Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT)

General information on registration

When purchasing a new vehicle, the motor dealer will register it at the point of sale. The dealer will pay the Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) and Value Added Tax (VAT) to Revenue. Therefore, the total price you pay for the car includes the VRT and VAT.  Dealers will also supply registration plates.

In all other cases, you must register your vehicle at a National Car Testing Service centre (NCTS). At the NCTS centre the vehicle will be inspected and the tax payable calculated by the operator. After you have paid the relevant tax due, a registration number will be issued to you.

Motor tax

Only when the vehicle has been successfully registered can it then be motor taxed and a registration certificate issued. See motor tax for further information.

Foreign Registration Certificates (FRCs)

Most used cars imported into the State are bought in the United Kingdom (UK). It is essential that you get the UK registration certificate, the V5C, when you are buying your vehicle. Failure to present the relevant FRC will lead to registration being refused.  

There is a 30-day time limit to register vehicles in the State. Customers must ensure they have all required documents at the time of inspection. Registrations started after the 30-day limit will incur additional charges.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions

The VRT charge on cars is calculated using CO2 emissions. The higher your car’s COemissions, the more VRT payable.

Since 1 April 2020 V5C’s have only shown World Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) CO2 emissions.  WLTP emissions are usually a little higher than the New European Drive Cycle (NEDC) emissions. Prior to 1 April 2020, the V5C declared the older NEDC tested emissions.

When presenting your vehicle for registration, the WLTP figure on the V5C will be used to calculate the tax. 

From 1 January 2021 all registrations will be based on WLTP

The level of CO2 emissions must be confirmed by you as part of the registration inspection. Apart from the VRT calculator, Revenue will accept CO2 emissions information provided it is listed among the following sources:

Some older cars will show the level of CO2 emissions in the owner's manual. Revenue has CO2 emissions details of over 12,000 models available on the VRT calculator. Customers should note that this only represents a sample of popular models. 

For third country imports the following documents are acceptable:

  • the previous registration certificate
  • or
  • the Certificate of Conformity.

Nitrogen Oxide (NOx emissions)

From 2020, the VRT charge on Category A vehicles will be updated to include a NOx emissions charge. Further information on this can be found in Nitrogen Oxide emissions.

Customers should note that V5C’s issued after April 2019 will not have a NOx value. These should be supplemented with a Certificate of Conformity.

If registering a used vehicle from Japan, please bring:

When researching the CO2 for the particular vehicle the vehicle description and weight must match what is on the Export Certificate to ensure the correct CO2 has been applied.

Documentation other than those outlined above may not be accepted. Levels of CO2 emissions and NOx emission will be verified by Revenue.

Documentary evidence must be accompanied by certified English translations.


Where evidence of CO2 and NOx emissions of the vehicle at the time of manufacture is not available at registration, VRT will be charged at the highest applicable rates.

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