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A calculator calculates the new tax on combustion cars? Authors: we didn’t want to create fake news

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A calculator has appeared online that allows you to calculate the tax on owning a combustion car. The resulting calculations may be terrifying, especially for owners of older car models. But the calculator is based on a bill from 17 years ago. Its authors explain that they only wanted to spark a discussion about the future tax.

A link to an online tax calculator for combustion cars is widely shared on social media. It calculates the tax amount based on engine capacity, exhaust emission standard and date of first registration. Users on Facebook and Platform X publish screenshots showing how much tax their cars will cost. The authors of many entries are terrified by the amount of the future fee and add that drivers will be forced to pay it already in 2024.

“My Skoda is worth PLN 2,000 in exhaust gas tax. Honestly, I’m terrified of this amount!! Have you checked your haulers??”; “Am I counting correctly? If someone has a beautiful #BMW 6 series from 1989, they will have to shell out PLN 70,000 for God’s sake?” – asked the authors of the most popular entries on the X platform (original spelling of all social media entries). “Golf (2004) costs PLN 6,000 + PLN 7,000 tax. How much will you pay for your car”; “Another interesting example. You buy a beautiful classic, you take care of it, you buy cosmetics that are better for the car than for yourself, and then the government issues you a bill” – he wrote on Facebook Karol Kołodziejczak, a member of the New Hope party, who unsuccessfully ran for the Sejm from the Confederation list in the last elections.

Entries about the tax calculator – “contextual information” has already been added to one on the X platformX.com

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Many Internet users posted their own calculations in the comments and were outraged by the calculated amount. At the same time, some criticized the European Union. “My old car costs about PLN 7,000, and the car is worth PLN 5,000. I will have to walk 7 km to work because there are no buses”; “The EU is heading for an economic disaster. A ship with a drunk and bribed captain”; “Car collectors are the ones who go to the UK or anywhere where there is no blue dictatorship,” they commented.

We can therefore assure you why the calculations from the calculator are not a “tax on internal combustion cars” that drivers would have to pay next year. The authors of the tool explain why they created it.

Outdated template from the withdrawn act

On the Motokalkulator.pl website, apart from the calculator itself, there is also a “frequently asked questions” section. In response to one of them, it was explained that “the tax calculator uses the entered data to calculate the amount of tax that we will be able to pay after the entry into force of the act. The algorithm was created on the basis of the draft government resolution located at this link“.

The link below contains a draft act (not a resolution – editor) on car tax, but you can immediately notice that it has no date. The regulatory impact assessment attached to the project states that “the forecast of budget revenues from excise tax on passenger cars for 2006 is PLN 900 million.” Why does the document provide data for 2006? Because it was then that the draft bill was created, on the basis of which the online calculator has now been created.

The first page of the parliamentary form with the bill and the date June 26, 2006Sejm.gov.pl

The application to submit such a project was signed in June 2006 by the then Prime Minister of the PiS-Samoobrona-LPR government, Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz. Indeed, the project included a formula for calculating a possible tax, which used the engine capacity and exhaust emission standard. However, such provisions never entered into force: after one reading in the Sejm, the bill was sent to committee, where it was defeated and ultimately has been withdrawn in February 2007.

Currently, there is no official information on the basis of which it could be assumed that the future draft law on the tax on internal combustion cars will be based on this withdrawn draft from 2006. Even the authors of the calculator themselves inform about it. In the answer to the question “Is this the final form of the act on tax on internal combustion cars?” posted on the website, they wrote: “No. The draft act we used to create the calculator is the most up-to-date information on its appearance. Due to the need to adapt the act to the current given the realities, it will probably be changed.

Car tax in KPO, but only in 2026

Apart from the calculator itself, the website also describes the purpose of its creation. According to the authors, this is “drawing society’s attention to the problem of the upcoming tax on combustion cars. The bill is to be prepared in 2024 and implemented by the end of that year. If the tax base is minimized by our calculator, it will be worth it.”

Where does the information come from that the tax is “coming” and the bill is to be drafted in 2024? In the National Reconstruction Plan, in which the Polish government committed to implementing specific reforms in order to receive funds from the EU Reconstruction Fund, one of the reforms is “Increased use of environmentally friendly transport”. To promote low-emission or zero-emission transport, the introduction of a registration fee and a tax on vehicles emitting exhaust gases in accordance with the “polluter pays” principle has been set as a milestone. And so: the legal act introducing the registration fee is expected to come into force by the end of 2024, but the legal act regarding the new tax will come into force only by the end of the first half of 2026.

Milestones for combustion cars, including the tax dated Q2 2026Working translation of the annex to the implementing decision of the EU CouncilGov.pl

For now, however, there are no details on what the laws introducing the registration fee and tax would look like. If the government wants to achieve this milestone, it has until the end of 2024 and mid-2026, respectively.

It is worth adding that the introduction of the registration fee is necessary to submit the sixth application for payment from the KPO, and the introduction of the tax is necessary to send the ninth and last application. So far, the government has not even submitted the first application, and has completed just over half of the milestones in the second one (23 out of 41). Moreover, the date given in EU documents – the end of 2024 for the registration fee and mid-2026 for the tax – is indicative and it is possible to withdraw funds even for milestones completed after the originally set deadline. Therefore, only when the government will present a draft law introducing a tax on internal combustion cars, and it has until mid-2026, it will be possible to calculate how much this fee will actually amount to for cars with specific parameters.

Calculator author: “we had no bad intentions”

We contacted the authors of the calculator and the website – their names appear on it. We asked about the details of the calculator’s creation. In an interview with Konkret24, Adrian Kruk, a project manager from the IT industry, and Krzysztof Wicher, a software developer, explain that they did not want to create fake news, but only to spark a discussion about the future car tax.

– At the beginning, this project was intended only for us and our friends. But friends sent it to their friends, and then to others, and it spread. Then we added our TikTok and it greatly increased our reach – recalls Krzysztof Wicher.

– Provisions about such a tax are included in EU documents, so we created a calculator to show people that something like this is coming. At the beginning, the calculator was intended only for a group of friends so that they could calculate such a theoretical tax. Then we recorded a tiktok, which quickly turned out to be viral, and from then on it became very widely known, certainly more than we expected – adds Adrian Kruk.

The authors specify that they created the website on October 28. After just a few hours, they added the first information that they were using the draft act from 2006. Two days later, when the site started gaining popularity, they added answers to frequently asked questions. – We started wondering how to explain to people that this is not a tax that we will have to pay, but that the calculator is supposed to draw attention to the problem itself – recalls Adrian Kruk. – We had to react quickly and explain our entire idea behind this calculator. Our main goal from the beginning was to make people aware of this tax. We knew that this would affect most Poles, because hardly anyone drives an electric car today – explains Krzysztof Wicher. – Then we also added the purpose of the website and an appropriate annotation about it, which is displayed right below the estimated tax amount. We wanted to avoid a situation where someone went to the website, counted and started to panic, he adds.

There have been allegations online that the authors created the calculator to make money from it or that they work on behalf of companies from the automotive industry. – This is not true – assures Adrian Kruk. – The goal was pro-social from the beginning, the calculator was supposed to spark a discussion. We turned on advertising on this website a few days ago so that we could at least recover the costs of purchasing the domain and maintaining the server. We will also have to buy a second server and all this with our own money, because, contrary to some suggestions, we are paying for it from our own pockets and we are not sponsored by any automotive companies. Besides, we work in the IT industry and have nothing to do with the automotive industry, except that we have internal combustion cars. And out of pure curiosity, as well as the curiosity of our friends, we created this calculator. And at the same time, we hoped that maybe this would help us minimize this tax – he adds.

The authors also announce that after the increase in interest in the website, they ordered educational texts from a copywriter, including: about what EURO emission standards are, what LPG cars are. – We will publish them on the website to educate people who will use the calculator – says Adrian Kruk. Krzysztof Wicher adds that there are also plans to add calculators from other countries that already have such a tax to the website.

Adrian Kruk finally emphasizes: – First of all, as soon as the appropriate law appears, we will immediately update the calculator with the latest data. There is no such act at the moment, so we used the template available in the old act to draw attention to the problem and stimulate discussion.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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