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Vehicle-Duties and VRT

All new motor vehicles and vehicles brought into Ireland are subject to Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) and must be registered with the Revenue Commissioners. (The Revenue Commissioners are responsible for the collection of taxes in Ireland on behalf of the Irish Government). Every motor vehicle in the State, except for vehicles brought in temporarily by a visitor, must be registered with the Revenue Commissioners.

If you are moving to Ireland or are already living here and you are importing a car or other vehicle, you will need to do three things as regards to Vehicle-Duties and VRT before you can drive your vehicle in Ireland:

  • Pay Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) (unless you are exempt)
  • Have motor insurance
  • Pay motor tax

All motorists are required to carry a valid driving licence with them at all times when driving in Ireland. Driving licences include provisional licences, full licences and international driving licences.

What is Vehicle Registration Tax?

Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) is a tax you must pay when you first register a motor vehicle in Ireland. Every motor vehicle in the State must be registered with the Revenue Commissioners. If you have imported a vehicle, you must pay VRT and receive the vehicle’s registration certificate showing that you have paid VRT. Any delay in registering your vehicle or paying Vehicle Registration Tax will make you liable to substantial penalties – including forfeiture of your vehicle and prosecution.

Exemptions from paying Vehicle Registration Tax

There are different reliefs and exemptions from VRT. Even if you are not required to pay VRT, you must still register your vehicle when you come to Ireland (see Rules below). The following groups are exempt from paying VRT:

  • Certain disabled drivers
  • Visitors to Ireland who have owned their vehicles abroad for more than 6 months and who will be resident here temporarily
  • People who have owned their vehicles abroad for more than 6 months and who are moving permanently to Ireland
  • People posted to Ireland as part of the diplomatic corps

NOTE: If you are moving to Ireland and are among those exempt from paying VRT you cannot sell your vehicle for more than 12 months after the vehicle is registered.

If you are required to pay VRT, then you can sell your vehicle here in Ireland when you wish, once it has been registered. Further information is available from your local vehicle registration office – see “How to apply” below.

VRT relief on flexible fuel and electric vehicles

For category A and B vehicles only, 50% of the Vehicle Registration Tax payable or paid may be remitted or repaid in respect of certain series production (originally manufactured) flexible fuel vehicles. Details of this are contained in the Finance Act 2006. A flexible fuel vehicle is a vehicle that can achieve vehicle propulsion from an engine that is capable of using a blend of ethanol and petrol where such blend contains a minimum of 85% ethanol. In the Finance Act 2007 a similar relief was introduced for electric vehicles which are powered by solely by an electric motor. Both of these reliefs only apply to category A or B vehicles and expire on 31 December 2007.

Rules

If you bring a vehicle into Ireland from abroad, you must first of all be able to show proof of ownership of the vehicle. For example, a vehicle registration document, evidence of car insurance, etc. You must also have a Certificate of Permanent Export (or a vehicle registration document as we mention above). It is important to check that the document or certificate is the correct one for your car before bringing it to Ireland.

You must register your car and pay VRT by the end of the next working day following its arrival into Ireland. You must bring it to a Revenue Vehicle Registration Office (VRO) not later than the next working day following its arrival in Ireland – see “How to apply” below. You pay the VRT charged after your vehicle has been inspected at the VRO.

Once 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 paid showing the registration number assigned to your car
  • A Form RF 100 for use when you are applying for motor tax

You must display the registration number within three days. Failure to display the new registration number is an offence and you can be fined by An Garda Síochána (the Irish police force). You can obtain vehicle registration plates from any motor dealer. A leaflet showing the correct legal format of the registration plates to be used is available at any VRO. Vanity/personalised registration plates are illegal.

When will I receive my registration certificate?

The vehicle registration certificate is issued to you by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. This will be posted out to you after you have applied to your local authority’s Motor Tax office to pay your motor tax. (See information on Motor Tax below).

How is VRT calculated?

In the case of cars and small vans, the VRT payable is a percentage of the expected retail price, including all taxes in the State. This price is called the “Open Market Selling Price” (OMSP). An On-Line VRT Enquiry System is now available. You can use it to calculate a VRT estimate for a range of passenger vehicles, vans and motorcycles. It is not possible to include exact information here on what the OMSP of your personal vehicle will be – it depends on market values at the time, the age, engine size and roadworthiness condition ofyour vehicle. See below for further information about rates of VRT.

If you feel you have been overcharged

If you feel that you have been overcharged, you can inform the VRO official at the time of payment. If you are still unhappy with the amount of VRT you have been charged, you can appeal under the formal excise appeals procedure. Details of the VRT appeals procedure are available from any VRO.

Motor insurance

It is a legal requirement in Ireland to have motor insurance if you want to drive a motor vehicle in a public place.

Motor tax

Motor tax  in Ireland is a charge imposed by the Irish Government on motor vehicles. Revenue from motor tax is used to maintain and upgrade the road network. Charges for motor tax are proportionate to the size of the vehicle engine. Some vehicles are exempt.

Rates

VRT payable is a percentage of the expected retail price, including all taxes in the State. This price is called the “Open Market Selling Price” (OMSP). The current rates of VRT are:

Vehicle Engine size Cost of VRT
Cars up to 1400 cc   22.5% of OMSP, (subject to a min. tax of €315)
Cars 1401cc-1900cc   25% of OMSP (subject to a min. tax of €315)
Cars over 1900cc   30% of OMSP (subject to a min. tax of €315)
Small vans and some jeeps   13.3% of OMSP (subject to a min tax of €125)
Motorcycles (new)   €2 per 350cc and €1 per cc thereafter
Motorcycles (used)   €2 per 350cc and €1 per cc thereafter (Vintage motorcycles over 30 years old are not liable for VRT)
Hybrid electric vehicles   50% of VRT payable may be repaid in respect of some hybrid vehicles*
Other vehicles   A flat rate of €50 for tractors, vintage cars (over 30 years old), large vans, lorries, etc.

*A hybrid electric vehicle is a vehicle that derives its power from a combination of an electric motor and an internal combustion engine. It is capable of being driven on electronic propulsion alone for a material part of its normal driving cycle.

A VRO official calculates the rate of VRT after he/she inspects the vehicle. You can pay by bank draft, money order, Laser (debit) card or cash. If you are using a Laser debit card to pay, the transaction is limited to €1,500 per day. If the VRT payment exceeds this amount, you can pay the balance in cash or by bank draft.

If the car is new, VAT is payable in addition to VRT. When enquiring about VRT rates, you need to providespecific information about your vehicle.

How to apply

A completed declaration form together with the vehicle should be presented at your local VRO (there are 23 of these around the country). If the vehicle is new, you should complete a Declaration for Registration Form VRT 3 and present it with the vehicle registration document or Certificate of Permanent Export. If the new vehicle is second-hand, you should complete a Declaration for Registration Form VRT 4. If the vehicle is a motorcycle, you should complete a Declaration for Registration Form VRT 5. Declaration forms are available from any VRO.

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