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Help me understand import costs please!


I am interested in importing a used 3.0-litre V6 Jaguar XF from England (2013-2014 and about £12,000). I am finding the real cost of doing so very confusing especially the VAT implications. If I have to pay the Irish VAT rate of 21% is it possible to avoid paying VAT on the car in the UK or will I be paying VAT in both countries? Also, since the XF is manufactured in the UK does this mean that it is exempt from the 10% customs duties incurred since Jan 2021? Any insight would be much appreciated.

Eoin Murray (Dublin)

Mar 2021 Filed under: importing

Expert answer

Hi Eoin,

VAT isn’t charged on second hand car sales in the UK, so while technically you will be paying a residual portion of the car’s original VAT cost, on a car that’s between seven and eight years old, it’s not going to be a particularly big proportion. You could — technically — claim it back from the UK authorities on export, but the process is byzantine and time consuming, and generally not worth the effort.

You will definitely have to pay Irish VAT, though, which will now be charged at 23 per cent as the rate has gone up since the 1st of March. Unlike VRT, which is charged according to the OMSP, the Open Market Selling Price or what Revenue thinks the value of the car would be on the Irish market, VAT is charged on the price you paid for the car, plus shipping costs.

As for the import duty, you may well get away without paying that, as the XF’s structure and engine (the V6 diesel was made by Ford in Dagenham) were built in the UK, which should push it over the minimum value necessary. You’ll have to fill out a customs declaration form first, though, which should help you figure all of that out. 

Neil Briscoe - Complete Car Advisor

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