Can You Import a Car to the EU Tax-Free?

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Can You Import a Car to the EU Tax-Free?
Can You Import a Car to the EU Tax-Free?

Shipping a vehicle abroad can be an expensive process, depending on where its final destination is. As a result, you should always try to look for cost savings when shipping your vehicle internationally. There are various import laws in place that could result in major savings, but the trick is to be able to take advantage of them.

Given its large size and the free trade that exists within it, many of those who are importing a car to a country within the European Union may be wondering if they have to pay import taxes. The answer is...maybe. Here's what you should know.

You Normally Have to Pay Import Duties and Taxes

In the European Union, you will have to pay import duties and taxes on all imported vehicles from the United States. The rates that you have to pay depend on the type of vehicle that is being imported. For example, for import duties, you will have to pay:

  • 10% in import duty fees for regular passenger cars;
  • 22% in import duty fees for trucks with a large, commercial-size cargo space;
  • 6% in import duty fees for motorcycles with an engine capacity greater than 250cc;
  • 8% in import duty fees for motorcycles with an engine capacity less than or equal to 250cc.

Adding to the import costs is that there's an additional value added tax (VAT) of between 19% to 22% that you will also have to pay, which is based on the specific country that it is being registered in within the EU.

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How to Avoid These Taxes 

Many countries within the EU have laws in place that could allow you to import your vehicle free of import duties and taxes. But it's based on a country-by-country basis, as the laws in one country may not apply to another. You will usually have to meet certain stringent requirements, which can include:

  • That you're no longer a resident of the non-EU country;
  • That you're intent on becoming a long-term resident of the particular EU country;
  • That you have been living outside of the EU for at least 1 year;
  • That you are the sole owner of the vehicle for 1 year;
  • That you have been using the vehicle for personal use for at least 6 months prior to importing it.

You will need to provide firm proof of all of the above requirements. Certain countries are stricter than others. Your best bet is to ask your auto transport company about how they can help you.

At A-1 Auto Transport, we always do our best to help our customers avoid these fees if possible. We have a great deal of experience in providing international auto transport services and would be able to let you know what the requirements are for each specific country in terms of qualifying for duty-free and tax-exempt imports. Contact us today for your free no obligation quote!

Joe Webster
Written By:Joe Webster
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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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