For those looking to save a few quid here is my difinitive guide to importing cars from the UK based on my own experiences.
Firstly here is the best information you can get: Revenue.ie - VRT
When you want to get a car from the UK there are a few rules to follow:
(1) You will have to pay VRT on any car coming into Ireland from any country unless over 30 years old.
(2) You will have to pay VAT on all cars coming from outside the EU, so always buy in the EU as an additional 21% will never bring it under the Irish price.
(3) You will have to pay VAT on all cars under 6 mths old or less than 6,000kms even if they are from within the EU.
When you are looking at the price of different cars in the UK (Autotrader.co.uk is the best site) it might seem like the prices are great. This can be true for some cars but others this is not the case.
Obviously, you will firstly have to convert the price into EURO using the most up to date rate that your bank will Sell GBP (This can be quite different from the daily exchange rates that you might see in the papers).
Then you will have to calculate the VRT. This can vary in a number of ways:
(1) The % of VRT is based on the engine size of the car. You can see the table using the above link.
(2) It is not based on the price you bought the car for but the Open Market Selling Price or OMSP. This is a value decided by the Revenue. In my experience these can be way off. Sometimes they are way above the retail value and sometimes they are less than the Trade value. Depends on the car. I've noticed that they will value an Audi at about trade or less but BMW's are above what you would expect to pay on a forecourt.
Procedure for Buying:
(1) Get a shortlist of cars that you are interested in knock off about 5% of the listed price for a cash discount. Should get more off but leave that as a nice surprise.
(2) Call your local VRO office (listed in the contact page on Revenue.ie) and ask for a VRT quote. They should be able to give you the amount straight away unless it is a high-end luxury car (over say €60,000). They will then need the chassis number and they will get their VRO Department in Rosslare to do up a valuation - usually 1 day.
(3) You will now have the cost of the car.
(4) Factor in expenses, usually about €1,000.
- RAC/AA inspection (has to be done!!!)
- HPI Check
(5) Contact the Dealer (never buy privately) you want to buy from and give them as many questions as you can think of. Tell them that you will be getting an inspection done so they may as well tell you everything now. If you are not 100% happy with all answers, walk away!!!!! Every Tom, Dick and Harry has a 'car dealership' in the UK, loads of guys operating out of their back gardens, so be wary. Don't bother getting a warranty from the dealer if the car is still covered by the manufacturer's warranty, in fact you should be able to get money off if you tell them you don't want it.
**EU law states that a manufacturer must stand over their warranty in every EU country regardless of which country the car was originally purchased so if something goes wrong you can go to your local dealership and you will be covered by the warranty. This does not cover Dealership warranties, only Manufacturer!!
(6) Once happy, you will have to pay a deposit, (by Credit Card) don't worry, once it’s by credit card you are covered from fraud. Make sure it is subject to the inspection not showing up anything that will change the overall value of the car from his decryption.
(7) Get inspection done. Make sure you get the expensive one. An engineer will call you to discuss the car and these guys do a great job. One time he even told me that there was a tiny dent the size of a 10P coin in one of the speakers in the back door. When I got the car it took me ages to find it. They do a really good job.
(8) Agree a date to travel over and get the Dealer to collect you from the closest Airport.
(9) Get a bank draft for the remaining GBP balance to pay the dealer.
(10) Call you insurance company and ask them to transfer your policy to the new car. They will only issue a temporary cover for a non-Irish reg that lasts for 1 month.
(11) You should have no trouble of making the journey in one day if you leave early in the morning you will be back in Dublin that night.
(12) Get a bank draft for the amount you were quoted when you got the VRT quote. Knock off about 10% from the draft and bring cash as some time will have passed and the amount they want will have gone down.
(13)With in 24hrs of arriving in Ireland you are required to present the car at the VRO. You will have to fill out a few forms and then they will have a look to see if you have honestly described the car. Don't worry about telling them about every extra, they don't seem to care as long as the Make, Model and Year as are you said. (So make sure that it’s fully loaded).
(14) They will then give you a document that will have your new Irish Reg on it. Go and get some plates done up and put them on the car.
(15) Get your insurance changed to the new reg.
(16) A few days later you will receive the Vehicle Registration Cert. This is not the same as the one that you usually have as it in only the initial cert. and is used to Tax a car for the first time only.
(17) Go to the Tax office and tax that puppy!
(18) In a few days you will have you proper Vehicle Registration Document.
In general, even with VRT, most cars are cheaper from the UK. Obviously, there more expensive the car the more you will save. Anything under €15,000 - €20,000 may not be worth your while but there are some exceptions out there!!
Anyways, hope this helps everyone. I've been doing it for a while and its had its ups and downs, so always use your commen sense and don't let the really cheap ones get the better of you.
Any questions, let me know