This is because used cars imported from the other Member States are still subject to higher taxes than those applied to 'used' cars purchased on the Portuguese market.
The European Commission has taken Portugal to the EU Court of Justice because used vehicles imported from other Member States are still subject to higher taxes than those applied to ‘used’ vehicles purchased on the Portuguese market.
The EU executive points out that “under EU rules, no Member State may impose, directly or indirectly, on the products of other Member States internal taxes of any kind in excess of those imposed directly or indirectly on similar domestic products”, but Portugal continues to apply a higher tax burden to ‘second-hand’ cars imported from other EU countries.
According to the Commission, ‘the Portuguese legislation in question does not take full account of the depreciation of vehicles imported from other Member States’ and is therefore incompatible with the EU Treaty.
Recalling that the European Court of Justice had already concluded, on 16 June 2016, that an earlier version of this Portuguese tax was contrary to EU law, Brussels explains that the decision to refer this matter to the Court “stems from the fact that Portugal has not amended its legislation to bring it into line with EU law, following the reasoned opinion of the Commission”.
Brussels recalls that it sent Portugal a “letter of formal notice” on 24 January 2019, followed on 27 November by a “reasoned opinion”, the second and final step before bringing an action before the Court of Justice, which the Commission has now implemented “since Portugal has not yet fulfilled its obligations”.