So, you have bought your dream car abroad, now it is time to get it back to the UK. Whilst the thought of shipping your car may sound fraught with difficulty and risk, the assistance of a knowledgeable, caring freight company can make the experience a joy.
The process can be broken down into 4 phases:
Phase 1: Consultation
Most freight companies will provide you with advice on the most cost effective transit options, the documentation required, and cost implications of the import customs duty, taxes and registration process.
Phase 2: Export from original destination
Depending upon the service required (door-to-port, port-to-port, port-to-door or the full door-to-door service), your freight company should arrange collection from the agreed location, advise you of the necessary documentation for customs (export and import).
Phase 2: Transit
Vehicles require specialist transit arrangements. They require need to be professionally strapped, chocked, and protected if necessary. Your freight company will also advise whether any special arrangements need to be made prior to shipping.
Phase 3: Import
A key part of the process is the customs, VAT and duty documentation, which can be a minefield depending upon your circumstances, and the place of origin.
The main circumstances are:
– Private import: Vehicles being imported by a private owner.
– Commercial import: Vehicles being imported by a VAT registered trader.
– Transfer of Residence: Vehicles being imported during a transfer of residence. May be eligible for tax relief.
– Temporary import: Temporary import for up to 6 months tax free.
– Re-importation of a private motor vehicle: For a UK registered vehicle returning to the EC without changing ownership.
Customs taxes are generally dependent upon the type of vehicle, and whether it is being imported from inside or outside of the EU. For those from outside the EU, the duties are currently:
– Non EC Manufactured Cars: 10% import duty and 20% VAT for private and commercial imports.
– Pick-Up Trucks: classified as a commercial vehicle; 22% import duty and 20% VAT for private and commercial imports. Some pick-up trucks with smaller bed sizes may qualify as a car import, securing a lower import rate of duty.
– Motorcycles: generally 6% import duty or 8% import duty for smaller engine size and 20% VAT.
– Boats: generally 1.7% import duty and VAT.
– R.V’s: 10% import duty & 20% VAT for private and commercial imports.
– Travel Trailers (habitable trailers): >7m long or 2.3m wide is 2.7% import duty + VAT <2%, otherwise VAT @ 20% – Historic Cars and Vehicles (pre 1950): 5% VAT
– EC Manufactured Cars: as of May 2005 import duty & VAT is currently calculated as follows;
– Private import: £50.00 flat rate of import duty accompanied by a letter of origin to prove country of manufacture (from Volkswagen, Porsche, Jaguar, etc) & 20% VAT.
– Commercial import (VAT registered trader): 10% import duty & 20% VAT.
When importing the car an EU car, the different circumstances dictate the charges incurred upon arrival. These depend on whether the owner is relocating and changing their primary residency, or if they are importing a previously exported vehicle or it’s a temporary import.
Generally, duties are not payable for entry on transfer of residence to the UK but it is vital that the NOVA entry is recorded on the HMRC NOVA system within 14 days of the vehicle arriving in the UK. Failure to do so will result in a late notification penalty of £5 per day. The NOVA system links directly to the DVLA so if you haven’t completed the notification the DVLA will reject your new registration application.
Also, you may also have to pay VAT & Vehicle Tax in the following circumstances.
The following situations require VAT and Vehicle Tax:
- You are importing a new vehicle, less than 6 months of drive time
- Staying for a period of time over 12 months and you normally live outside the EU
- You received a refund on the VAT or sales tax of the vehicle prior
- You purchased the vehicle under a duty or tax free scheme