Lithuanian farmers may face EU sanctions over polluting vehicles

Lithuanian farmers will have to pay pollution tax on tractors and other farming vehicles, according to Lithuanian Agriculture Minister Andrius Palionis.

Lithuania already failed to introduce the tax in 2007 after a three-year transitional period expired, he said, adding that failure to do snow would lead to EU fines.

“The [agriculture] ministry calculated in December that Lithuania would face sanctions worth 34 million euros,” the Palionis told the parliamentary Committee on Rural Affairs last week.

All farmers in the country would be negatively affected by the EU sanction, he said. “They will not receive any support funds until they pay.”

The Environment Ministry suggests introducing the tax for farmers as of 2021.

While drafting plans for a pollution tax last year, the ministry wanted to include tractors and other agricultural vehicles in the taxation scheme based on the level of emitted CO2, alongside cars.

But after it turned out that agricultural vehicles don’t have a calculated rate for CO2 emissions, the idea was discarded. The minnistry then decided to link the tax with the vehicle’s engine power.

If introduced, the tax would be payable every time a vehicle was registered, including its initial purchase and every time after the ownership changed.

Under the existing amendments to the environmental pollution law, owners of agricultural vehicles with up to 70 kilowatts in power do not pay any tax.

The lowest tax rate would stand at 40 euros, and the highest would amount to 600 euros, if the power exceeds 350 kilowatts.

There were 4,038 agricultural vehicles with their power exceeding 60 kilowatts in Lithuania in 2018, according to data from the Agricultural Information and Rural Business Center.

The Environment Ministry estimates that the state budget would receive around 1 million euros in additional revenue a year from the new tax.


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