Importing a car often means that you can purchase a rare, classic or vintage car that is not available to buy in your country of residence. It could also mean that you can pick up a car for much cheaper than back home. However, there are a number of things you need to consider before purchasing a car. Things like import taxes can be a nasty surprise if you are unaware of the rules that come with buying an import car. Read on for four things you need to know before importing any car.
Meeting Import Standards
The first thing to consider is whether the vehicle meets certain import standards. The exact standards will vary depending on what country or state you are importing the car into. For the United States all motorcycles, buses and cars have to pass emissions requirements and safety standards. Certain cars like antique vehicles and racing cars are exempt from these standards. More information on import laws for the United States can be found on the Customs Border Protection website.
Import Taxes, VAT and Duty
This is a big factor to consider when calculating additional costs. The importer of the car is responsible for paying all duty and import taxes on the vehicle. Unfortunately these are not set in stone and will vary from country to country, however rough percentages will be given so you can calculate tax and duty based on the valuation of your vehicle. Duty, taxes and VAT amounts for importing cars into the United Kingdom can be found here.
It is also the buyers responsibility to notify customs prior to the arrival of the vehicle. The buyer should be present shortly after the car arrives so that they can prove ownership and all of the correct documentation. In some instances it may be possible to fax or email copies of the documents to avoid being there in person. Speak to custom officials to find out what is required in your country.
Finally, how are you planning on transporting the vehicle from its original destination to your home? Will the seller arrange shipping? Are you planning on driving the car as soon as it arrives in your country? Ensure that the car is in working, safe condition, and that it is fully insured and taxed before doing so. Some people prefer to have it dropped off at a garage so it can first undergo testing so that it is safe to drive on the roads.
Consider the above four factors before deciding to purchase an import car. Remember, what may initially seem like a good deal may actually be a costly choice as import taxes, duty, VAT and transportation costs could push the car costs way up.