The easiest way to find out if you need to pay tax / duty on importing a car to the UK is to use our instant calculator below
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Tax / Duty Calculator
Get an instant estimate of any tax / duty applicable for your car import plus:
- Transfer of Residence (ToR)
- Classic 5% import VAT
- EU / non-EU imports
- HMRC Entry Fees
- HMRC NOVA entry
Shipping a car to the UK means you may be liable to pay import VAT and Duty. Import VAT and Duty depends on a number of factors which we will discuss below:
- Have you owned the car for at least six months outside of the EU? If you have owned the vehicle for at least six months and lived outside of the EU for at least one year (185 consecutive days) and are moving back to the UK permanently, then you will not have to pay any import VAT or duty (which is nice.)In order to prove this we will require proof of US residency from at least one year ago, for example a utility bill, bank / mortgage statement and also proof of vehicle ownership from at least six months ago, for example an insurance certificate or title/registration document
- Are you importing a car to the UK which was built in the EU, e.g. a Porsche, Bentley, MG, Jaguar, Lotus, Lamborghini, etc? If so you will not have to pay the usual import duty, just £50 and then the usual 20% VAT on top.
- Was the car you are importing built pre-1950? If so you will not have to pay any import duty and just 5% VAT.
- Is the vehicle you are importing into the UK over 30 years old? Customs now allow certain cars older than 30 years old into the UK without paying any duty and just 5% VAT – the car has to be in original form with no major modifications to engine, chassis etc. There are different conditions that must be met but it is best to apply with customs early if you think your vehicle may fit the criteria (for more information please see our article ‘BTI Scheme 9705‘)
- Is the vehicle you are importing into the UK a pickup truck or commercial vehicle? Most pickup trucks are just 10% duty and 20% VAT, but if classed as commercial they would levy 22% duty and 20% VAT. HMRC deem a pickup commerical if it is not seen as a luxury model e.g. no Sat Nav, only one row of seats, no air con etc. If classed as commercial you may be able to claim the VAT back if using it within your business, but best to check with your accountant first.
- Can I bring it in as a temporary import and not pay anything? If you plan to only keep the car in the UK for less than six months then you can complete a C110 form and not pay any tax/duty. The car must be already registered outside of the EU and if the numberplates use lettering that is not recognisable in the UK you may need temporary import plates.
- Are you importing this as a personal import or for your company? If importing as a VAT registered company we will require a letter from you on headed paper stating that you wish to import the vehicle under your VAT registration number.
- What are the usual rates of import duty? OK, the bit you have all been waiting for…. So, if the car is not a European returning car, less than 30 years old and not of historical significance, e.g. a standard 2005 Mustang for example, you will be liable to 10% duty (or 22% if a pickup/commercial) and then 20% VAT on top
- How do they calculate import duty and VAT? Import duty and VAT is calculated on the invoice provided to show how much you paid for the vehicle – first it is converted into GBP using the current exchange rate (set each month by customs for this purpose) – we then add on a nominal adjustment for shipping (usually around £500) – you then multiply this amount by the duty rate applicable for your vehicle. You now know how much duty you will be paying. Take this figure and add it back onto your vehicle value and then multiply by 20% – this is how much VAT you will pay (yes VAT is on duty too…..)
- So can I get out of paying VAT or Duty by shipping the car first to lots of different countries, taking the engine out, smashing the windscreen, claiming it is a pretend car, a kit car or a block of cheese? Basically, no.
- For most imports – cars that you have not owned more than six months, European cars, trucks, etc you will need to fill in a C384 form
- For vehicles you have owned for more than six months and if you have lived outside of the EU for at least one year you will need to complete the ToR form on the HMRC website
- Temporary Imports – you will need to complete the C110 form on the HMRC website