Frequently Asked Questions on Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT)
- What is VRT?
- When must I register?
- Where do I register?
- What happens if I don't register my vehicle?
- What happens if I forget to register within the 30-day limit?
- What is the revised vehicle classification system for VRT purposes from 1 January 2011?
- I thought VRT was illegal under EU law.
- How is VRT calculated?
- How can I find out how much VRT I will have to pay if my particular vehicle is not on the VRT Calculator?
- What exactly is CO2?
- How will the CO2 based VRT system affect me if I want to buy a second-hand car?
- If Revenue has the CO2 emissions information on its web site why must I provide it?
- What happens if the CO2 emissions information on my documentation differs from that on the Revenue website?
- What happens if I am offered a second-hand Japanese import? Will I be taxed based on the CO2?
- How do I find out the CO2 rating for a Japanese import?
- What happens if my Japanese import car is pre 2003?
- What happens if I want to import a Japanese second-hand car privately without the use of agents or dealers?
- What happens if I want to import a second-hand car from other non-EU countries?
- What happens if I want to import a second-hand car manufactured before 1997 and the documentation does not have details of the level of CO2 emissions?
- Will my motor tax be affected by the CO2 emissions from my car?
- Where will I get supporting documentation confirming the CO 2 emissions of a second-hand car from the UK?
- What rate of VRT will I pay?
- What happens if I want to register a car which is more than 30 years of age, commonly referred to as a "vintage" vehicle?
- If I cannot find documentation regarding the levels of CO2 for my car, why will Revenue charge me 36% VRT?
- Is there a minimum amount of VRT chargeable?
- How can I pay?
- Can I appeal Revenue's Valuation of the Vehicle?
- I think my vehicle is exempt from VRT- what do I do?
- I thought I had to register at a Revenue Office - Why an NCTS centre?
- What kind of examination is carried out at an NCTS centre? What paperwork do I need relating to the vehicle?
- What paperwork do I need at registration?
- Will my vehicle require a NCT Roadworthiness test after I register it?
- When do I get my Registration Certificate?
- What is Type-Approval?
- What is a Certificate of Conformity and when is it required?
- How do I know how much CO2 my car emits?
- I can put a filter on my car to reduce the CO2 emissions. Does this mean I can get a reduction in VRT?
- Why do I need a purchase invoice when registering a car?
- I bought privately and don't have an invoice.
- I can't prove the date I brought the car into the country. What happens next?
- Do I need to provide personal identification at the NCTS centre in order to register a vehicle?
- Why do I need ID?
- If I can't bring my car to the NCTS Centre, can I ask someone else to bring it for me?
- What happens if the car fails the examination?
- When can I get my number plates?
- What is the prescribed format for number plates?
- I see people with different types/styles of registration plates. Can I replace my regular plates with one like that?
- I would like to reserve a number for next year. How do I do it?
- Can I use a personalised number like they do in the UK?
- I just bought a used 'vintage' car in the UK. Can I keep the old number?
- I bought a car in the UK and paid VAT there. Now I am asked to pay VAT in Ireland. Why?
- What impact does the condition of the car have on VRT?
- Why is the mileage required?
- Is there any occasion in which I (a state resident) don't have to register my vehicle?
- What is a 'temporary exemption'?
- I have just returned to Ireland after a year abroad. Is my car exempt from VRT?
- I regularly work in Belfast. Do I need to register my car here?
- How do I know if I am a 'normal resident' in Ireland
- My aunt who lived in England died and left me her car. Do I have to pay VRT?
- When I buy a new car from a dealer, I am not asked to pay VRT. Why is this? Is there no VRT on new cars?
- I bought a farm quad recently. Can I get it registered?
- How come there are a lot of people driving around in foreign registered cars?
- I am emigrating to the UK and bringing my car with me. Can I claim the VRT back?
- I bought a car recently and wrote it off in a crash. Can I claim the VRT back?
- When is VAT due on a vehicle?
- What is a Category A vehicle?
- What is a Category B vehicle?
- What is a Category C vehicle?
- What is a Category D vehicle?
- What is a Category M vehicle?
- What is a Category M1 vehicle?
- What is a Category M2 vehicle?
- What is a Category M3 vehicle?
- What is a Category N1 vehicle?
- What is a Category N2 vehicle?
- What is a Category N3 vehicle?
- What is a Category L1e vehicle?
- What is a Category L2e vehicle?
- What is a Category L3e vehicle?
- What is a Category L4e vehicle?
- What is a Category L5e vehicle?
- What is a Category L6e vehicle?
- What is a Category L7e vehicle?
- What is a Category T1 vehicle?
- What is a Category T2 vehicle?
- What is a Category T3 vehicle?
- What is a Category T4 vehicle?
- What is a Category T5 vehicle?
- What is a Motor Caravan/Motor Home?
- What is an electric vehicle?
- I hear that there is VRT relief on an electric vehicle. Is that true?
- Are there any other exemptions available for electric vehicles?
- What is a hybrid electric vehicle?
- What is a flexible fuel vehicle?
- What is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle?
- I am importing a vehicle from another country that has previously been registered in Ireland. Do I have to re-register the vehicle?
- I am importing a vehicle from another country which had been previously permanently exported from the State under the Export Repayment Scheme. Do I have to re-register the vehicle?
Vehicle Registration Tax is chargeable on the registration of a motor vehicle in the State. All motor vehicles in the State, other than those brought in temporarily by visitors, must be registered with the Revenue Commissioners. A vehicle must be registered before it can be licensed for motor tax purposes and a State resident is not, save in exceptional circumstances, allowed to drive an unregistered vehicle.
In order to register an unregistered vehicle (or one previously registered outside the State) you must make an appointment with the NCTS within 7 days of its entry into the State to have a pre-registration examination of the vehicle carried out. You must complete the registration process and pay VRT at the NCTS Centre within 30 days of the arrival of the vehicle in the State. Further details of how to book the examination are available on the NCTS website at www.ncts.ie/vrt.html.
Additional Charge Raised by Revenue where a Vehicle has not been Registered within 30 days
Section 62 of Finance Act (No 2) 2008 allows the Commissioners to raise an additional charge on registration where Revenue are of the opinion that the vehicle has not been registered within the specified 30 day limit. This usually arises where satisfactory documentary evidence is not produced at the time the vehicle is presented for registration.
Any queries relating to an additional charge having been raised at registration should be addressed to the VRT section within your Revenue district. Please note that queries relating to an additional charge will not be entertained unless documentary evidence is produced giving proof of the date that the vehicle entered the State. This documentation should have been produced to NCTS when the vehicle was presented for registration.
It should be noted that an unregistered vehicle may be detained by Revenue officials or by An Garda Síochána if the vehicle is not registered within the specified 30 day limit
You can register a vehicle at any NCTS Centre authorised for registration by Revenue. The NCTS Centres currently authorised for registration are as follows:
- Donegal Town
Further details in relation to these test centres are available on the NCTS website at www.ncts.ie
It is an offence to drive an unregistered vehicle in the State. Accordingly, an unregistered vehicle may be detained by Revenue officials or by An Garda Síochána. Additionally, a vehicle may be seized by Revenue officials and may only be released on the payment of a penalty.
Under current legislation, you are obliged to register your vehicle within the 30 day limit. If you fail to register your vehicle within 30 days of the vehicle entering the State, you risk having the vehicle detained. Notwithstanding this, an additional charge of VRT will be applied by Revenue at the time of registration, for the period your vehicle remained unregistered in the State.
Please note that it may not always be possible to complete the registration process on your initial visit to an NCTS Centre. Hence, in order to avoid an additional VRT charge, you should arrange an NCTS appointment as soon possible after the arrival of the vehicle in the State. The fact that an appointment was made with NCTS within the 30 day limit does not result in an extension of the 30 day time limit within which registration must be completed.
Revised Vehicle Classification for VRT Purposes
From 1 January 2011, a revised vehicle categorisation system for vehicle registration tax purposes was enacted. The revised system reflects the categories used for the classification of vehicles at European level as set out under a number of EC Directives (See Appendix I).
In addition, certain vehicles, e.g. busses and ambulances etc. that had been specifically defined in VRT legislation have been redefined to reflect the appropriate EC vehicle definitions.
Where a new vehicle is being registered in the State, an EU Vehicle Classification is now mandatory. Similarly, in the case of the registration of a second hand vehicle, an EU Classification is now mandatory. The EU Vehicle Classification is normally found on the Registration documentation issued by the previous Registration Authority. If, for whatever reason, the vehicle classification cannot be confirmed to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners at the time of registration, the vehicle shall be deemed to be a category M1, i.e. passenger vehicle for VRT purposes.
From a taxation point of view, the EU Classification is, for the most part, equivalent to the Revenue VRT category i.e. EU Classification M1 is normally equivalent to Revenue Category A passenger vehicles and accordingly the VRT liability should remain unchanged. The following table maps the EU classification scheme against the Revenue categories.
The following table maps the EU classification scheme against the old Revenue categories:
|EU Vehicle Classifications||Equivalent Revenue Category|
|M1 - Passenger Vehicles||Category A - Passenger Vehicle e.g. saloon, hatchback etc.|
|M2 - Passenger Vehicles||Category C - Passenger vehicles with a minimum of 10 seats including the driver’s seat and under 5 tonnes in weight i.e. mini bus|
|M3 - Passenger Vehicles||Category C - Passenger vehicles with a minimum of 10 seats including the driver’s seat and over 5 tonnes in weight i.e. large bus|
|M1, M2, M3 – Motorhomes / Motorcaravans||From 01/01/2011 all such vehicles are charged at 13.3% of the Open Market Selling Price|
|N1 - Commercial Vehicles, designed for the carriage of goods||Category B - Commercial Vehicles under or equal to 3.5 tonnes in weight|
|Category N1 - a vehicle that, at all stages of manufacture, is classified as a category N1 vehicle with less than 4 seats, and has a technically permissible maximum laden mass weight that is greater than 130 per cent of the mass in service of the vehicle with bodywork in running order||Category C - Commercial Vehicles (carriage of goods) other|
|Category M1 - Vehicles that have been modified or converted post manufacture to N1||Category B - Commercial Vehicles under or equal to 3.5 tonnes in weight|
|N2 - Commercial Vehicles, designed for the carriage of goods||Category C - Commercial Vehicles (carriage of goods) over 3.5 tonnes and under 12 tonnes in weight|
|N3 - Commercial Vehicles, i.e. designed for the carriage of goods||Category C vehicles over 12 tonnes in weight|
|L1 to L7 - Motor Cycles and certain three wheel vehicles||Category M|
|T1 to T5 - Agricultural Vehicles||Category C|
When the EU Vehicle Classification is determined an EU Bodywork must be associated with the EU Classification. The EU Body work code is dependent on the EU Vehicle Classification. In order to provide continuity between the existing Revenue categorisation system and the EU one, the current Revenue Body types have been mapped to the EU Body work code. (This mapping may be found at Appendix II).
That is not the case.
Member States are entitled to charge national taxes provided that there is no discrimination against imported goods in favour of indigenous goods.
VRT is a national tax in Ireland and does not contravene EU law in that the VRT payable on the registration of an imported vehicle is equal to the amount of residual VRT contained in a similar vehicle already in the State.
In the case of cars and light goods vehicles, the tax is a percentage of the expected retail price, including all taxes in the State. This price is known as the Open Market Selling Price or OMSP. You may find out the OMSP relating to a particular vehicle and corresponding VRT liability online at: Vehicle Registration on-line Enquiry System.
The rate of VRT charged on passenger cars is based on the level of CO2 emissions of the vehicle.
How can I find out how much VRT I will have to pay if my particular vehicle is not on the VRT Calculator?
While Revenue maintains a database of over 25,000 valuations on the VRT Calculator , vehicles are often presented for registration for which Revenue does not have a valuation. In these cases, Revenue valuation officers use a variety of methods in determining the open market selling price (OMSP) for VRT purposes of the various makes, models and versions of vehicles presented for registration. These methods are described in detail in the valuation manual, Valuation System for New and Used Vehicles (PDF, 211KB).
One of the more reliable and user-friendly methods of valuation involves the comparison of a specific vehicle with a set of similar vehicles that are on sale in both the UK market and in the State, the calculation of an average retail ratio between such vehicles, and the application of this ratio to a particular model. The following steps may be followed in order to determine an approximate OMSP for VRT purposes:-
- Select 4 models that are on sale in both the UK and Ireland that are similar to the model you wish to value for VRT purposes.
- Find out the sales price for these models from the UK Glass's Guide and the Irish Car Sales Guide (or if not available, find out the OMSP on the Revenue VRT Calculator ).
- Calculate the ratio between the UK sales price and the retail price in the Irish Car Sales Guide for each of these models.
- Calculate the average ratio for the four models.
- Apply this ratio to the UK sales price of the vehicle you wish to value to obtain a valuation for VRT purposes.
If it is not possible to get access to the UK Glass's Guide - other sources such as web sites, trade magazines etc. may provide an approximate value. However the accuracy of the method depends on the UK price being VAT-inclusive and being a "selling price".
A VRT Estimate form (PDF, 582KB), is available to help in this particular process.
CO2 stands for Carbon Dioxide. It is a gas that is produced when fossil fuels such as coal, petrol and diesel are burned. Burning a litre of petrol generates about 234 grams of CO2 while burning a litre of diesel produces 270 grams. However, diesel engines are more efficient and therefore, on average, produce less CO2 for every kilometre travelled than petrol engines.
If you want to buy a second-hand car, previously registered in Ireland, the new system of taxation will have no direct effect. As VRT is charged on registration, and the car has been already registered, VRT will not be charged again.
The legislation states that the person registering the vehicle must declare the level of CO2 emissions as part of the registration process.
What happens if the CO2 emissions information on my documentation differs from that on the Revenue website?
Revenue has taken every precaution to ensure that the information is correct. However, because of the large number of models available and the differences between some models on sale in the UK and in Ireland differences will arise. If your documentation confirming the level of CO2 emissions is different from that on the Revenue website, Revenue will accept it provided it is listed among the supporting documentation acceptable to Revenue. In this regard, Revenue refers to a number of websites from which CO2 information relating to various cars is available. Among those websites are:
- Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency UK (DVLA)
- Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA)
- Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)
If your documentation indicates that the data on our website is incorrect, you will be charged the appropriate amount of tax on the registration at the NCTS Centre and Revenue will update their own records.
Yes, the new CO2 basis will be used for all cars first registered in Ireland from 1 July 2008 onwards.
When a car is exported from Japan it is issued with a certificate of export and/or a de-registration certificate. This certificate will show the model number of the car. You can then access the website of the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport . Alternatively you may search the internet for document jidosha/nenpi/nenpilist and when you open the link select document H19.03. This document gives the CO2 for all vehicles on sale in Japan from 2004 onwards. You can match the model number from the export certificate against this document and find the CO2 for the car. Present a print-out of this document along with the original certificate of export/deregistration and a translation to the NCTS Centre and the car will be registered and taxed correctly.
In this case two alternative documents/statements of evidence are required along with the certificate of export and/or a de-registration certificate.
Japan Import Documents
It requires a few simple steps to get the required documentation. Specialised dealers or agents import most Japanese used cars. Revenue has met a number of importers and others involved in this trade and has informed them of the required documentation. These dealers and agents will be familiar with Revenue’s requirements and will probably have the information ready when you purchase a Japanese import.
Documentation on a number of the most common imports has already been submitted to Revenue and this information is available on the website to all those considering purchasing Japanese imports. Revenue will, of course, accept documentation printed from its own website in relation to Japanese imports.
What happens if I want to import a Japanese second-hand car privately without the use of agents or dealers?
You should make yourself aware of Revenue’s requirements and of the documentation available for the car. Remember that the onus is on you to provide the correct documentation. If you can’t find it you should consider an alternative car or else be willing to pay 36% VRT.
If the second-hand car originates in another non-EU country the following documentary evidence confirming the level of CO2 emissions is acceptable to Revenue.
- Evidence supplied on previous registration documents i.e. registration documents from Singapore,
- A document from the manufacturer stating the level of CO2 emissions at the time of manufacture,
- A Certificate of Conformity.
Anyone considering purchasing a vehicle from other non-EU countries should gather as much documentation as possible and consult with Revenue in advance of purchase or risk being charged 36% VRT.
What happens if I want to import a second-hand car manufactured before 1997 and the documentation does not have details of the level of CO2 emissions?
In such instances, if the details of the fuel consumption of the vehicle are available, [the combined figures – derived from an average of the urban and extra-urban figures] the level of CO2 for the vehicle may be calculated using the formulae below.
- Where the fuel consumption is shown as litres per 100km:
CO2 = fuel consumption x 23.20
e.g. If the fuel is shown as 5.8 l/100km then
5.8 x 23.20 = CO2 emissions of 134.56 or 135
- Where the fuel consumption is shown as litres per km:
CO2 emissions = fuel consumption x 2320
If the fuel consumption is 0.058 l/km then
0.058 x 2320 = CO2 emissions of 134.56 or 135
- Where the fuel consumption is shown as km per litre:
CO2 emissions = 2320/fuel consumption
If the fuel consumption is shown as 17.2km per litre then 2320/17.2
= CO2 emissions of 134.88 or 135
- Imperial Calculations
Where the fuel consumption is shown as miles per gallon the figures must be converted to kms per litre as follows:
mpg/2.82485 = km per litre.
CO2 emissions are then calculated using the formula in c above.
e.g. If the fuel consumption is shown as 48.7 mpg then
48.7/2.82485 = 17.2 km per litre and
2320/17.2 = CO2 emissions of 134.88 or 135
Note: For diesel engines the multiplier changes from 2320 (or 23.20) to 2630 or (26.30) whichever is appropriate.
Yes, motor tax is also affected. However, the CO2 based Motor Tax changes only apply to cars with an 08 or later registration plate. The motor tax charges are available on the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government website. The Motor Tax rates are determined by the CO2 levels of the vehicle declared to and accepted by Revenue at registration.
Where will I get supporting documentation confirming the CO2 emissions of a second-hand car from the UK?
When you purchase a car in the UK you should normally get the UK registration document the V5. This document shows the CO2 for all vehicles registered in the UK since 2001. If, for some reason the registration document is not available there are a number of documents you can get that (providing they show the CO2), will satisfy Revenue of the CO2 levels. These include:
- The Certificate of Conformity (if it is available)
- The CO2 stated on a previous National Car Test performed elsewhere within the EU
- A print-out for the vehicle from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency UK (DVLA)
- A print-out from the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA)
- A print-out from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)
- A certificate from the manufacturer or main distributor stating the CO2 emissions.
Some of the older cars will actually show the level of CO2 emissions in the owner's manual and this may also be acceptable to Revenue.
In addition, Revenue officials have been researching the level of CO2 emissions of the more common imports and have CO2 details of over 12,000 models available on the ROS Enquiry system. A print-out from the Revenue website that shows the CO2 emissions is also acceptable.
For passenger vehicles, VRT is charged based on the level of CO2 emissions from the car. There are seven rates as shown in the following table:
|CO2 Emissions (CO2g/km)||VRT Rates|
|0 - 80g||14% of OMSP|
|More than 80g/km up to and including100g/km||15% of OMSP|
|More than 100g/km up to and including 110g/km||16% of OMSP|
|More than 110g/km up to and including 120g/km||17% of OMSP|
|More than 120g/km up to and including 130g/km||18% of OMSP|
|More than 130g/km up to and including 140g/km||19% of OMSP|
|More than 140g/km up to and including 155g/km||23% of OMSP|
|More than 155g/km up to and including 170g/km||27% of OMSP|
|More than 170g/km up to and including 190g/km||30% of OMSP|
|More than 190g/km up to and including 225g/km||34% of OMSP|
|More than 225g/km||36% of OMSP|
For light commercial vehicles VRT is calculated at 13.3% of the value of the vehicle.
What happens if I want to register a car which is more than 30 years of age, commonly referred to as a "vintage" vehicle?
The vehicle must be brought to an NCTS centre with required documentation for examination and registration. A VRT Charge of €200 will apply. Please see the Guide to Vehicle Registration Tax.
If I cannot find documentation regarding the levels of CO2 for my car, why will Revenue charge me 36% VRT?
In the absence of satisfactory documentation, Revenue is obliged by law to charge at this rate. However, if, within 60 days of registering the car you can get satisfactory evidence, you can appeal the decision and if your appeal is successful, then the revised rate will be applied. The VRT charged must be paid before an appeal will be admitted.
Yes. There is a minimum amount of VRT that will be charged with a different limit for each CO2 band. The limits are according to the following table:
|VRT Rates||Minimum VRT|
For each rate the limit reflects a car with a value of approximately €2,000
You can pay using the following methods:
- Cash (Up to €200)
- Laser Card (Up to €1,500)
- Bank Draft (payable to Applus Car Testing Service Ltd)
- Credit Card (This method of payment incurs a 1.5% administration charge which is imposed by the NCTS centre)
Yes. You can appeal under the formal excise appeal procedure. Details are set out in a separate information leaflet Appeal Procedures. However, before you can lodge an appeal the VRT must first be paid.
You may appeal the charge at any Revenue office.
If you feel that you are entitled to relief or exemption from the payment of VRT, you should examine the range of Revenue's information leaflets on the various exemptions available to see if you meet the qualifying criteria. Among the reliefs available are those relating to:
- Transfer of Residence
- Transfer of Business Activity
- Vehicles for People with Disabilities
The Revenue Commissioners have appointed the NCTS to carry out a number of functions relating to the registration of vehicles on their behalf.
What kind of examination is carried out at an NCTS centre? What paperwork do I need relating to the vehicle?
The NCTS examination has two separate parts. The first part is to ensure that the documentation presented at registration is complete and fulfils the requirements of registration.
The second is to verify that the vehicle details described in the paperwork matches the vehicle to identify the vehicle accurately for taxation purposes and to ascertain that the vehicle meets the definition of a 'mechanically propelled vehicle' provided for in VRT legislation i.e.
- has been designed and constructed for road use,
- has a certificate of conformity to the required European Community standard,
- is intended to be driven by a mechanical/electrical means or by a combination of both mechanical and electrical means, and
- is at the time of presentation of registration capable of being driven.
In all cases you will need photographic ID i.e. a passport or a driving licence. Additionally you will need:-
- evidence of previous registration e.g. foreign certificate of registration, a certificate of permanent exportation or a certificate of de-registration in the case of a vehicle imported from outside the EU, as appropriate, if the car has been previously registered.(A Vehicle Salvage Certificate cannot be used to register a vehicle). If the car has not been previously registered a Certificate of Conformity is required.
- the purchase invoice
- documentation verifying the registered owner's name and address (Utility Bill, Bank Statement)
- the Personal Public Service Number (PPSN) of the person in whose name the vehicle shall be registered. Documentary evidence of the PPSN will be required. This includes a payslip, P60 or any documentation issued by Revenue which includes your PPSN, name and address. Where an authorised trader (TAN Holder) is registering a vehicle on behalf of a customer, they should give their Revenue Customer Number (i.e. VAT or CT number) in place of the PPSN of the person in whose name the vehicle is being registered.
- for imported vehicles, where the invoice is dated more than 30 days earlier than the date the vehicle is presented for registration, documentation to confirm the date of arrival of the vehicle in the State (e.g. storage or shipping details as appropriate)
- where an exemption from VRT is claimed, the exemption notification issued by Revenue
- documentation confirming the level of CO2 emissions of the vehicle at the time of manufacture
Documents 1 - 4 above are compulsory and the vehicle will not be registered unless they are all presented with the vehicle at registration.
The requirement of a road worthiness test is determined by the Road Safety Authority (RSA). Full details of these requirements can be found on the RSA website.
Dependent on the age of the vehicle, it may be called for a road worthiness test shortly after registration.
The registration certificate, issued by the Department of Transport , will be posted to you after you have applied to your local authority motor tax office for your motor tax licence.
EU Directives require that motor vehicles intended for the carriage of goods or passengers must be approved for use on the roads. Before a model can be approved for use on the roads, it must comply with certain mandatory technical requirements. These requirements mean that the vehicle must, among other things, achieve minimum standards regarding braking, noise emissions and CO2 emissions etc. These standards are defined in various Type-Approval Directives and the tests themselves are carried out under the supervision of the national standards authorities in the Member States, in the case of Ireland, the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI). The standards for the various types of vehicles are defined in a range of Directives, the more important ones being -
- Directive 2007/46/EC for passenger vehicles
- Directive 2002/24/EC for motor-cycles
- Directive 2003/37/EC for agricultural vehicles.
When a manufacturer is granted type-approval for a particular vehicle model or variant, the manufacturer issues a certificate of conformity for each vehicle of that model manufactured in conformity with the standards for which it was approved. The certificate of conformity is, in effect, a statement by the manufacturer that the vehicle conforms to the relevant EU type-approval regulations.
All new vehicles of EU vehicle categories M1 (excluding special purpose vehicles), M2, M3 and N1 now require European Community Whole Vehicle Type-Approval ECWVTA, or national type-approval in order to be registered in Ireland. EU vehicle category M1 is defined as "Vehicles designed and constructed for the carriage of passengers and comprising no more than eight seats in addition to the driver's seat".
If an individual imports a Category M1, M2, M3 or N1 vehicle that does not have Type-Approval, e.g. one from outside the EU, the car must be presented to the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) for certification before registration can take place.
Additional details relating to the regulations and requirements are available on the Road Safety Authority website at: European Community Whole Vehicle Type-Approval (ECWVTA) and related National Approval Schemes as proposed in Directive 2007/46/EC.
Further details about the NSAI including contact details can be obtained on their website: www.nsai.ie .
The Certificate of Conformity confirms the specific level of CO2 emissions for a vehicle at the date of manufacture. This is the level that will be used for taxation purposes and will not change regardless of post-production modifications that might be made, modifications that might either increase or decrease the levels of emissions of the vehicle. Additionally a labeling system, showing the CO2 emissions of new cars on sale in the State, has been introduced.
I can put a filter on my car to reduce the CO2 emissions. Does this mean I can get a reduction in VRT?
No. The level of CO2 emissions measured at manufacture and contained on the certificate of conformity dictates the rate of VRT charged on registration. Subsequent changes will not impact on the VRT charged.
The invoice confirming the date the vehicle was purchased is required as it provides an indication as to when the vehicle entered the State which is relevant for the calculation of VRT and VAT. If you have transit documents (e.g. shipping docket/receipt) relating to a vehicle acquired (e.g. in the UK), you should present them at the time of registration.
You will need an invoice showing the date of purchase in order to register the vehicle. If you have bought the vehicle privately, you will still need an invoice showing details of the seller and the date on which it was sold to you.
If you can't prove when you brought the car into the country, then the VRT will be charged from the date of the invoice, the date of change of ownership from the foreign certificate of registration, or the date of the certificate of permanent exportation, etc. as appropriate.
Yes. You must present photographic ID i.e. your passport or driving licence. Additionally, you must also present
- a recent utility bill containing your present address, and
- an official Government document (e.g. P60) confirming your personal public service (PPS) number.
The requirement to present ID at the NCTS centre ensures that the person presenting a vehicle for registration is accountable for the vehicle. It also ensures that the registration details and ownership details for the national fleet of vehicles are as accurate as possible at the time of first registration in the State.
Yes. The person presenting the vehicle on your behalf will be required to produce their passport or driving licence to prove their identity. They will also need documentation confirming your identity as the registered owner. Additionally they will need to present a letter of consent signed by you, requesting registration on your behalf.
If the full range of documents required is not presented at registration or if the documentation presented with a vehicle is insufficient to confirm its identity, the person presenting the vehicle for registration will be given the opportunity to present the required documentation at a later date. However, registration of the vehicle must still be completed within 30 days of the vehicle entering the State. It should be noted that if a second visit to an NCT centre as a result of incorrect or missing documentation is required, you shall have to pay for this second visit.
If the vehicle does not meet the definition of a 'mechanically propelled vehicle' provided for in VRT legislation, or if you are unable to provide the required documentation, the vehicle cannot be registered and must be removed from the State.
Once the vehicle has been registered at an NCTS centre, a receipt, which specifies the registration number allocated, is supplied. The new registration number must be displayed on the vehicle in the prescribed format within three days. Plates may be acquired at most motor factors around the country.
The format, dimensions and technical specifications of registration plates that are to be displayed on vehicles registered in the State are laid down in VRT law. Details relating to the prescribed format of registration plates are available in information leaflet Format of Registration Plates.
I see people with different types/styles of registration plates. Can I replace my regular plates with ones like that?
No. It is illegal to display plates on a vehicle, other than in the prescribed format. The display of non-conforming plates on your vehicle is an offence and may incur a penalty of €5,000.
On the payment of €1,000, you may make an application to Revenue for a particular registration number for the following year. It should be noted that this application must be made to the Central Vehicle Office in Rosslare, Co. Wexford on or after 1st November in the year before it is intended to first bring the vehicle into use. If your application is not successful, your payment of €1,000 will be refunded to you. (Please see Leaflet Reserve a Registration Number).
No. Registration plates on vehicles registered in the State must comply with the regulations set down in VRT law.
No. However, you do have a choice regarding the type of plate you may display on your vehicle. You may avail of the special "ZV" series of registration numbers that is available for vintage cars (i.e. cars that are more than 30 years old). A typical registration plate in this series would be ZV 4723.
Or, you may decide to opt for a regular formatted plate bearing the year of first entry into service of the vehicle. A typical plate under this option would be 70-D-14770.
There is no additional cost for either option.
VAT is payable in the State on registration where a vehicle is less than 6 months old or has less than 6,000 kilometres on the clock at the time of registration. However, in these circumstances, any VAT paid in the UK may be refunded on application to the appropriate UK VAT authority.
For VRT purposes, vehicles may be rated as good, fair or poor. In general, most vehicles are rated as good. A fair or poor rating may affect the vehicle valuation for the purposes of calculating the VRT that is due.
Mileage that is considerably higher than accepted "norms" might reduce the VRT that is due on the vehicle. The normal average monthly mileage assumed by the Revenue Commissioners is 2,100 Km for diesel vehicles and 1,600 Km for all other vehicles.
No. There are no circumstances in which you do not have to register your vehicle. However there are situations where you may not have to pay VRT on registration because there are a number of allowable reliefs and exemptions from VRT. These are described in individual public notices available elsewhere on this site. They include exemption, which may apply in the case of:
- temporary exemption
- transfer of residence
- transfer of business activity
- diplomatic relief
Relief is also available for certain persons with disabilities who meet specified medical criteria. An information booklet Drivers and Passengers with Disabilities - Tax Relief Scheme(PDF, 379KB) is available from the Central Repayments Office, M: TEK II Building, Armagh Road, Monaghan - Telephone 047 - 62100.
VRT law provides for a limited relief from the payment of the tax in certain specified circumstances. Examples of such circumstances are-
- an EC Member State resident living/working in Ireland is entitled to bring their unregistered vehicle into Ireland for a maximum period of 12 months (which may be extended on application to the Revenue Commissioners),
- a State resident employed by an employer based outside the State (e.g. Northern Ireland) may, on application to Revenue, be entitled to drive (in the State) a foreign registered company vehicle provided as part of a contract of employment,
- tourists are entitled to drive their vehicles here without incurring any VRT liability.
Further information on temporary exemption is available in the information leaflet: Temporary Exemptions for Foreign Registered Vehicles.
You may qualify for exemption under the transfer of residence exemption provisions. You should check the Transfer of Residence and Transfer of Residence (Duty-Free Vehicles) to see if you meet the qualifying criteria.
Yes. Under normal circumstances you do. However, if you live in the Republic of Ireland (State resident), and are employed by an employer based outside the State (e.g. in Northern Ireland) who provides you with a category A (passenger vehicle) company car that is registered in Northern Ireland as part of your contract of employment, you may, under certain circumstances (on application to Revenue), be eligible for a temporary exemption from the payment of VRT. As part of the qualifying criteria, the vehicle must be used for business purposes principally outside the State.
Further information on temporary exemption is available in the information leaflet: Temporary Exemptions for Foreign Registered Vehicles.
Normal residence means the place where a person usually lives for at least 185 days in each year because of personal or occupational ties. However, if a person's occupational ties are in a different country from his/her personal ties, then the country of personal ties is taken as the normal residence, provided the person returns there regularly.
A person who is normally resident in the State, but who lives outside the State primarily for the purpose of attending a school or university, is regarded as a State resident.
When you have inherited a vehicle from the estate of a foreign resident, you may, on application to Revenue, be entitled to permanent relief from the payment of VRT.
When I buy a new car from a dealer, I am not asked to pay VRT. Why is this? Is there no VRT on new cars?
When you purchase a new car from an authorised dealer, the car will be delivered to you with VRT and VAT already paid. Authorised dealers register your new vehicle for VRT purposes and pay VAT on your behalf. So, the total price you pay for the vehicle includes VRT and VAT.
Most quads are not manufactured for use on the road and accordingly cannot be registered in the State. However, quads that have been manufactured for use on the road that have an accompanying Certificate of Conformity may be registered and subsequently used on the road.
A person, e.g. a tourist in the country on a temporary basis, is entitled to drive here without any VRT liability. However, there are some non-compliant State residents who are driving unregistered vehicles in the State contrary to VRT law. Should you have any specific information relating to abuses of VRT law, you may pass this information to your local Revenue Office where it will be acted on by Revenue officials.
Yes, in certain circumstances. Please see full details outlined in the Export Repayment Scheme section of the website.
In limited circumstances - Yes. Where a new vehicle is registered in the State, but is subsequently written off in a crash within 7 working days of registration, an application for a refund of VRT will be considered by Revenue.
VAT is due on a new vehicle brought into the State, (or in VAT terms, a new means of transport) which meets either one of the two criteria following:
- It is supplied six months or less after the date of its first entry into service.
- It has travelled 6,000 kilometres or less at the time of registration.
If the vehicle meets either of these criteria the vehicle is treated as a new means of transport for VAT purposes and VAT is chargeable at registration.
Note: In this context "entry into service" means registration in another jurisdiction. If not previously registered - the vehicle is considered new.
- Vehicle 5 months old with 8,000km - chargeable to VAT
- Vehicle 7 months old with 5,000km - chargeable to VAT
- Vehicle 7 months old with 8,000km - not chargeable to VAT
A Category A vehicle is a car (e.g. saloon, estate, hatchback, convertible, coupe, MPV, Jeep etc.) or a minibus with less than 10 seats including the driver's seat. In EU terms, a vehicle of classification M1 is generally a Category A vehicle.
The rate of tax chargeable is based on the level of CO2 emissions for the vehicle at the time of manufacture. The rates and associated minimum amounts are:
|CO2 Emissions (CO2g/km)||VRT Rates||Minimum VRT|
|0 - 80g||14% of OMSP||€280|
|More than 80g/km up to and including100g/km||15% of OMSP||€300|
|More than 100g/km up to and including 110g/km||16% of OMSP||€320|
|More than 110g/km up to and including 120g/km||17% of OMSP||€340|
|More than 120g/km up to and including 130g/km||18% of OMSP||€360|
|More than 130g/km up to and including 140g/km||19% of OMSP||€380|
|More than 140g/km up to and including 155g/km||23% of OMSP||€460|
|More than 155g/km up to and including 170g/km||27% of OMSP||€540|
|More than 170g/km up to and including 190g/km||30% of OMSP||€600|
|More than 190g/km up to and including 225g/km||34% of OMSP||€680|
|More than 225g/km||36% of OMSP||€720|
A Category B vehicle is a certain type of a car-derived van or a jeep-derived van. In EU terms, a vehicle of classification N1 is generally a Category B vehicle.
The rate of VRT applicable to Category B vehicles, subject to a minimum VRT of €125, is 13.3% of the Open Market Selling Price (OMSP).
A Category C vehicle is a commercial vehicle, an agricultural tractor or a bus with a minimum of 10 seats including the driver’s seat. In EU terms, Category C vehicles include N2 vehicles (over 3.5 tonnes and under 12 tonnes in weight), N3 vehicles (over 12 tonnes in weight), M2 vehicles (under 5 tonnes in weight, with a minimum of 10 seats including the driver’s seat) and M3 vehicles (over 5 tonnes in weight, with a minimum of 10 seats including the driver’s seat).
Category C vehicles also include vehicles which are shown to the satisfaction of Revenue to be more than 30 years old at the time of registration. These vehicles, on request, can be issued with a "ZV" licence number.
Details in relation to the prescribed format of registration plates are available in the information leaflet Format of Registration Plates.
As and from 1 May 2011, vehicle registration tax on the registration of Category C vehicles is €200
A special purpose vehicle such as an ambulance, a fire engine or a vehicle used in the transportation of road construction machinery. The use to which a vehicle is put is also considered when a vehicle is being classified for VRT purposes as Category D.
There is 0% of VRT payable on a Category D vehicle.
A Category M vehicle is a motor-cycle, a scooter or certain All Terrain Vehicles (ATV). In EU terms vehicles of classification L1 to L7 are generally Category M vehicles.
VRT is charged by reference to the cubic capacity i.e. cubic centimetres (cc) of the engine. The current rates are €2 in respect of each cc up to 350 and €1 for each cc thereafter. The total amount is then reduced by prescribed percentages in accordance with the following table to take account of the age of the vehicle.
|> 3 months and < or equal to 1 year||10%|
|> 1 year and < or equal to 2 years||20%|
|> 2 years and < or equal to 3 years||40%|
|> 3 years and < or equal to 4 years||50%|
|> 4 years and < or equal to 5 years||60%|
|> 5 years and < or equal to 7 years||70%|
|> 7 years and < or equal to 10 years||80%|
|> 10 years and < or equal to 30 years||90%|
|> 30 years||100%|
There is no VRT payable on an electric motor-cycle.
It is a vehicle designed and constructed for the carriage of passengers with less than 10 seats including the driver's seat.
It is a vehicle designed and constructed for the carriage of passengers, comprising a minimum of 10 seats including the driver’s seat, and having a maximum mass not exceeding 5 tonnes.
It is a vehicle designed and constructed for the carriage of passengers, comprising a minimum of 10 seats including the driver's seat, and having a maximum mass exceeding 5 tonnes.
It is a vehicle designed and constructed for the carriage of goods and having a maximum mass not exceeding 3.5 tonnes.
It is a vehicle designed and constructed for the carriage of goods and having a maximum mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes but not exceeding 12 tonnes.
It is a vehicle designed and constructed for the carriage of goods and having a maximum mass exceeding 12 tonnes.
It is a two wheeled moped, having a maximum speed of 45km/h, maximum internal combustion engine capacity of 50cm3 or a maximum electric motor power of 4kW.
It is a three wheeled moped, having a maximum speed of 45km/h, maximum spark ignition internal combustion engine capacity 50cm3 or maximum power of any other internal combustion engine of 4kW or maximum electric motor power of 4kW.
It is a two wheeled motorcycle, without a sidecar with an internal combustion engine capacity greater than 50cm3 and/or a maximum speed greater than 45km/h.
It is a two wheeled motorcycle, with a sidecar with an internal combustion engine capacity greater than 50cm3 and/or a maximum speed greater than 45km/h.
It is a three wheeled Tricycle with wheels symmetrically arranged with an internal combustion engine capacity greater than 50cm3 and/or a maximum speed greater than 45km/h.
It is a light quadricycle with a maximum unladen mass of 350kg (not including the mass of the batteries in an electrically powered vehicle), a maximum speed of 45km/h, a maximum spark ignition internal combustion engine capacity of 50cm3, or maximum power of any other internal combustion engine of 4kW or maximum electric motor power of 4kW.
It is a heavy quadricycle, with a maximum unladen mass of 400kg or 550kg for a goods carrying vehicle (not including the mass of the batteries in an electrically powered vehicle) and a maximum net power, whatever the type of engine or motor, of 15kW.
It is a wheeled tractor with a maximum design speed of not more than 40 km/h, with the closest axle to the driver(1) having a minimum track width of not less than 1150 mm, with an unladen mass, in running order, of more than 600 kg, and with a ground clearance of not more than 1000 mm.
It is a wheeled tractor with a maximum design speed of not more than 40 km/h, with a minimum track width of less than 1150 mm, with an unladen mass, in running order, of more than 600 kg and with a ground clearance of not more than 600 mm. However, where the height of the centre of gravity of the tractor(2) (measured in relation to the ground) divided by the average minimum track for each axle exceeds 0,90, the maximum design speed is restricted to 30 km/h.
It is a wheeled tractor with a maximum design speed of not more than 40 km/h, and with an unladen mass, in running order, of not more than 600 kg.
It is special purpose wheeled tractors with a maximum design speed of not more than 40 km/h
It is a wheeled tractor with a maximum design speed of more than 40 km/h.
To be deemed a motor caravan/motor home, a vehicle must be a Category M1, M2 or M3 vehicle (EU vehicle classification with an EU Body Work of SA) and must be constructed to include living accommodation which contains at least the following equipment:
- seats and table,
- sleeping accommodation which may be converted from the seats,
- cooking facilities, and
- storage facilities.
It should be noted that this equipment must be rigidly fixed to the living compartment, however, the table may be designed to be easily removable.
Motor caravans/motor homes registered on or after 1 January 2011, will be charged VRT at 13.3% of the open market selling price of the vehicle at the time of registration.
An electric vehicle is a series production vehicle that derives its motive power exclusively from an electric motor.
Yes. Category A or Category B vehicles, which are shown to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners to be series production (i.e. originally manufactured) models of electric vehicles registered during the period 1 January 2011 to 30 April 2011 are exempt from VRT.
Such vehicles registered during the period 1 May 2011 to 31 December 2013 are eligible for relief up to a maximum amount of €5,000. Accordingly, for example, where VRT in the amount of €5,750 is payable on the registration of a qualifying electric vehicle during this period, VRT in the amount of €750 (i.e. €5,750 - €5,000) will be due at the time of registration.
Electric motorcycles are exempt from VRT until 31 December 2013.
Yes. Hybrid electric vehicles and flexible fuel vehicles registered during the period 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013 may qualify for a remission/repayment of up to a maximum of €1,500. The vehicles must be series-production (i.e. originally manufactured) vehicles. The repayment/remission is on a sliding scale depending on the age of the vehicle (please see Table 1 below).
Series-production (i.e. originally manufactured) plug-in hybrid electric vehicles registered during the period 1 January 2013 to 31 Decmber 2013 may qualify for a remission/repayment of up to a maximum of €2,500 on a sliding scale depending on the age of the vehicle (please see Table 2 below).
Table 1 - Hybrid Electric Vehicles & Flexible Fuel Vehicles registered during the period 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013
|Age of hybrid electric or flexible fuel vehicle||Maximum amount which may
be remitted or repaid
|New vehicle, first registration||€1,500|
|Not a new vehicle but less than 2 years||€1,350|
|2 years or over but less than 3 years||€1,200|
|3 years or over but less than 4 years||€1,050|
|4 years or over but less than 5 years||€900|
|5 years or over but less than 6 years||€750|
|6 years or over but less than 7 years||€600|
|7 years or over but less than 8 years||€450|
|8 years or over but less than 9 years||€300|
|9 years or over but less than 10 years||€150|
|10 years or over||Nil|
Table 2 - Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles registered during the period 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013
|Age of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle||Maximum amount which may
be remitted or repaid
|New vehicle, first registration||€2,500|
|Not a new vehicle but less than 2 years||€2,250|
|2 years or over but less than 3 years||€2,000|
|3 years or over but less than 4 years||€1,750|
|4 years or over but less than 5 years||€1,500|
|5 years or over but less than 6 years||€1,250|
|6 years or over but less than 7 years||€1,000|
|7 years or over but less than 8 years||€750|
|8 years or over but less than 9 years||€500|
|9 years or over but less than 10 years||€250|
|10 years or over||Nil|
A hybrid electric vehicle is a vehicle that derives its motor power from a combination of an internal combustion engine and an electric motor and is capable of being driven on electric propulsion alone for a material part of its normal driving cycle.
A flexible fuel vehicle is a vehicle that derives its motive power from an internal combustion engine that is capable of using a blend of ethanol and petrol, where such blend contains a minimum of 85% ethanol.
A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is a series production vehicle that derives its motive power from a combination of an electric motor and an internal combustion engine, where the electric motor derives its power from a battery that may be charged from the internal combustion engine and an alternating current (AC) electric mains supply and is capable of being driven on electric propulsion alone for a material part of its normal driving cycle.
I am importing a vehicle from another country that has previously been registered in Ireland. Do I have to re-register the vehicle?
A vehicle previously registered in the State and exported prior to the introduction of the Export Repayment Scheme on 8th April 2013, may not be liable to pay VRT. The previous Irish registration number may be reused, provided that the vehicle classification has not changed since its first registration in the State. The Motor Tax office should be contacted in these cases.
Please see FAQ below regarding vehicles exported under the Export Repayment Scheme.
I am importing a vehicle from another country which had been previously permanently exported from the State under the Export Repayment Scheme. Do I have to re-register the vehicle?
A vehicle previously registered in the State and permanently exported under the Export Repayment Scheme would have received a VRT refund.
Such a vehicle is unregistered in the State and must be presented at an NCTS Centre for registration within the normal timeframe. VRT will be payable at the time of registration and a new Irish registration number will be issued. It will not be possible to have the vehicle motor taxed without receiving the new registration number, as the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport will have been informed that it has previously been permanently exported.
It is an offence under Section 131(6) of the Finance Act of 1992, subject to penalties under Section 139 of the Finance Act of 1992 (as amended), to display the original number on such a vehicle.
Last Updated: September 2013