How will Brexit impact on importing a used car

Following months of negotiations, a Brexit deal was finally secured on Christmas Eve but what impact does the new trade deal have on importing a used car asks Geraldine Herbert

Importing a car from Northern Ireland after January 1st 2021
If importing from NI there will be no additional charges however prices are likely to rise. A third of cars sold by Northern Ireland dealers are imported from mainland Britain. Following Brexit 20% VAT will be added to the cost of used cars imported from mainland Britain and sold by car dealers in Northern Ireland, this cost is likely to be passed on to the consumer plus this may result in reduced supply. Northern Ireland dealers are hoping that in the next budget a solution will be put in place. Also if importing a car from NI that was first registered in Great Britain and subsequently registered after 1 January 2021 proof that the car was properly imported into Northern Ireland will be required.


Importing a car from Great Britain after January 1st 2021
Prior to Brexit, VAT only had to be paid on privately imported used UK car imports if the imported car was less than 6 months old or had done less than 6000 km now post Brexit if you are an individual or a business and you import a vehicle from Great Britain you are required to pay VAT at 21% (calculated on total price incl duty and shipping).In addition, Revenue has advised that there will also be an import duty of 10% on some imported cars.

This charge will depend on what is known as “rules of origin” they determine whether a product assembled in a country should be counted as a product from that country, or as an imported product. It is not simply however where the car is manufactured but rather whether there is a sufficient number of parts to deem it locally produced. Typically free trade agreements require 60% local parts but the average car built in the UK has around 44%  so theoretically cars built in the UK may not necessarily be considered as UK origin.

UK origin cars will not pay the duty but EU and non-EU will. To further complicate the matter used imports won’t qualify for an exemption from customs duty unless the exporter from the UK can provide proof of origin, in order to qualify some technical documentation will be required when bringing the used import into the country. If liable the duty is 10% of the purchase price, and vat is also charged on this. the VRT must be paid on the used import via the NCT Centres as before.


Geraldine Herbert

11th January 2021

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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