I paid automobile tax ( jidōsha-zei / 自動車税) for my car in April, but disposed of the car about a month ago. I was told that if you dispose of a car, a portion of the taxes you've paid for the car are refunded, but I still haven't heard anything about my automobile tax being returned. When am I supposed to receive any refund?
When you acquire (or buy as new) and own a vehicle, the following four kinds of tax are levied on the vehicle itself:
①Environmental performance levy ( jidōsha-zei kankyō seinō wari / 自動車税環境性能割)
②Vehicle classification levy ( jidōsha-zei shubetsu wari / 自動車税種別割)
③Vehicle weight tax ( jidōsha jūryō-zei / 自動車重量税)
④Consumption tax (shōhi-zei / 消費税)
All four of these are paid when one buys (or acquires) a new car. After this, the vehicle classification levy is applied to vehicle owners on 1 April each year, and from 3 years after the initial registration of the new vehicle, the vehicle must be submitted for a vehicle inspection (shaken / 車検) every two years, at which time vehicle weight tax is also collected.
Vehicle classification tax and vehicle weight tax are those for which one can receive a refund when deregistering a vehicle in order to dispose of it. Note that 'disposal' does not include giving the vehicle to another person and changing the name of the owner, even if you are no longer the vehicle's owner, and such cases are not eligible for a tax refund.
Vehicle classification tax is a prefectural tax on ownership of a vehicle for the period from 1 April through to 31 March of the following year, collected as a single payment in May. Therefore, if one deregisters and disposes of a vehicle at some point through the year, one can receive a refund of the amount of tax paid for the period from the month following the month of deregistration through to March.
If you complete the deregistration procedure (or registration of a vehicle to be disposed of) at a branch office of the Road Transportation Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, or a company which provides vehicle inspection and registration services, no additional procedure is required to receive the refund. In principle, documentation regarding the refund is sent at the end of the month following the month of deregistration of the vehicle. You can probably expect it to arrive at the beginning of the month, two months after you register the disposal of the vehicle. If you don't receive it within a week or so of this time, please inquire at the prefectural tax office with jurisdiction.
Vehicle weight tax is a national tax applied according to the weight of a vehicle, and collected when a vehicle is first registered and when an inspection is carried out on the vehicle, and this also has a refund system, the Vehicle Weight Tax for Used Vehicles Deregistration Refund System (shiyō-zumi jidōsha ni kakawaru jidōsha jūryō-zei no haisha kanpu seido / 使用済自動車に係る自動車重量税の廃車還付制度). In accordance with the Act on Recycling of End-of-Life Automobiles, when a used vehicle has been appropriately dismantled, and one submits an Application for Permanent Deregistration Due to Dismantlement (kaitai o jiyū to suru eikyū massho toroku shinsei / 解体を事由とする永久抹消登録申請), or a Notification of Dismantlement (kaitai todokede / 解体届出), you can apply for the refund by submitting the Refund Application Form (kanpu shinsei-sho / 還付申請書) attached to the application or notification form at a Road Transportation Bureau branch office, etc. Please note that a refund is not possible when there is less than one month remaining on the current vehicle inspection certificate.
It generally takes around 2 months from submission of the refund application to the Road Transportation Bureau branch office until the tax office with jurisdiction issues a refund to the last registered owner of the used vehicle. For details, please consult the tax office with jurisdiction over the area in which you live.
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