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Importing a Car into Ireland

Bringing a Car Into Ireland When Moving Here

The summary is this: If the car has been owned for 6 months overseas, then you can bring it back without any duty or customs fees or VAT. You'll still have to pay the road tax like everyone else, but you won't be paying any special taxes because it was bought abroad. But, if you are excused the Vehicle Registration Tax because you have filed the necessary papers with Customs officials saying that you are moving here, then you can't sell the car for one full year after moving here.

Proof that the vehicle was used overseas for at least six months must be provided. Insurance, registration and tax documents are all required. And don't arrive early! If either yourself or the vehicle arrives before the six months are up, the tax man will skin you alive.

The Revenue Commissioners have a leaflet up on their site about tax exemptions when moving here.

A Caution for Left Side Drivers

One other word of caution. I've driven a number of different cars in Ireland. The German Opels and the Swedish Volvos and most of the other European cars all treat right side drivers poorly. There's no footrest for the left foot, windshield wipers are slightly out of whack, as are radio control buttons and inside hood locks.

It's because they take their left side drive cars and just move the steering wheels around for the British/Irish market, but they don't deal with all those little extras that are part of the driving experience. The Japanese cars, however, were made in Japan for right side drivers, and superb thought has gone into the ergonomics of right side driving. Ditto for British built cars, including Fords. That said, I happily drove a Volvo for years with nowhere to put my left foot.

Full Site

The Full Site contains information and advice about importing cars from abroad, a list of vehicle registration offices throughout Ireland and full explanations of the four car taxes to which you may be subject. Naturally, you don't want to pay these, so I provide information on the legal method used to avoid paying the three most expensive of these vehicle taxes.

The Full Site also contains information about buying right hand drive cars in the U.S., left hand to right hand drive conversions, and an important restriction for those importing vehicles upon taking up residency in Ireland. There are also a lot of opinions from other subscribers about driving left hand vehicles in Ireland.



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