Eco-taxes (Environmentally related taxes)

Revenue from eco taxes totalled €8.7 billion in 2020. 53% of total receipts from eco taxes accrued from energy taxes; about 38% from transport taxes; near by 9% from resource taxes; and around 1% from pollution taxes (essentially the contribution towards cleaning up abandoned hazardous sites).

Ecologically orientated taxation is an important instrument for controlling sustainable development. Environmental taxes are designed to motivate both producers and consumers to limit or reduce the environmental burden and adopt a responsible approach to natural resources. However the figure for environmental tax receipts does not allow any conclusions to be drawn about environmental behaviour. High environmental tax receipts can be the result either of a high level of taxation on environmentally harmful products (regardless of the motives behind such taxation systems) or a high level of usage for such products (with a low taxation level). A combination of both these effects is also possible.

A standardised concept for recording eco taxes has been drawn up at the international level in OECD and Eurostat working groups together with the countries involved.

The following main groups (as cited above) of eco taxes have been specified as a result:

  • Energy Taxes
  • Transport Taxes
  • Resource Taxes
  • Pollution Taxes

These eco taxes also include taxes on motor vehicles, landfill taxes and taxes on emissions into the air or into water.

Important ecologically relevant payment flows were entered in an “ancillary account” (such as fees); however, as these are not taxes according to the concepts of the System of National Accounts (SNA), they are not taken into account among eco taxes as defined by international guidelines.

Ecologically relevant payments consists of waste collection fees, sewage fees and water fees, sale of motorway toll stickers, HGV road pricing and parking meter fee in Vienna. Analysis of the trend in fee revenues shows a continuous increase in recent years and amount to €4.9 billion in 2020.

The main difference between taxes and fees in terms of their definition is that while taxes are used to finance general public sector functions and their use is not usually related in any way to their levying (non affectation principle), fees represent compensation for public services rendered. Ecological accuracy is therefore much higher with charges than it is with taxes.

Environmental taxes 1995 to 2020

Environmental taxes 1995 to 2020

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