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Import Cars and 4x4 into Ireland

Thailand's top exporter to Ireland, UK and Europe

It is quite well known that Soni is among Asia's top ten auto exporting group and has a 100 years of solid track record of service, honesty and pricing. It is also no secret that as Asia's oldest and largest auto exporting group we dominate export to Asia, Africa and the Americas but few people are aware of Soni's dominance in export of 4x4s to Europe. The Soni Group of Companies - including Soni Motors Thailand, Bloomstar, Jim 4x4 and Yasir - is Thailand's largest auto exporter to Europe. We are exporting Right Hand Drive vehicles to United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Northern Cyprus and Malta and factory-original Left Hand Drive (LHD) vehicles and converted LHD vehicles to the rest of the Europe. 2009 is expected to be a landmark year as Toyota Hilux Revo Thailand Exporter, Toyota Hilux Revo Rocco Thailand Export, Toyota Hilux Vigowill meet many European regulations and we will be able to expand reach of our vehicles toe ven those countries which want to cross all t's and dot all i's.

Import cars into Ireland

In addition to the EU-wide tariffs and non-tariff barriers mentioned in our page on Europe, Ireland maintains a vehicle registration tax (VRT) that increases as engine size increases. In addition, gasoline and insurance are extremely expensive and heavily taxed in Ireland. Ireland applies a VAT rate of 21 percent, calculated on the basic price of the vehicle before the vehicle registration tax.

When you import from us, you have pay EU-specified 10%+ Customs Duty at the first point of entry into EU, then 21% vat, then VRT and finally the car Customs clearance charge (200ish euro). Some customers have reported that they did not have to pay VAT on an imported vehicle just the VRT.

When you bring the car from another country to Ireland, you must have at hand proof of ownership (vehicle registration documents, receipt for payment made, Certificate of Permanent Export, etc).

On arrival in Ireland, you need to pay the import duties and taxes that you will pay in any EU-country:

  • Import Duty - 10% of the price you have paid for the car (if imported from non EU country).
  • VAT  - The VAT rate is 21%  and applies to the value of the car + Import Duty (if imported from non EU country).

Euro-wide taxes are as follows:

C&F or CIF Price of the vehicle 17,000 €
10% EU Customs Duty 1,700 €
21% EU-wide VAT on price of the vehicle + Duty 3,927 €
Final Cost before VRT 22,627 €


You also pay Ireland-specific VRT on what Revenue officers determine as your vehicle's  "Open Market Selling Price" (OMSP):

  • VRT - Vehicle Registration Tax which must be paid by the end of the next day, following its arrival in Ireland. This can be done by filling out a VRT4 form which can be downloaded here: VRT4 download. To get a VRT estimate, you can go here: VRT calculator available from the revenue website.

Once you have all the taxes paid, with the documents given to you by the VRT office, you can go to any motor-factors to get a set of number plates printed with the registration number provided on the papers which has to be displayed within 3 days, and tax the car for the first time in Ireland using the RF100 form giving to you by the VRT office as well. Once your car is taxed, the new Irish registration certificate will be posted to your home address in a matter of days.

If you import a used car into Ireland that is over 4 years old, you need to go through the NCT (National Car Testing) process, which is due from the date is has been first registered in the country of origin. The NCT test can be booked on-line at

Oasis (Online Access to Services, Information and Support) is an Irish eGovernment website. It has some guidance on importing a vehicle into Ireland at:

All new motor vehicles and vehicles brought into Ireland are subject to Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) and must be registered with the Revenue Commissioners. (The Revenue Commissioners are responsible for the collection of taxes in Ireland on behalf of the Irish Government). Every motor vehicle in the State, (with the exception of vehicles brought in temporarily by a visitor, must be registered with the Revenue Commissioners.

If you are moving to Ireland or are already living here and you are importing a car or other vehicle, you will need to do three things before you can drive your vehicle in Ireland:

  • Pay Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) (unless you are exempt)
  • Have Motor Insurance
  • Pay Motor Tax
  • All motorists are required to carry a valid driving licence with them at all times when driving in Ireland

What is Vehicle Registration Tax?

While VAT is a Europe-wide tax, VRT is unique to Ireland. Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) is a tax you must pay when you first register a motor vehicle in Ireland. If you buy from a local dealer, he has already paid the VRT which is levied on Open Market Selling Price or OMSP. When you import a vehicle, you must pay this VRT yourself. After Maastricht, EU countries were only allowed to charge their normal rate of VAT on cars, instead of the 40%-50% it used to be, so a new type of tax was invented to fill the void left by the forced reduction in VAT. VRT is a tax on making the car legal to drive on the roads and not on the car itself, a clever way around the EU’s attempt to reduce excessive car taxation.

 Every motor vehicle in the State, with the exception of one brought in temporarily by a visitor, must be registered with the Revenue Commissioners. If you have imported a vehicle, you must pay VRT and receive the vehicle's Registration Certificate showing that you have paid VRT. Any delay in registering your vehicle or paying Vehicle Registration Tax will make you liable to substantial penalties - including forfeiture of your vehicle and prosecution.

Exemptions from paying Vehicle Registration Tax

There are different reliefs and exemptions from VRT. Even if you are not required to pay VRT, you must still register your vehicle when you come to Ireland (see Rules below). The following groups are exempt from paying VRT:

  • Certain disabled drivers
  • Visitors to Ireland who have owned their vehicles abroad for more than 6 months and who will be resident here temporarily
  • People who have owned their vehicles abroad for more than 6 months and who are moving permanently to Ireland
  • People posted to Ireland as part of the diplomatic corps

NOTE: If you are moving to Ireland and are among those exempt from paying VRT you cannot sell your vehicle for more than 12 months after the vehicle is registered.

Be aware that if you want to avoid the 28% import tax you need to prove that you owned the car for at least 6 months before bringing it into the country. You will need the following to show that the car was not bought specifically for importing into Ireland.

  • Vehicle Registration Certificate / Export Certificate
  • Evidence of vehicle’s insurance cover abroad for previous 6 months
  • Current Drivers Licence
  • Invoice relating to the purchase of the vehicle
  • Sailing ticket or other relevant document
  • Evidence of the sale of property abroad
  • Evidence of a property rental / tenancy agreement abroad
  • Evidence of payment of taxes abroad (P45, P60, poll tax etc.)
  • Evidence of day-to-day living abroad (e.g. household bills, medical records, work contracts etc.)

Now, the above list, at first glance, seems relatively unassuming. Be warned that no matter how honest you look, the revenue see it as their job to go through all your documents with a fine tooth comb. When they say they want to see evidence of day to day living abroad, they mean they want to see day to day, for at least the previous 6 months that you say you owned the car. It will not do to send them credit card statements for a few of those months, coupled with phone bills for a few others. They expect to see at least 2 utility bills along with other bills like bank statements, credit cards etc. If you have a job that takes you to other countries, or if you visit Ireland frequently and have transactions on you bank or credit card statements, expect to be questioned like someone on the FBI wanted list.

If you are required to pay VRT, then you can sell your vehicle here in Ireland when you wish, once it has been registered. Further information is available from your local VRO.


If you bring a vehicle into Ireland from abroad, you must first of all be able to show proof of ownership of the vehicle. For example, a vehicle registration document, evidence of car insurance, etc. You must also have a Certificate of Permanent Export (or a vehicle registration document as we mention above). It is important to check that the document or certificate is the correct one for your car before bringing it to Ireland.

You must register your car and pay VRT by the end of the next working day following its arrival into Ireland. You must bring it to a Revenue Vehicle Registration Office (VRO) not later than the next working day following its arrival in Ireland. If the vehicle is new, you should complete a Declaration for Registration (Form VRT 3) and present it with the vehicle registration document or Certificate of Permanent Export. If the new vehicle is second-hand, you should complete a Declaration for Registration (Form VRT 4). If the vehicle is a motorcycle, you should complete a Declaration for Registration (Form VRT 5).

You pay the VRT charged after your vehicle has been inspected at the VRO.

Once the vehicle has been registered by the Revenue Commissioners and the VRT paid, you (or your motor dealer) will receive:

  • A receipt for the VRT paid showing the registration number assigned to your car
  • A Form RF 100 for use when you are applying for motor tax

You must display the registration number within three days. Failure to display the new registration number is an offence and you can be fined by An Garda Siochana (the Irish police force). You can obtain vehicle registration plates from any motor dealer. A leaflet showing the correct legal format of the registration plates to be used is available at any VRO. Vanity/personalised registration plates are illegal.

The vehicle registration certificate is issued to you by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. This will be posted out to you after you have applied to your local authority's Motor Tax office to pay your motor tax. (See information on Motor Tax below).

How is VRT calculated?

In the case of cars and small vans, the VRT payable is a percentage of the expected retail price, including all taxes in the State. This price is called the "Open Market Selling Price" (OMSP). An On-Line VRT Enquiry System is now available. You can use it to calculate a VRT estimate for a range of passenger vehicles, vans and motorcycles. It is not possible to include exact information here on what the OMSP of your personal vehicle will be - it depends on market values at the time, the age, engine size and roadworthiness condition of your vehicle. (More comprehensive information on VRT calculation (including the actual rates are set out below).

On cars from 0 to 1400cc, VRT is charged at 22.5% of the OMSP. So let's imagine you import a vehicle costing €9,000. The revenue commissioner will add 21% VAT to that, bringing it to €10,890. In order to register it so you can tax it and make it legal to drive, the buyer has to pay another 22.5% on top of the €10,890, bringing the price to a grand total of €13,340. So that’s almost €4,500 paid in tax on a small car excluding any delivery or additional charges.

On cars between 1401cc and 1900cc, VRT is 25% of the OMSP and VRT on anything with a bigger engine is charged at 30%. The rate of VRT on large vans, lorries and tractors is just €50, while bikes are €2 up to 350cc and €1 per cc after that. Small vans, pick-ups and some 4X4s are charged at a rate of 13.3% of the OMSP.

Motor Insurance

It is a legal requirement in Ireland to have motor insurance if you want to drive a motor vehicle in a public place. Insurance is quite expensive in Ireland. Insurance companies blame the high premiums on their legal costs of excessive claim litigation.

Motor Tax

Motor tax in Ireland is a charge imposed by the Irish Government on motor vehicles. Revenue from motor tax is used to maintain and upgrade the road network. Charges for motor tax are proportionate to the size of the vehicle engine. Some vehicles are exempt. You must pay your tax to legally drive on Irish roads. This is done by going to your closest road tax office. You will receive your new Irish registration certificate after you have applied for motor tax

Read more about the requirement for motor tax here.

VRT payable is a percentage of the expected retail price, including all taxes in the State. This price is called the "Open Market Selling Price" (OMSP). Check the online VRT calculator in the link above. (We are unable to include exact information on what the OMSP of your vehicle will be - it depends on market values, engine size, year, model and roadworthiness condition of the vehicle). The current rates of VRT are;

Vehicle Engine size Cost of VRT
Cars up to 1400 cc 22.5% of OMSP, (subject to a min. tax of 315 euro)
Cars 1401cc-1900cc 25% of OMSP (subject to a min. tax of 315 euro)
Cars over 1900cc 30% of OMSP (subject to a min. tax of 315 euro)
Small vans and some jeeps - 13.3% of OMSP (subject to a min tax of 125 euro)
Motorcycles (new) - 2 euro per 350cc and 1 euro per cc thereafter
Motorcycles (used) - 2 euro per 350cc and 1 euro per cc thereafter
Hybrid electric vehicles - 50% of VRT payable may be repaid in respect of some hybrid vehicles*
Other vehicles - A flat rate of 50 euro for tractors, large vans, lorries, etc.

*A hybrid electric vehicle is a vehicle that derives it's power from a combination of an electric motor and an internal combustion engine. It is capable of being driven on electronic propulsion alone for a material part of it's normal driving cycle.

A VRO official calculates the rate of VRT after he/she inspects the vehicle. You can pay by bankdraft, money order, Laser (debit) card or cash. If you are using a Laser debit card to pay, the transaction is limited to 1,500 euro per day. If the VRT payment exceeds this amount, you can pay the balance in cash or by bank draft.

If the car is new, VAT is payable in addition to VRT. When enquiring about VRT rates, you need to provide specific information about your vehicle.

How to apply

A completed declaration form together with the vehicle should be presented at a VRO (there are 32 of these around the country). Declaration forms are available from any VRO. The Revenue Commissioners have also produced a useful list of Frequently Asked Questions about VRT in Ireland.


If your imported car is over 4 years old you need to through the NCT (National Car Testing) process. The NCT on an imported vehicle is due on the anniversary date of first registration in the country of origin. To complete your NCT:

  • Simply take your Vehicle Registration Certificate to your nearest NCT centre and have the vehicle input on the NCT database so that a record of your vehicle is kept.
  • The next day, a test can be booked for your vehicle by contacting NCT.
  • Obviously this should be done immediately after the registration ticket is received if the car is already over 4 years old.

Useful websites

Where to apply

You can register the car and pay the VRT at any VRO. You can view contact information for Vehicle Registration Offices throughout Ireland (pdf) in this leaflet. Further information about VRT, VAT and acquiring a vehicle abroad is available from:

  St John's House,
Dublin 24.
Tel: (01) 414 9777
Fax: (01) 414 9720

Questions regarding the remission of Vehicle Registration Tax and disabled drivers is available from the Revenue Commissioners at the following address.

Central Repayments Office,
Disabled Drivers Section,
Office of the Revenue Commissioners,
Coolshannagh, Co.
Tel: 047 - 82800.




The Soni Group of Companies or its subsidiary companies shall not be liable for any loss or damage caused by the usage of any information obtained from this web site. Companies referred to in this web site shall not be construed as agents nor as companies recommended by Soni Motors Thailand or the Soni Group or any of its subsidiaries.

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