Frequently Asked Questions on Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT)

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General VRT

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VRT Registration Process

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VRT Rates and Amounts

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VAT Liability

CO2

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Revenue Vehicle Categories, EU Vehicle Classification and Type Approval

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Importing a vehicle (incl. Japanese imports)

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VRT Export Repayment Scheme

Appeals and Exemptions

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Tax Relief for Vehicles Purchased for use by People with Disabilities

Electric, Hybrid and Flexible Fuel Vehicles

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Registration Plates

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General VRT

What is VRT?

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.

I thought VRT was illegal under EU law?

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.

How is VRT calculated?

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.

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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, pdfValuation System for New and Used Vehicles (PDF, 474KB).

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:-

  1. 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.
  2. 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 ).
  3. Calculate the ratio between the UK sales price and the retail price in the Irish Car Sales Guide for each of these models.
  4. Calculate the average ratio for the four models.
  5. 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 pdfVRT Estimate form (PDF, 165KB), is available to help in this particular process.

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.

I bought a car recently and wrote it off in a crash. Can I claim the VRT back?

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.

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VRT Registration Process

What is the correct registration process?

A vehicle imported into the State, must be presented for registration at an NCTS Centre. The appointment to register at the NCTS Centre must be made within 7 days of entry into the State, and the vehicle must be registered within 30 days of entry into the State. All of the required documentation must be presented at the time of the appointment in order to register the vehicle successfully. VRT will ordinarily be charged at the time of registration, although there are reliefs and exemptions from VRT available.

Full details of the process to register a vehicle, including all documents required and the rates of VRT, can be found in the Guide to VRT section.

What happens if I don't register my vehicle?

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.

What happens if I forget to register within the 30-day limit?

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.

I thought I had to register at a Revenue Office - Why an NCTS centre?

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.

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What happens if I don’t have the foreign vehicle registration certificate when I try to register at an NCTS centre?

The appropriate vehicle registration certificate, vehicle export certificate or EU Certificate of Conformity, as outlined in the Guide to VRT, must be presented at the time of vehicle registration at the NCTS Centre. Without the correct documentation, the vehicle will not be registered.

If there is a delay in obtaining the correct documentation, this may result in the vehicle exceeding the 30 day requirement to have the vehicle registered once it has entered the State.

Where a vehicle is in the State for more than 30 days without being registered, an additional VRT Charge will apply upon registration as outlined in Section 132 (3A) of the Finance Act of 1992 (as amended) This additional charge is calculated from the date of first entry of the vehicle into the State.

People purchasing vehicles from the UK should view the UK Government webpage regarding UK Vehicle Registration Certificates (V5) and the permanent export of vehicles from the UK: Taking a vehicle out of the UKExternal link

When do I get my Irish Registration Certificate?

The registration certificate, issued by the Department of Transport External link , will be posted to you after you have applied to your local authority motor tax office for your motor tax licence.

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Why do I need a purchase invoice when registering a car?

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.

I bought privately and don't have an invoice.

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.

I can't prove the date I brought the car into the country. What happens next?

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.

Do I need to provide personal identification at the NCTS centre in order to register a vehicle?

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.

Why do I need ID?

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.

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If I can't bring my car to the NCTS Centre, can I ask someone else to bring it for me?

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.

What happens if the car fails the examination?

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.

Will my vehicle require a NCT Roadworthiness test after I register it?

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. External link

Dependent on the age of the vehicle, it may be called for a road worthiness test shortly after registration.

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.

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VRT Rates and Amounts

What rate of VRT will I pay?

The rate of VRT payable will depend on the Revenue Category of the vehicle.

  • Revenue Category A vehicles are charged based on their CO2 emissions.
  • Revenue Category B vehicles are charged a flat rate of 13.3%.
  • Revenue Category C vehicles are charged €200.
  • Revenue Category D vehicles are charged a flat rate of 0%.
  • Revenue Category M vehicles are charged based on their engine capacity.

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.

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What impact does the condition of the car have on VRT?

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.

Why is the mileage required?

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.

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VAT Liability

When is VAT due on a vehicle?

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.

Examples

  • 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

I bought a car in the UK and paid VAT there. Now I am asked to pay VAT in Ireland. Why?

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.

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CO2

What exactly is CO2?

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.

How will the CO2 based VRT system affect me if I want to buy a second-hand car?

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.

If Revenue has the CO2 emissions information on its web site why must I provide it?

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:

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.

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What happens if I buy a second-hand Japanese import? Will I be taxed based on the CO2?

Yes, the new CO2 basis will be used for all cars first registered in Ireland from 1 July 2008 onwards.

How do I find out the CO2 rating for a Japanese import?

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 External link. 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.

Will my motor tax be affected by the new CO2 emissions from my car?

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 External link website. The Motor Tax rates are determined by the CO2 levels of the vehicle declared to and accepted by Revenue at registration.

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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:

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.

How do I know how much CO2 my car emits?

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.

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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.

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.

Metric Calculations:

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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.

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Revenue Vehicle Categories, EU Vehicle Classification and Type Approval

What are the Revenue Vehicle Categories?

There are 5 Revenue Vehicle Categories:Revised Vehicle Classification for VRT Purposes

  • Revenue Category A - Passenger Vehicles
  • Revenue Category B - Light Commercial Vehicles
  • Revenue Category C - Heavy Commercial Vehicles
  • Revenue Category D - VRT Exempt vehicles (incl. ambulances, fire engines)
  • Revenue Category M - Motor-cycles (incl. tri-cycles and quadricycles)

Full details of Revenue Categories can be found in the Guide to VRT section.

What is the revised vehicle classification system for VRT purposes from 1 January 2011?

Full details of EU Vehicle Classification and Type Approval can be found in the Guide to VRT section.

What is a Motor Caravan/Motor Home?

To be deemed a motor caravan/motor home, a vehicle must be a special purpose Category M vehicle (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.

This equipment must be rigidly fixed to the living compartment; however, the table may be designed to be easily removable.

Please see full details outlined in the Vehicle Conversions section of the website.

What is an Ambulance?

"Ambulance" is defined in EU Commission Regulation Number 678/2011, Annex I, part A, Section 5.3, as follows:

Ambulance (EU bodywork type "SC")

A vehicle of category M intended for the transport of sick or injured persons and having special equipment for such purpose. The patient compartment shall comply with the technical requirements of Standard EN 1789:2007 on "Medical vehicles and their equipment – Road ambulances" with the exception of Section 6.5 "List of equipment".

CEN 1789: 2007 is the European Standard for ambulances. This specifies the design, testing, performance and equipping of road ambulances. This standard is applicable to vehicles capable of transporting at least one person on a stretcher.

Please see full details outlined in the Vehicle Conversions section of the website.

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Importing a vehicle (incl. Japanese imports)

What happens if my Japanese import car is pre 2003?

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.

What happens if I want to import a second-hand car from other non-EU countries?

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.

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.

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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.

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VRT Export Repayment Scheme

I am emigrating to the UK and bringing my car with me. Can I claim the VRT back?

Yes, in certain circumstances. Please see full details outlined in the Export Repayment Scheme section of the website.

Appeals and Exemptions

What Reliefs and Exemptions are available in respect of VRT?

All available Reliefs and Exemptions are listed with further details in the ‘Reliefs and Exemptions’ section of the website.

Can I appeal Revenue's Valuation of the vehicle?

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.

I think my vehicle is exempt from VRT - what do I do?

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
  • Inheritance
  • Diplomatic
  • Vehicles for People with Disabilities

Is there any occasion in which I (a state resident) don't have to register my vehicle?

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:

  • Transfer of Residence
  • transfer of business activity
  • inheritance
  • diplomatic relief

Relief is also available for certain persons with disabilities who meet specified medical criteria. An information booklet pdfDrivers and Passengers with Disabilities - Tax Relief Scheme(PDF, 384KB) is available from the Central Repayments Office, M: TEK II Building, Armagh Road, Monaghan - Telephone 047 - 62100.

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What is a 'temporary exemption'?

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.

I have just returned to Ireland after a year abroad. Is my car exempt from VRT?

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.

I regularly work in Belfast. Do I need to register my car here?

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.

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How do I know if I am a 'normal resident' in Ireland?

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.

My aunt who lived in England died and left me her car. Do I have to pay VRT?

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.

How come there are a lot of people driving around in foreign registered cars?

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.

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Tax Relief for Vehicles Purchased for use by People with Disabilities

Where do I find details of the VRT and VAT concessions that are available to Disabled Drivers, Passengers and Organisations?

The concessions are provided for in Statutory Instrument No. 353 of 1994. This legal instrument sets out the medical criteria, certification procedures and repayment limits for VRT and VAT. In certain circumstances, the tax can be "remitted" (i.e. at the time of registration) or "repaid" (i.e. where tax has already been paid). Details of the Scheme and how it operates are contained in pdfLeaflet VRT7 "Drivers and Passengers with Disabilities, Organisations, Tax Relief Scheme" (PDF, 384KB) - this leaflet should be consulted for more information.

What are the concessions available to Disabled Drivers?

Where a person has a Primary Medical Certificate they are entitled to a repayment or remission of VRT and VAT, subject to a limit of €9,525, where they have paid the tax and where the vehicle is suitably adapted. For the purposes of repayment, the vehicle must have been purchased from a Revenue "authorised person" (normally a motor dealer). For more detailed information, please consult pdfLeaflet VRT7 (PDF, 384KB).

What are the concessions available to Disabled Passengers?

Where a person has a Primary Medical Certificate, or is a family member of a person residing with or responsible for the transportation of a disabled person, they are entitled to a repayment or remission of VRT and VAT, subject to a limit of €15,875, where they have paid the tax and where the vehicle is suitably adapted. For the purposes of repayment, the vehicle must have been purchased from a Revenue "authorised person" (normally a motor dealer). For more detailed information, please consult pdfLeaflet VRT7 (PDF, 384KB).

What are the concessions available to Organisations?

Where an organisation is chiefly engaged, in a voluntary capacity on a non-commercial basis, in the care and transport of disabled persons and is funded up to a limit of 80% by the State, then it may qualify for repayment or remission of VRT and VAT subject to a limit of €15,875 in respect of a vehicle specially adapted for transport of passengers and €9,525 for a vehicle specially adapted for a driver. For the purposes of repayment, the vehicle must have been purchased from a Revenue "authorised person" (normally a motor dealer). For more detailed information, please consult pdfLeaflet VRT7 (PDF, 384KB)

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Electric, Hybrid and Flexible Fuel Vehicles

I hear that there is VRT relief on an electric vehicle. Is that true?

Yes. There are reliefs from VRT available for Hybrid Electric vehicles, and for Electric vehicles and Motorcycles. Full details of the available reductions of VRT for Electric and Hybrid Electric vehicles can be found in the Guide to VRT section.

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Registration Plates

When can I get my number plates?

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.

What is the prescribed format for number plates?

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.

I would like to reserve a number for next year. How do I do it?

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).

Can I use a personalised number like they do in the UK?

No. Registration plates on vehicles registered in the State must comply with the regulations set down in VRT law.

I just bought a used 'vintage' car in the UK. Can I keep the old number?

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.

July 2015

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