Wide Angle

Transit plates : Moroccans living abroad say they have been trapped by Spanish Customs

After posting several videos, denouncing the situation of several Moroccans who had to pay additional taxes for their vehicles at the Spanish Customs, Anouar Bourabaa criticized the attitude of the Spanish authorities, accusing them of not informing Moroccans living abroad of their decision to trap them.

Cars of Moroccans living abroad trapped in Genoa, Italy. / Ph. DR
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Anouar Bourabaa is a manager at the nuclear sector in Rouen. The French-Moroccan national was vacationing in Morocco in July and August. When traveling from France to Morocco via his car, crossing the Algeciras port went well.

When his stay in Morocco ended, he decided to take the same way back, through the Spanish port to reach France. However, when returning to Europe, the Moroccan national had to pay the equivalent of 31% of the value of his German-plated car to the Spanish Customs, which totaled 7,000 euros.

He bought his car, a Mercedes Benz GLA 2018, in June 2019 in Germany. «As an individual owner, the tax is already paid», he said, responding to rumors suggesting that some of these Moroccans try to «fraud» by bringing their new cars to Morocco to avoid paying taxes.


The procedure implemented by the Spanish Customs is a new one, and Moroccans living abroad say that they have not been informed of it, especially those who are using the Algeciras port.

«No documents were given to us. We were allowed to cross when entering Morocco just to come back and have this nice gift», he argued, insisting that he never thought nor wanted to export his vehicle to Morocco. «We are all just tourists», he assured.

Even those who arrived in Algeciras and were faced with the new measure, were in the same situation and couldn’t go back, because their vehicle was seized and they were asked to pay the tax.

«We asked them to provide us with an interpreter, they refused. They even wanted to handcuff us because we did not want to give our car keys», he recalled. «It escalated quickly. Some Moroccans have even been clubbed with batons», he added.

A biased tax

The French-Moroccan claimed that Spanish Customs new tax was enforced only on big cars. «The smaller cars were free to go. It was not the case for big and luxurious cars. A Dutchman was required to pay 31,000 euros while the VAT had already been paid in Germany», he added.

«To be honest, it's well filtered. A man had the same concern as mine and they let him go because his wife was German. In addition, even at the office Agencia Tributaria (tax administration in Spain, ed), some managed to go from 11,000 euros to 3,000 euros to pay. Once the quota was met, some people benefited from preferential treatment».

Anouar Bourabaa

For Moroccans who take the boat directly to Italy, the problem is the same. Italian Customs claims a sum amounting to 32% of the value of vehicles according to accounts received from the port of Genoa.

Today, Anouar Bourabaa is trying to bring together a maximum of victims to sue the Spanish customs. «I think it's going to be a long and fierce fight», he concluded.

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