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Buying a New Car in Ireland

Before you can set a wheel on the road!

With the exception of vehicles brought to Ireland temporarily by tourists, there are four things that have to be taken care of, before you can start driving in Ireland.

  1. Ensure that you have a valid driving licence, and carry it at all times when driving.
  2. Vehicle Regitration Tax (VRT) (A once off payment, when vehicle is registered)
    Every new and imported car must be registered with the Revenue Commissioners.
  3. Motor Insurance
  4. Pay Motor tax

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All about Vehicle Registration Tax

All newly purchased cars in Ireland are liable for Vehicle Registration Tax, which one must pay (only once) when the car is first registered. It is a legal requirement and there are considerable penalties for any delay in registering your car.

Registration is taken care of at the You can register the local Vehicle Registration Office (VRO). The tax will be calculated at the VRO, and in the case of cars and small vans, is based on a percentage of the recommended retail price of the vehicle (including all taxs). This price is known commonly as the Open Market Selling Price (OMSP).

If you are dissatisfied with the amount that you are being charged, bring this to the attention of the official at the VRO at the time of payment. There is also a VRT appeals procedure, for those who aren't happy with the charges. Leaflets are available from any VRO.

VRT Exemptions and Reliefs

There are a number of different reliefs and exemptions from VRT and more information is provided at your local VRO. In particular, relief is provided for certain disabled drivers, Visitors who will be temporary residents in Ireland and have owned their vehicles abroad for more than 6 months, and people who have owned their vehicles abroad for greater than 6 months and are moving to Ireland permanently. Those posted to Ireland as part of the diplomatic corps will also enjoy reliefs on VRT (so become a diplomat and take advantage of the freebies!)

However, if your are moving to Ireland and are exempt from paying VRT you are not permitted to sell your vehicle for more than 12 months after the vehicle has been registered. But if you are required to pay VRT, you can sell your vehicle here in Ireland whenever you want, provided it has been registered. You will find futher information at your local VRO.

VRT when buying from a car dealer

If you purchase your new car from a dealer at car showrooms and so on, then it is the dealer's responsibility to have the vehicle registered and ensure that the tax is paid before selling it to you. The selling price of the vehicle should include the VRT, and the vehicle will be sold to you with its registration plates already attached.

When the vehicle has been registered by the Revenue Commissioners and the VRT has been fully paid, you (or the motor dealer) will receive a receipt for the VRT paid, displaying the registration number assigned to the car. The registration plates displaying the assigned registration number must be placed on the car within 3 days of the date of registration (you can find a leaflet detailing the correct legal format of the registration plates to be used at any VRO).

You will receive a receipt and a form, called the RF 100, which you will use when you are applying for motor tax

VRT and temporary visitors to Ireland

Those bringing their car to Ireland temporarily (i.e., while on vacation, a business trip etc.) are not required to pay VRT on the vehicle.

The costs of VRT

As mentioned above, the costs of VRT are based on the Open Market Selling Price of the Vehicle. This depends on the vehicle's market values, engine size, year, model and roadworthiness as well as the condition of the vehicle.

The VRT will be estimated by a VRO official, who will calculate the rate after he/she has inspected the vehicle. Payments are possible by bankdraft, money order, Laser (debit) card and cash. (note: if you are decide to use a Laser debit card to pay, the transaction is limited to 1,500 euro per day. If your VRT expenses exceed this you can pay the balance in cash or by bank draft. )

The Vehicle Engine size Cost of VRT

Here is a break-down of how engine size will affect your VRT (ball-park figures given)
Cars up to 1400 cc 22.5% of OMSP, (subject to a minimum tax of 315 euro)
Cars 1401cc-2000cc 25% of OMSP (subject to a minimum tax of 315 euro)
Cars over 2000cc 30% of OMSP (subject to a minimum tax of 315 euro)
Small vans (incl. some jeeps) - 13.3% of OMSP (subject to a min tax of 125 euro)
Motorcycles (new) - 2 euro per 350cc and 1 euro per cc after that
Motorcycles (used) - 2 euro per 350cc and 1 euro per cc after that
Hybrid electric vehicles - 50% of VRT payable may be repaid in respect of some hybrid vehicles (hybrids are powered by a combination of electric motor and internal combustion engine. They are capable of being powered by the electric part of the motor for a substantial portion of their driving cycle)
Other vehicles - A flat rate of 50 euro for tractors, large vans, lorries, etc.

Procedure to Apply for VRT

First of all, obtain a declaration form at any VRO. Complete the declaration form and present the completed form together with the vehicle at a VRO (32 of these are located around the country). If the car is new, you will have to pay VAT as well as VRT.

More information about VRT, VAT and Acquiring a vehicle abroad

You can contact the following office, with any queries that you may have:
St John's House,
Dublin 24.
Tel: (01) 414 9700
(01) 414 9777
(01) 414 9720
(01) 414 9720
(01) 878 0100

(This is a 24/7 service to ask for forms and information leaflets)

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Importing a vehicle into Ireland

All vehicles subject to Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT)

VRT is a once off payment, that must be paid when the vehicle is registered. Your vehicle must be registered for VRT, unless you are here on a temporary basis. See the above section for VRT information.

You are also subject to the same requirements as stated above, if buying a car in the country:

1. Pay Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) (unless you are exempt)
2. Get Motor Insurance
3. Pay Motor Tax
4. Carry a valid driving licence at all times when driving.

(Information on these is provided above)

Prooving ownership of the car, when importing

When you bring a vehicle into Ireland from abroad, you must firstly be able to provide proof of ownership of the vehicle. This might be a vehicle registration document, evidence of car insurance and so on. You must also have a Certificate of Permanent Export (or a vehicle registration document). It is essential to make sure that the document or certificate is the correct one for your car before importing it to Ireland.

When must the car be registered

It's necessary to register your car and pay VRT by the close of the next working day, after its arrival into Ireland. Bring it to a Revenue Vehicle Registration Office (VRO) not later than the next working day following its arrival in Ireland, and complete a Declaration for Registration (Form VRT 4) and present it with the vehicle registration document or Certificate of Permanent Export.

You then pay the VRT charged, once your vehicle has been inspected at the VRO. When the vehicle has been registered by the Revenue Commissioners and the VRT paid, you (or your motor dealer) will receive: a receipt for the VRT that has been paid (displaying the registration number assigned to your car) and a form, called the form RF 100, for use when you are applying for motor tax

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Motor Tax

Motor tax is required in Ireland by law, and is imposed by the Irish Government on motor vehicles. Revenue from motor tax goes towards maintaining the roads, and upgrading the road network. The charges for motor tax are proportionate to the size of the vehicle engine, but some vehicles are exempt. Refer to the motor tax section for indepth info.

Motor Insurance

It is a legally required in Ireland to have motor insurance if you drive your car in a public place. Check out our insurance section for more info on Motor Insurance in Ireland.

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Getting Registration Plates

When you purchase a car from a dealer, it will have its registration plates attached by the time you are in possession of it. However, if you buy the car privately, you will be required to get registration plates - made to order at most motor dealers.

When do I receive my Registration Certificate?

Your new car's Registration Certificate is issued by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. It will be posted out after you have applied to your local motor tax office to pay motor tax on your vehicle.

When must you display the registration number

You must display the registration number within three days. If there is a failure to display the new registration number, this is an offence and you are liable to be fined by the Irish police force, An Garda Síochana.

Vehicle registration plates may be obtained from any motor dealer, and a leaflet showing the correct legal format of the registration plates to be used is available at any VRO.

Personalised registration plates are illegal in Ireland.

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