Where are you importing the vehicle from?

How much tax do you need to pay if your car is within the EU?

If you’re bringing a second-hand vehicle into the UK, you don’t have to pay VAT – as long as you paid VAT in another EU country when you bought it, but you must still complete a NOVA (notification of vehicle arrival) notification to HMRC within 14 days of the vehicle arrival.

If you normally live in another country in the EU and bring a vehicle with you on a temporary visit to the UK, you don’t need to notify HMRC, as long as your stay is for less than 6 months in a 12 month period.

If you are on a temporary visit but decide to permanently register your car in the UK you have 14 days to notify HMRC after your decision.

How much tax do you need to pay if your vehicle is from outside the EU?

Moving to the United Kingdom under the ToR scheme

If you are moving to the UK and want to bring your vehicle with you then you don’t have to pay any import duty or VAT. This is providing you have owned the vehicle for over 6 months and have lived outside the EU for over 12 months. We need your purchase invoice or registration document to prove the length of vehicle ownership and a 12 month old utility bill, bank statement or property purchase/lease agreement to proof the length of time you lived in the country.

Vehicles under 30 years old

Manufactured outside the EU:  If you import a vehicle from outside of the European Union (EU) that was also built outside the EU you will be required to pay 10% import duty and 20% VAT in order to release it from UK customs. This is calculated on the amount you have purchased the vehicle for in the country you are importing it from.

Manufactured within the EU:  If you import a vehicle from outside of the EU that was originally built in the EU for example a Porsche 911 built in Stuttgart, Germany. You have to pay a reduced flat rate of duty which is £50 and then 20% VAT in order to release it from UK customs.

Classic cars over 30 years old

In 2010 there was a landmark case won against HMRC that has changed the rules on how we import vehicles that are over 30 years old. Generally vehicles which are in their original state, without substantial changes to the chassis, steering or braking system and engine, at least 30 years old, and of a model or type which is no longer in production will be entered under the historic rate of zero duty and 5% VAT.

If vehicles were built pre 1950 then they are automatically entered at the historic rate of zero duty and 5% VAT. Also, the large majority of classic vehicles are also MOT Exempt if over 40 years old.

Frequently asked questions about vehicle import tax and duties

What is the Notification Of Vehicle Arrivals scheme?
To better handle the tax liability of vehicle imports the HMRC introduced the NOVA system. It is in place to ensure VAT is paid on imports and it gives individuals the means to do so through an online portal. The NOVA system works alongside the DVLA to guarantee a vehicle cannot be registered until the tax has been settled.
Are the rates different for commercial vehicles?
Indeed. Vehicles manufactured outside of the EU such as trucks or heavy goods vehicles might be considered as a commercial import attracting a 22% import duty instead of the usual 10% a car usually would attract. However, this really depends on the vehicle. Don't hesitate to get in touch and we can complete your NOVA entry as part of our service.
Is the import duty different for a motorbike?
Motorbikes that require duties to be paid are banded at either 6% or 8% depending on the engine size.
Can you help with a commercial import?
We work with private individuals and trade organisations. Having imported thousands of cars over the years we can advise and assist with the NOVA entry - even if you are importing as a VAT registered trader.


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