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Importing a Car from the UK to Ireland, Post-Brexit

Car 2 min read

08 Feb 2021

4WheelGuideYour roadmap to buying a new or used car 

In 2019, more than 109,000 people imported a car from abroad, primarily from the UK. However, post-Brexit VAT changes between the Republic and Britain have added thousands of euro to the cost of imported second-hand cars from England, Scotland and Wales - but what about Northern Ireland? 

With that in mind, as part of our 4WheelGuide series, we looked at the main questions around the changes when importing a car from the UK to Ireland and Northern Ireland this year.


Will it cost me more to import a car from the UK to the Republic of Ireland?

Yes. Since Janaury 1st, post-Brexit VAT changes between the Republic of Ireland and the UK have meant an increase in over €4,000 of the cost of imported second hand cars from England, Scotland and Wales to the Republic of Ireland.

According to Revenue, those importing vehicles from Britain are required to complete a customs declaration; pay or account for customs duty of 10% if applicable; and pay VAT at 21% prior to presenting the vehicle for registration. VRT is also payable on such vehicles. 



What about importing a car from Northern Ireland to the Republic?

How much this will cost is currently unclear and until the matter is finally resolved the best advice is to wait until the matter has been finally resolved by all parties concerned. As recently as mid January it was thought that as Northern Ireland is still treated as being within the EU Customs Territory, cars imported to the Republic from the North would not have to pay additional VAT. Cars bought new in Northern Ireland, then sold second-hand in the Republic, would face Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) and NOx emission costs already in place, but nothing extra.

However, in an interview today with RTE news Revenue have said that the same rules apply on cars that are imported into the Republic of Ireland from Britain, via Northern Ireland. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, VAT should be paid on a used vehicle at the point of importation into the North if it is coming from Britain but was made in the EU. 

"We won't permit cars to be routed through the North from Britain into the North and down here without the payment of VAT and customs duties where a dealer bringing in cars through Dublin Port would have to pay VAT and customs duty,"  

"So a warning shot for all people that are looking at buying a car, registering a car from Northern Ireland - just be incredibly careful, do your due diligence beforehand," Dermot Donegan, Revenue's Head of VAT Legislation and Policy said.


I live in Northern Ireland. How much will it cost to import a car from Britain?

For Northern Irish car buyers, Northern Ireland car dealers have been assured that VAT will now not be applied to the purchase price of vehicles moved from Great Britain to NI. It was feared that Brexit-related changes would mean it would be more expensive for NI car dealers to source second-hand vehicles from GB.


Are there any exemptions?

Dealers in Northern Ireland will be allowed VAT relief when buying from corporations – e.g. car hire companies. 


What will this mean for the market?

Now that Brexit has actually happened, UK imports will drop… This loss of supply will keep used values strong in 2021 and likely 2022. Irrespective of the age of the car, it’s not a bad time to buy used.” says Rob Hume, General Manager of DoneDeal.

But if you have your heart set on a premium used car with only a couple of years of use, you might find that the price isn’t far off a brand new model, due to 2020′s dip in car sales:

“Fewer nearly new cars are in circulation right now. The price gap between nearly new cars and brand new cars is closing…. so some consumers are seeing the value in making the leap to brand new vehicles.”

Rob was interviewed as part of our 4WheelGuide series with the Journal.ie and the Belfast Telegraph. They put some burning car buyers’ questions to the experts. Why not check out more great car buying expert advice and tips in our blog here.

If you’re in the market for a car loan why not contact your local credit union who will come back to you with details on the interest rates they currently offer? Alternatively, to see what the average car loan rate will cost you – check out our handy loan calculator
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