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Importing Vehicle from EU?

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I would appreciate any advice forum members can provide:


I am in early discussions in regard to buying a 1979 Mercedes Unimog (privately owned) and importing it to the UK from the EU (Germany). My intention would be to approach a transport / haulage company to deliver it.

I have read a number of posts on this subject and am rather confused at what appears to be conflicting advice as well as the lack of detailed information on the government website. I have attempted to summarise the requirements for myself to help in my understanding and from this have derived some key questions that I would appreciate any advice on.


I have summarised information taken from the government website as follows:




The initial steps in importing the vehicle are, I think, as follows:

1. Notifying HMRC of Import: On arrival into the country, the vehicle must be reported to HMRC. This is done via the Notification ofVehicle Arrivals (NOVA) service to tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that you have brought a vehicle into the UK. In order to use NOVA, you require a Government Gateway account. There is a late notification penalty of £5 / day for notifications not made within 14 days of the vehicle's arrival in the UK.

2. Paying VAT: HMRC will use the information you provide in NOVA to work out the VAT you must pay, and will tell you how much VAT is due and how to pay. Note that you will usually pay VAT on: the vehicle, accessories bought with it, and any delivery or incidental charges. You do not have to pay VAT if importing a second-hand vehicle where the VAT was paid in another EU country.

Question: Does anyone know on what basis HMRC will calculate the VAT? Is 'Import Duty' a separate / additional charge to this, or does the VAT charge payable cover all aspects of import tax? How can I establish in advance what the VAT charge will be, or at least how it will be calculated? This is rather important because, depending on the rate of VAT charged (%), and that the VAT is potentially payable on all of the vehicle, the transport and other elements, the additional money might make the project totally unaffordable. Does anyone know where I obtain the necessary information.


I have found that in previous enquiries on the HMRC website that I never received a response to my question. Any suggestions or recommended routes of enquiry would be welcomed. alternatively, are there import agents that can do this on your behalf and are they expensive to use? If you believe this route is worthwhile, do you have any contact details?


Many thanks in advance.



Edited by neil0841
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I cannot answer your questions but I can say that the MVT are the people to contact, I found Chris very helpful and he went the extra mile to help me, if you follow his advice you will find the whole process relatively easy. Also HMRC are not the Ogre's I thought, and were very helpful IF you have done what the MVT advises. The answer is to do your homework, listen to those who know the system and don't panic :-D

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as far as I am aware if the person you are buying of is not vat registered and you are not then no vat is payable. it is the same as buying a bar of chocolate or a tent or a bike say keep the receipt and show it. I think this is one of daft things where if you read the rules and regs where someone will be quite happy to take your money off you

Edited by cosrec
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There's no vat or import duty to pay as it's a used vehicle sold privately within the EU. All you need to do is get a Government Gateway account when you get the vehicle home, go to the HMRC website and find the NOVA online filing page (it's a bit hard to find but it is there) and fill in the relevant details. You'll get an automated letter the same day confirming that there'll be no VAT to pay which you print off and submit to the DVLA when you come to register the vehicle.

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