Bajar el coche

*Trigger alert – a little Spanglish is needed for this one* 

When we imported the Santana into Gib the nice customs man reminded us to bajar the coche.

I am struggling to translate this but basically it means to take it off the Spanish system.

Anyway I looked some stuff up on the internet and it seems you have to fill out a form at a Spanish traffic office. Downloadable on the internet. No. I don’t think so. I have tried.

But there was a brief sheet of instructions that I did manage to print off.

When I psyched myself up to dealing with half a day’s Spanish bureaucracy, mostly queueing, I suddenly read the sheet and realised that before I bajared the coche I needed to notify my local council where we pay the car tax. Unlike the UK, where road tax is national.

Just to recap. My Land Rover Santana, 3.5 diesel, known as a camion – a truck – here, attracts a hefty 60 euros a year in road tax to the local ayuntamiento (council). But in Gib, there is no road tax. Even better.

Off to the road tax office. Well, did we time it lucky or what?

We walked in – and there was no queue.

“Si?” says woman on desk, or “Dimi?” or something similar.

“Well, I have a question about my coche.”

“Off you go to the end to my colleague who is free.”

(No it wasn’t in English but I thought I would translate that bit).

It was the same guy we had dealt with a couple of years ago when the bill hadn’t come through because we had only bought the Santana a few months previously and the change of name wasn’t on the system.

He beamed at us. I explained that we had to change the number plate on the Santana because Adrian was working in Gib now and we had to import it.

I’d got the information sheet and it said I needed to get the approval of my local council tax office. I gave it to him. So much easier than me trying to explain in my mediocre Spanish. So what did I need to do? And what did the approval mean?

It didn’t mean approval at all. (Or maybe it did in Spanish terms). It meant I had to be paid up for the rest of the year before I could bajar the coche. It meant I had to pay Spanish road tax for the whole of this year, get a receipt for it, then take the vehicle off the system, and apply for a refund.

Then he grinned.

“That’s Spain for you. You always have to pay.”

He explained it beautifully, and more than once. All in Spanish though. Don’t know what would have happened if we didn’t speak Spanish – but we do – or enough. And we all laughed.

He told us where to go to get the refund. He was patient, helpful, and informative. A good guy.

Nothing achieved? For us yes. We know what we need to do now.

1) Get the bill for this year – which doesn’t come out in our area until the end of this month. We can go directly to the office for it next week though.

2) Go to the bank and pay it – which gives us the receipt.

3) Go to the Traffic Office and bajar the coche – with the all-important receipt that you have paid tax for the rest of the year.

4) Go back to the council (different office) to claim your refund.

Progress report later.

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