Guide to Vehicle Registration Tax

Vehicle Registration Tax is chargeable on the registration of motor vehicles (including motor-cycles) 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.

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Where do I Register?

The National Car Testing Service (NCTS) has been appointed by the Revenue Commissioners to carry out a range of vehicle registration functions on their behalf. From 1 September 2010, to register a vehicle, you must first book an appointment at an NCTS centre to have the vehicle examined and pay the VRT due (and other tax liabilities as appropriate). Details of the NCTS centres accepting appointments to register vehicles are available at www.ncts.ie/vrt.html External link

You can make an appointment through one of the following methods:

  • On-line: www.ncts.ie/vrt.html External link
  • Telephone number: 01 4135957
  • Write to the NCTS at:
    Vehicle Registration Tax Booking
    Lakedrive 3026,
    Citywest Business Campus,
    Naas Road,
    Dublin 24.

Please ensure you have the following to hand when making the booking as you will be asked for this information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Mobile Number
  • E-mail address
  • Type of Vehicle
  • Chassis Number/VIN number
  • Current Registration Number of Vehicle

Additional information in relation to booking a test is available on the NCTS website at www.ncts.ie/vrt.html External link

While there will be a charge for this service the charge will be credited against any VRT you will have to pay on completion of the registration process.

When must I Register?

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.htmlExternal link.

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 and reasons why the said documentation was not produced to the 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

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How do I register?

In order to register any vehicle, you must present proof of identity i.e. a Passport or a Driving Licence along with the vehicle and all the other required documentation. It is advisable that you should be able to locate the chassis/VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) number for the NCTS inspector when presenting the vehicle for inspection.

A used vehicle (for VRT purposes, this means a vehicle which has previously been registered or recorded on a permanent basis in the State or in another state, and has been acquired under general conditions of taxation) presented for registration must be accompanied by

  1. Evidence of previous registration e.g. foreign certificate of registration, a certificate of permanent exportation or a certificate of de-registration, as appropriate (this document will be retained by the NCTS Centre so please ensure you make a copy of it before you go to the test centre). Please see the Vehicle Registration Certificates details below, and in the ‘Before you purchase a car abroad’ section.
  2. A VRT Vehicle Purchase Declaration Form must be completed in respect of each vehicle being registered - see details at VRT 'Vehicle Purchase Details' Form.
  3. Invoice which must have the date of purchase/sale clearly indicated.
  4. Documentation verifying the registered owner’s name and address (Utility Bill, Bank Statement). The information leaflet Owner Name and Address Declarations provides additional information regarding owner's name and address details. Please note that a Television Licence is not acceptable as a Utility Bill.
  5. 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 P60 or any documentation issued by the Revenue Commissioners which include your PPS number, 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.
  6. For vehicles imported from Northern Ireland, where the invoice is dated more than 30 days earlier than the date the vehicle is presented for registration, details of where the vehicle was stored are required. For vehicles purchased elsewhere (including the UK), shipping details to confirm the date of arrival of the vehicle in the State are required. Where satisfactory evidence of the date the vehicle entered the State is not available, an additional charge may be raised by Revenue for the period from the invoice date to the date of registration.
  7. Where an exemption from VRT is claimed, the exemption notification issued by Revenue.
  8. Documentation (as approved by the Revenue Commissioners) confirming the level of CO2 emissions of the vehicle at the time of manufacture. Where evidence of the level of CO2 emissions of the vehicle at the time of manufacture is not available at registration - VRT will be charged at the highest rate applicable.

Documents 1 - 5 above are compulsory and the vehicle will not be registered unless they are all presented with the vehicle at registration.

A new vehicle (for VRT purposes, this means a vehicle which has not previously been registered or recorded on a permanent basis in the State or in another state, and has been acquired under general conditions of taxation) presented for registration must be accompanied by:

  1. European Community Whole Vehicle Type-Approval (ECWVTA) Certificate of Conformity or Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) or National Small Series Type-Approval (NSSTA). If the vehicle has been previously registered, evidence of previous registration e.g. foreign certificate of registration, a certificate of permanent exportation or a certificate of de-registration, as appropriate will be required. (This document will be retained by the NCTS Centre so please ensure you make a copy of it before you go to the test centre). Please see the Vehicle Registration Certificates details below, and in the ‘Before you purchase a car abroad’ section.
  2. A VRT Vehicle Purchase Declaration Form must be completed in respect of each vehicle being registered - see details at VRT 'Vehicle Purchase Details' Form.
  3. Invoice which must have the date of purchase/sale clearly indicated.
  4. Documentation verifying the registered owner’s name and address (Utility Bill, Bank Statement). The information leaflet Owner Name and Address Declarations provides additional information regarding owners name and address details. Please note that a Television Licence is not acceptable as a Utility Bill.
  5. 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 P60 or any documentation issued by the Revenue Commissioners which include your PPS number, 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.
  6. For vehicles imported from Northern Ireland, where the invoice is dated more than 30 days earlier than the date the vehicle is presented for registration, details of where the vehicle was stored are required. For vehicles purchased elsewhere (including the UK), shipping details to confirm the date of arrival of the vehicle in the State are required. Where satisfactory evidence of the date the vehicle entered the State is not available, an additional charge may be raised by Revenue for the period from the invoice date to the date of registration,
  7. Where an exemption from VRT is claimed, the exemption notification issued by Revenue.

Documents 1 – 5 above are compulsory and the vehicle will not be registered unless they are all presented with the vehicle at registration.

Where a vehicle is presented for registration by an individual other than the person declared as the registered owner, a letter of consent signed by the person requesting registration must be presented. The "individual/agent/motor dealer" representing the person requesting registration must also provide proof of identity i.e. a Passport or a Driving Licence.

The vehicle itself will be examined at the NCTS centre to ensure that it matches the various characteristics described in the accompanying documentation e.g. vehicle identification number (VIN), registration number (in the case of a previously registered vehicle), make, model and variant, engine size, number of doors etc. If the requisite documentation is not available at the time of the examination or the vehicle details do not match the documentation, the vehicle will not be registered.

When it has been established that the vehicle is eligible for registration you will be presented with a document containing the vehicle details which you will be asked to sign confirming that you wish to register the vehicle. Following confirmation, Revenue will assign a registration number to the vehicle and this will be issued to you by the NCTS on payment of the tax due.

Please note that a second visit to an NCTS centre as a result of incorrect or missing documentation will be at your own expense.

In all circumstances, the vehicle must be registered within 30 days of arrival in the State and the registration number affixed to the vehicle within three days of registration.

VRT 'Vehicle Purchase Details' Form

A pdfVRT 'Vehicle Purchase Details' Form (PDF, 188KB) must be completed in respect of each vehicle being presented at the NCTS for Registration. This applies to:

  • Authorised Persons
    • Registrations
    • Pre Registration Inspections
  • Non-Authorised Persons
    • Companies, Motor Dealers or Private Individuals - Registrations only

There are 2 versions of the form available:

Where the appropriate Form is not completed at the time of presentation of the vehicle for Registration at an NCTS Centre, the vehicle will not be registered.

Section 136 of the Finance Act of 1992 (as amended) provides that only a Revenue Authorised Trader with a Revenue issued TAN (Trader Account Number) may manufacture, distribute, deal in, deliver, store repair or modify unregistered vehicles and to convert registered vehicles. It is an offence under Section 139(3) to do so if not Authorised, and is liable to a penalty on summary conviction of €5,000.

Foreign Vehicle Registration Certificates

The appropriate vehicle registration certificate, vehicle export certificate or EU Certificate of Conformity, as outlined above, 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).

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

How is tax calculated?

In the case of cars and small vans, 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. Based on the vehicle details forwarded to Revenue by the NCT centre following examination of the vehicle, Revenue will calculate this tax for you at the time of registration. You may be able to obtain an estimate of the VRT from the Vehicle Registration on-line Enquiry System. While Revenue maintains an accurate valuation for all vehicles on its database, because of the variety of makes, models and versions available, the vehicle presented for registration at an NCT centre may differ significantly from a similar one on Revenue’s database resulting in a significant difference in the VRT charged to the amount you expected.

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How can I pay?

The NCTS Centre will also collect the VRT charge (and other tax liabilities) on behalf of Revenue. You can pay this charge either by:

  • Cash (Up to €200)
  • Debit Card (Up to €2,500)
  • Bank Draft (payable to Applus Car Testing Service)
  • Credit Card (This method of payment incurs a 1.5% administration charge which is imposed by the NCTS centre)

Have I any recourse if I feel that I have been overcharged?

Yes. However, please note that the VRT charge is raised by Revenue and the staff at the NCTS centre will not be able to help you with any query relating to the VRT charge.

Therefore, having paid the amount demanded, you can appeal the charge with Revenue under the formal excise appeal procedure, details of which are set out in a separate information leaflet Appeal Procedures which you can also obtain at any Revenue Office. Please note that you will be required to enclose evidence, obtained at your own expense, to support your opinion of the chargeable value.

If you decide that you do not wish to register the vehicle, and pay the VRT due, you must ensure that the vehicle is taken out of the State immediately, but at the latest within 30 days of its initial entry into the State.

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When can I get my number plates?

When the VRT payment (and other outstanding liabilities) has been accepted by the NCTS, the registration number assigned to the vehicle by Revenue will be issued to you by the NCTS Centre. This registration number must be displayed in the prescribed format on the vehicle within three days of issue. Details relating to the prescribed format of registration plates are available in information leaflet Format of Registration Plates.

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What happens when I buy from a motor dealer?

The dealer is obliged to pay the VRT and register the vehicle before delivering it to you.

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When do I receive my vehicle registration certificate?

The registration certificate, issued by the Department of TransportExternal link, will be posted to you after you have paid motor tax to your local authority.

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Reliefs and exemptions

Various Reliefs and Exemptions from VRT are available in particular circumstances. They include Reliefs and Exemptions which may apply in the case of:

  • Transfer of Residence
  • Transfer of Business Activity
  • Inheritance
  • Diplomatic
  • Vehicles for People with Disabilities

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

If you think you are entitled to an exemption, you must first contact your local Revenue Office and apply for the exemption. The application accompanied by the relevant documentation will normally be processed within 10 working days and if approved, a letter confirming eligibility to the exemption will issue to you. You must bring this letter to the NCTS Centre when registering the vehicle to avail of the exemption.

An exemption will only be allowed on presentation of this letter at the NCTS centre. Where the exemption letter is not available at the time of registration (e.g. lost or misplaced) full VRT will be charged. This will be refunded on presentation of the letter to a Revenue office.

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What are the VRT categories and the appropriate current rates of VRT?

Each VRT Category is defined in detail in Section 130 of the Finance Act 1992, as amended. Further legal definitions in relation to VRT are contained in S.I. 318 of 1992.

VRT Category A

Category A vehicles include cars (saloons, estates, hatchbacks, convertibles, coupés, MPVs, Jeeps etc.) and minibuses with less than 10 permanently fitted seats including the driver's seat. 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 as follows:

VRT Rate on the CO2 emissions
CO2 Emissions (CO2g/km) Percentage payable of the value of the vehicle
0g/km up to and including 80g/km 14% or €280 whichever is the greater
More than 80g/km up to and including100g/km 15% or €300 whichever is the greater
More than 100g/km up to and including 110g/km 16% or €320 whichever is the greater
More than 110g/km up to and including 120g/km 17% or €340 whichever is the greater
More than 120g/km up to and including 130g/km 18% or €360 whichever is the greater
More than 130g/km up to and including 140g/km 19% or €380 whichever is the greater
More than 140g/km up to and including 155g/km 23% or €460 whichever is the greater
More than 155g/km up to and including 170g/km 27% or €540 whichever is the greater
More than 170g/km up to and including 190g/km 30% or €600 whichever is the greater
More than 190g/km up to and including 225g/km 34% or €680 whichever is the greater
More than 225g/km 36% or €720 whichever is the greater

VRT Category B

Category B vehicles include certain car-derived vans and jeep-derived vans.

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).

Motor Caravans/Motor Homes

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.

Please see Motor Caravan details in the Vehicle Conversions section for more details.

VRT Category C

Category C vehicles include larger commercial vehicles, agricultural tractors and buses 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 on and from 1 May 2011, vehicle registration tax on the registration of Category C vehicles increases from €50 to €200

VRT Category D

Examples of Category D vehicles include ambulances, fire engines, vehicles used exclusively for 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 a 0% VRT rate payable on a Category D vehicle.

Motor-cycles

Examples include motor-cycles, scooters, certain All Terrain Vehicles (ATV). VRT is charged by reference to the cubic capacity (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:

Reduction in VRT depending on age
Age VRT Reduction
> 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%

Repayment/Remission of VRT on Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Flexible Fuel Vehicles.

Hybrid electric vehicles registered during the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2014 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 2011 to 31 December 2014 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).

Flexible fuel vehicles registered during the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2013 may have qualified for a remission/repayment of up to a maximum of €1,500. This relief was ended on 31 December 2013.

Table 1 - Hybrid Electric Vehicles registered during the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2014

Maximum amount which may be remitted or repaid depending on the age of the vehicle
Age of hybrid electric 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 2011 to 31 December 2014

Maximum amount which may be remitted or repaid depending on the age of the vehicle
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

'hybrid electric vehicle' means 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.

'flexible fuel vehicle' means 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.

'plug-in hybrid electric vehicle' means 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.

Electric Vehicles including Electric Motorcycles

Category A or Category B electric 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 2014, 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, VRT in the amount of €750 (i.e. €5,750 – €5,000) will be due at the time of vehicle registration.

Electric motorcycles are exempt from VRT until 31 December 2014.

'electric vehicle' means a vehicle that derives its motive power exclusively from an electric motor.

'electric motorcycle' means a motor-cycle that derives its motive power exclusively from an electric motor.

What is a certificate of conformity and when is it required?

All new vehicles of EU vehicle categories M (passenger vehicles), N (commercial vehicles), L (2/3 wheel motorcycles and quads) and T (tractors), excluding special purpose vehicles and completed N2 and N3 vehicles, now require European Community Whole Vehicle Type-Approval ECWVTA, or national type-approval in order to be registered in Ireland. Further details of the EU Vehicle Categories may be found in the VRT FAQs.

Individuals purchasing a new vehicle outside the State (including Northern Ireland) must produce an ECWVTA Certificate of Conformity (CoC) or a national approval certificate (NSSTA or IVA) to the NCTS centre at the time of registration in order to have the vehicle registered. This Type-Approval certificate can only be obtained from the dealer or manufacturer from which the vehicle was purchased and should be obtained at the time of purchase.

If a vehicle does not have Type-Approval, it must be presented to the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) for certification before registration can take place.

Further details about the NSAI including contact details can be obtained on their website: www.nsai.ie External link.

Additional details relating to the new regulations and requirements are available on the Road Safety Authority web site at: European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) and related National Approval Schemes as proposed in Directive 2007/46/EC.External link

Further details about the RSA including contact details can be obtained on their website: www.rsa.ieExternal link.

From a Vehicle Registration Tax point of view, the Certificate of Conformity states that the vehicle at the date of manufacture has a specific level of CO2 emissions. For an EU Category M1 vehicle, 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.

It should be noted that in order to ensure correct application of the VRT legislation, Revenue may seek a Certificate of Conformity for other vehicles.

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When is VAT chargeable and payable?

For VAT purposes a new means of transport is a goods or passenger vehicle that meets either one of the following two criteria:

  • It is a new means of transport if it is a motor vehicle or motor-cycle (other than a tractor) supplied six months or less after the date of its first entry into service.
  • It is a new means of transport if it is a motor vehicle or motor-cycle (other than a tractor) that has travelled 6,000 kilometres or less at the time the vehicle is first presented for 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 new.

Example

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

Note: The date of the vehicle's first entry into service (registration date) determines the age of the vehicle for VAT purposes. The mileage is the odometer mileage when first presented for registration in the State.

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Means of Transport (new and used) imported from outside the fiscal territory of the EU

In the case of either new or used vehicles (means of transport in VAT terms) imported from outside the fiscal territory of the EU, VAT (and customs duty) is chargeable at importation in the normal way. Proof of payment of the VAT must be presented at the NCTS Centre when the vehicle is being registered in the State.

When is CCT chargeable and payable?

Customs Common Tariff (CCT) is chargeable on vehicles (both new and used) that are imported from outside the EU. It should be paid at the first point of entry of the vehicle into the EU. Proof of payment of the CCT must be presented at the NCTS Centre when the vehicle is being registered in the State.

Advice

Any delay in registering your vehicle or paying the tax may make you liable to substantial penalties including forfeiture of the vehicle and prosecution.

What do I need to register a converted/modified vehicle?

Please see the section Vehicle Conversions for further details.

November 2014

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