States unite in High Court bid to scoop federal government’s EV tax – report

States unite in High Court bid to scoop federal government's EV tax - report

A forthcoming court case will determine who taxes electric cars and how, with state and federal governments battling over cash seizures.


The biggest constitutional battle in 25 years is about to take place in the High Court. corresponding The Sydney Morning Herald — and it has everything to do with which governments tax electric car owners.

The case speaks out against Victoria and its road toll, which was enforced by two electric car owners in late 2021 and is now backed by the federal government.

The rest of Australia’s states and territories — apparently eager to intercept the electric car revenue stream before it reaches the federal government — are behind Victoria.



Victoria introduced the zero-emission and low-emission vehicle (ZLEV) distance-based charge on July 1, 2021, charging a fee of 2.6 cents per kilometer driven with an electric or hydrogen car and 2.1 cents per kilometer for plug-in Hybrid.

The Victorian government said the levy was intended to replace the fuel excise tax – a 44.2 cents per liter tax levied by the federal government and then distributed to states at its discretion – because bypassing this levy actually gave electric vehicles a free ride as a revenue stream .

With the option of either battery or petrol power, Victorian plug-in hybrid owners pay both taxes.



In support of the lawsuit, the Commonwealth filed a submission arguing the ZLEV fee is a tax on goods — something only the federal government can levy.

Attorneys General of every other Australian state and territory have also intervened in the case, filing submissions in support of Victoria’s defense – arguing the ZLEV fee is an excise tax.



The Australian Trucking Association has supported the plaintiffs in a bid to ease the financial burden on couriers and trucking companies.

The case will go to the High Court in February 2023.

Ben Zechariah

Ben Zachariah is a veteran Melbourne-based writer and motoring journalist who has worked in the automotive industry for over 15 years. Previously a truck driver, Ben completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021. He is considered an expert in the field of classic car investments.

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