Trucking companies that transport goods in or through Germany have to pay truck tolls. The problem here: the toll violates EU law! The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has in fact ruled that Germany has calculated the truck toll incorrectly: it is too high (ECJ October 28, 2020, C 321/19). This has been the case since 2005.
Companies overpaid by 3.8 percent
The background to this is that costs for traffic police were also included in the calculation of the tolls. However, these costs are not operating costs and should therefore not have been charged via the truck toll. Collecting these costs was therefore against the law. Traffic police costs account for approximately 3.8 percent of the toll. A refund of tolls in this amount can be obtained by all companies that paid truck tolls from 2018-2020. However, a refund is not made automatically, but must be applied for and, if necessary, claimed before the administrative court by way of an action for performance.
Repayment of often up to seven-digit amount
In the cases we know of, the supposedly low rate of about four percent quickly adds up to a six- to seven-figure repayment amount.
Managing directors are obliged to take action
According to general principles of German corporate law, managing directors of corporations may be obliged to assess and enforce repayment claims. If they fail to do so and do not assert a claim – which is currently quite evident – they could be liable to pay damages to the company.
Note: statute of limitations!
The authorities are only required to repay unjustly levied tolls as long as their calculation can still be challenged. The statute of limitations regarding the claim for reimbursement of toll charges is three years. This means that a claim for reimbursement of tolls for the year 2018 becomes time-barred by the end of December 31, 2021!
In order to stop the statute of limitations, those affected must submit a corresponding refund application to the responsible authority. Since only an effective application suspends the statute of limitations, it is advisable to have it submitted or at least checked by a lawyer, because experience shows that the authorities have so far been reluctant to accept claims for reimbursement. Furthermore, it cannot be ruled out that even claims for restitution prior to 2017, i.e. for the years 2005 to 2020, are not yet time-barred.
File claims for 2018 and 2019 this Year
Refund claims for the years 2018 and 2019, on the other hand, can still be submitted in 2021. We will be happy to support you in this process!
Our offer for businesses and trucking companies
Our experienced attorneys will be happy to assess (in the languages: German, English, Polish, Russian and Turkish) whether you are entitled to a partial refund of toll charges and assist you in preparing the application. We will be happy to take measures to prevent the statute of limitations from running out so that you do not lose your entitlement to a refund of the 2018 toll charges. If you wish, we can provide you with support so that you do not have to deal with the matter in detail and can concentrate on your end-of-year business.
WINHELLER supports you in the recovery of truck tolls
Contrary to usual practice, we do not charge our fees on a percentage basis depending on the amount of reimbursement. You pay us only for our services rendered. Since we exclusively represent large freight forwarders who usually have high reimbursement claims, this billing practice saves our clients a lot of money. If you expressly wish, we can of course also agree on a flat fee – insofar as this is permissible.
If you are interested, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at +49 69 / 76 75 77 80.
Customs Debt: Are Criminal Customs Offences Remediable in Germany?