, it has nothing to do with the vehicle model.

Not at all, the 2019 eco-tax does not apply neither to used cars nor to cars registered before March 1, 2019. We also remind you that the eco-tax is applicable "only" to those cars which, registered after 1 March 2019, have an emission value higher than 160 g/km.


Therefore, we can be sure that, if we buy a used car, regardless of when it was registered, we will not have to pay the eco-tax because. This is because either the car predates the approval of the eco-tax, or it has already been paid by the first owner of the car or by the person who had applied for its registration.

No classic car, which is definitely registered before 1 March 2019, has to pay the 2019 eco-tax. The only case in which a classic car could be subject to the eco-tax is if it is imported from abroad and registered in Italy after 1 March 2019.

In this case, the tax office could consider this (old) car as a new registration and demand payment.

The cost of the eco-tax varies between a minimum of 1100 euros and a maximum of 2500 euros, depending on the emission range of the new car. The buyer only has to pay once at the time of purchase, unlike the vignette which is instead an annual tax. The 4 emission classes with the corresponding cost of Ecotax are:

  • Between 161 and 175 g/km: Ecotax of 1100 euros.
  • Between 176 and 200 g/km: Ecotax of 1600 euros
  • Between 201 and 250 g/km: Ecotax of 2000 euros
  • More than 250 g/km: Eco-tax of 2500 euros.

This amount must be paid on the day of registration of the vehicle (or receipt of the registration certificate) as explained below.

Finding out which emission range your vehicle belongs to is really simple.


Just open the logbook on the first page, look for "(V.7)" and read the number next to it. This number indicates the grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by your vehicle every kilometer you drive. This level of emissions is determined at the type approval stage with the WLTC (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Cycles) driving cycle, which replaced the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) in 2017.

The payment of the 2019 eco-tax is the responsibility of the purchaseror the person applying for registration. Paragraph 1045 of the 2019 Budget Law states it very clearly: "The tax referred to in paragraph 1042 is paid by the purchaser or the person applying for registration, in the manner laid down in articles 17 et seq. of Legislative Decree No. 241 of 9 July 1997. The provisions relating to assessment, collection and litigation in relation to income tax shall apply mutatis mutandis."

Resolution 32/E of 2019 clarified that the person liable to pay the eco-tax is the purchaser of the vehicle. It is therefore incumbent on the purchaser to request and obtain documentation evidencing payment of the ecotax from the person who, on his behalf, applied for registration, such as the dealer.

The payment of the Ecotax 2019 is borne by the buyer of the car who must pay the correct amount for the F24 model at the time of purchase, specifying the chassis number and tax code 3500. The amount of the Ecotax is in addition to VAT, car tax (vignette or supervignette) and Provincial Transcription Tax.


Approved by the Inland Revenue with resolution 31/E 2019 the tax code 3500 for the 2019 Ecotax, must be used with the identification elements of the model F24, F24 Elide. The tax code 3500 is also called "ECOTASSA - tax for the purchase and registration in Italy of M1 category vehicles with emissions exceeding the threshold of 160 g/km CO2 - Article 1, paragraph 1042 of Law no. 145 of 2018".

The 2019 ecotax for cars can be paid, through the F24 Elide form, at the tax office counters , at the post office or at your bank.

The payment must be made from the current account of the buyer of the new vehicle or the accountant that he uses and that he has delegated.

According to resolution 32/E of the Inland Revenue, the 2019 eco-tax must be paid only once on the day of the first registration of the new car that exceeds 160 g/km of CO2.

For tax purposes, it's the date of registration that counts, but you also need to have the registration certificate in hand to be sure which emission class the new car is part of. Therefore, you need to have the vehicle registration book in your hands in order to be able to pay the eco-tax.

The 2019 Ecotax states that certain vehicles, so-called "special vehicles", are exempt from paying the amount. It is clearly described in paragraph 1044 of the Budget Act 2019: "It does not apply to special purpose vehicles referred to in point 5 of Part A of Annex II to Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 September 2007."

The special purpose vehicles exempt from payment of the Ecotasa 2019 are:

  • Armoured vehicles: cars intended for the transport and protection of persons and/or goods inside the vehicle, such as the escort vehicles of many politicians. They must comply with regulations and bulletproof bodywork requirements.
  • Ambulances: Category M vehicles, usually vans, adapted for the transport of seriously ill or injured persons and equipped with special medical equipment.
  • Hearses: Category M vehicles used for the transport of dead bodies.
  • Wheelchair-accessible vehicles: vehicles of category M used for the carriage of one or more passengers in wheelchairs.
  • Caravans: vehicles classified according to ISO 3833:77, term 3.2.1.3.
  • Mobile cranes: vehicles of category N3 equipped for the carriage of goods and fitted with a crane having a lifting moment equal to or greater than 400 kNm.
  • Motor caravans: vehicles of category M used for the accommodation of persons with a living space.

The idea of improving the quality of the Italian fleet, one of the oldest in Europe, does not in itself create problems. What does create problems, however, is the gap that seems to exist between the perception of reality by many politicians and the actual economic, technological and social conditions in the country.

To go and increase spending for the purchase of a car, a practically fundamental good for many citizens, at a time of non-economic well-being can only look bad. Unfortunately, it is part of the aim to discourage more and more the purchase of petrol and diesel cars, while encouraging the purchase of hybrid and electric cars. However, a fundamental problem remains, how are the vast majority of Italians going to afford cars that, at best, rarely fall below the 30,000 euro list price?



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