Freight forwarders and other companies that paid tolls (the so-called Lkw-Maut) in Germany between 2017 and 2020 can reclaim part of the tolls from the government of Germany. This is because the European Court of Justice recently ruled that while Germany was entitled to levy tolls, these tolls could only cover infrastructure costs. Until recently, however, Germany also charged tolls for the costs associated with traffic policing. This is in violation of European law.
It is estimated that companies collectively overpaid hundreds of millions in tolls between 2017 and 2020. Companies that overpaid tolls can recover at least the portion of the toll that was based on traffic police costs. According to current information, these costs amount to at least 4 percent of the tolls paid. It cannot be ruled out that the recoverable costs may be even higher. The calculation of the exact percentage of overpayments is currently in progress.
Only companies that have a direct contractual relationship with Toll Collect GmbH or an EETS (European Electronic Toll Service) provider can reclaim the tolls. These are the companies that have registered the trucks in question with Toll Collect GmbH (respectively the EETS provider) or have otherwise entered into a contractual relationship with Toll Collect GmbH.
Refund opportunities for tolls paid in 2017 will be time-barred as of December 31, 2020, due to the three-year statute of limitations. As a result, it will not be possible to recover toll overpayments made in the year 2017 after that date. However, this statute of limitations can be avoided by taking action before December 31, 2020, and stopping the statute of limitations. Taking action can take the form of filing a pro forma objection with the German Federal Office for Goods Transport. Unfortunately, the recovery of tolls paid up to the end of 2016 is already time-barred.
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