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Do we pay VAT on UK-imported cars now?

If I import a second hand UK car (from England, Scotland or Wales) into the Republic of Ireland from 2021 on, am I liable to pay VAT and/or an import charge on top of the current VRT and NOx charge?

Filed under importing - Asked by Keiron Fletcher (Meath) - Thu, 07 Jan 2021 09:03


Neil Briscoe Answered by: Neil Briscoe - Complete Car Advisor - @neilmbriscoe

Answer

Hi Keiron,

Yes, there’s been a bit of a shake-up in imports from the UK, post Jan 1st (which kind of got lost in all the COVID and Trump headlines). According to Revenue, if you’re importing a car from the UK, you will now have to complete an electronic customs declaration form BEFORE going to collect the vehicle (you can find them here) and you’ll then be liable for three potential costs — customs duty, VRT (as before, including the NOx charge) and VAT, currently at 21 per cent. That VAT charge, previously only applied to vehicles that were either new or less than six months old (or with fewer than 6,000km on the clock) now applies to all imports.

Except it doesn’t — if you import a car from Northern Ireland, thanks to NI’s new special status as per the Brexit withdrawal agreement, then the VAT will only be charged on new vehicles, and you won’t have to pay any customs duty (sometimes referred to as import duty).

Incidentally, that customs duty (which is charged at 10 per cent of the total value of the car, plus carriage costs) will NOT be applied if the car was built in the UK, or in an EU country. That’s a potential minefield as you’d be surprised how many cars that you assume to be British or European are actually made in, say, South Africa or the US. It obviously affects Japanese and Korean-built cars, but again, you’d be surprised how many of those that we buy are actually built in the UK, France, Slovakia or elsewhere in Europe.

Basically, the short version is that importing a car from the UK just got a lot more difficult and likely more expensive too. 

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