It’s easier to import a car than you thought…. with a little help.

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

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Please Note

Our address has changed

Nucleus International Cargo Ltd
Kingswick House, Kingswick Drive
Sunninghill, Ascot
Berkshire
SL5 7BH

IncoTerms.

The incoterms define the role between seller and buyer at an international transaction. In the contract between the seller and the buyer, the following is determined:

  • The duties of the buyer and the seller.
  • Who takes care of the insurances, licences, permissions and all other formalities.
  • Who arranges the transport until which point and who is responsible for this.
  • The point where the costs and risks pass on from the seller to the buyer.

There are thirteen different incoterms in Incoterms 2000 and 2010. These incoterms take care of the international rights and duties from the buyer and the seller. Six of the thirteen incoterms are about ocean freight. The remaining seven incoterms are regarding all transport modalities. The Incoterms are being prepared and published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The most common terms are:

EXW – ExWorks (2000 and 2010)
This term represents the seller’s minimum obligation since they only have to place the goods at the disposal of the buyer. The buyer must carry out all tasks of export & import clearance. Carriage & insurance is to be arranged by the buyer.

FCA – Free Carrier (2000 and 2010)
This term means that the seller delivers the goods, cleared for export, to the carrier nominated by the buyer at the named place. Seller pays for carriage to the named place.

CPT – Carriage Paid To (2000 and 2010)
This term means that the seller delivers the goods to the carrier nominated by them, but the seller must in addition pay the cost of carriage necessary to bring the goods to the named destination. The buyer bears all costs occurring after the goods have been so delivered. The seller must clear the goods for export. This term may be used irrespective of the mode of transport (including multimodal).

DAT – Delivered at Terminal (named terminal at port or place of destination) (2010)
Seller pays for carriage to the terminal, except for costs related to import clearance, and assumes all risks up to the point that the goods are unloaded at the terminal.

DAP – Delivered At Place (named place of destination) (2010)
Seller pays for carriage to the named place, except for costs related to import clearance, and assumes all risks prior to the point that the goods are ready for unloading by the buyer.

DDP – Delivered Duty Paid (2000 and 2010)
This term represents a maximum obligation to the seller. This term should not be used if the seller is unable to directly or indirectly to obtain the import license. The terms mean the same as the DDU term with the exception that the seller also will bear all costs & risks of carrying out customs formalities including the payment of duties, taxes & customs fees.

FAS – Free Alongside Ship (2000 and 2010)
This term means that the seller delivers when the goods are placed alongside the vessel at the named port of shipment. The seller is required to clear the goods for export. The buyer has to bear all costs & risks of loss or damage to the goods from that moment. This term can be used for ocean transport only.

FOB – Free On Board (2000 and 2010)
This term means that the seller delivers when the goods pass the ship’s rail at the named port of shipment. This means the buyer has to bear all costs & risks to the goods from that point. The seller must clear the goods for export. This term can only be used for ocean transport. If the parties do not intend to deliver the goods across the ship’s rail, the FCA term should be used.

CFR – Cost and Freight (2000 and 2010)
This term means the seller delivers when the goods pass the ship’s rail in the port of shipment. The seller must pay the costs & freight necessary to bring the goods to the named port of destination, BUT the risk of loss or damage, as well as any additional costs due to events occurring after the time of the delivery are transferred from seller to buyer. The seller must clear goods for export. This term can only be used for ocean transport.

CIF – Cost, Insurance, Freight (2000 and 2010)
The seller delivers when the goods pass the ship’s rail in the port of shipment. The seller must pay the cost & freight necessary to bring goods to a named port of destination. Risk of loss & damage is the same as CFR. Seller also has to procure marine insurance against buyer’s risk of loss/damage during the carriage. The seller must clear the goods for export. This term can only be used for ocean transport.

CIP – Carriage and Insurance Paid (2000 and 2010)
This term is the same as CPT with the exception that the seller also has to procure insurance against the buyer’s risk of loss or damage to the goods during the carriage. This term may be used for any mode of transportation.

DDU – Delivered Duty Unpaid (2000)
This term means the seller delivers the goods to the buyer, not cleared for import, and not unloaded from arriving means of transport at the named place of destination. The seller bears all costs & risks involved in bringing the goods to the named place other than “duty” (which includes the responsibility for customs formalities & payment of those formalities, duties & taxes) for import into the country of destination. Buyer is responsible for payment of all customs & duties & taxes.