Vehicle Taxes in Japan

Information about car acquisition tax and other taxes paid by vehicle owners in Japan...

When a car is bought at a dealership, the dealer takes care of the car's registration and tax documents, which means that the tax is paid to the dealer. However, if a car is bought privately, registration takes place at the land transport office in the prefecture of residence and the tax is paid at the tax office which is located next to the transport office.

Car Acquisition Tax

Prefectural car acquisition tax is charged on the purchase of both new and second-hand vehicles. The tax is paid when the car is registered and is calculated according to the car inspection certificate (shaken sho).

The amount of tax paid depends on the type of car but usually it is a percentage of the car's price: five percent for a private car and three percent for commercial and light vehicles. Revenue from this tax is used by local governments for road maintenance. There is no vehicle acquisition tax for small motorcycles or cars costing under Yen 500,000.

Note: Exemption measures for vehicle acquisition tax have been put in place for replacement vehicles bought after the Japanese earthquake disaster of 2011.

Car Weight Tax

This tax is charged according to the car's weight and must be paid when it is registered for the first time and at each mandatory car inspection (shaken). Part of this tax is used for national finances and part is used for road maintenance.
The amount of tax paid depends on both the year of the car's inspection and its weight. The weight of the car is noted in the vehicle inspection certificate.

Vehicle Tax

Vehicle tax is charged to owners of cars with an engine size of 661cc or more by each prefecture every year in April and is used for road maintenance. Where a car was bought in the middle of the year, tax is charged on a monthly basis. The amount of tax paid depends on the type of car, its use and the size of its engine. There is a reduction or exemption for disabled car owners.
The bill is sent by post and payment can be made by bank transfer, at convenience stores or via Internet.

Light vehicle tax

Smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles with an engine size of 660cc or less (kei cars) are subject to light vehicle tax at a significantly reduced rate. This tax also applies to motorcycles. Light vehicle tax is levied on 1 April each year.