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HMRC internal manual

VAT Personal exports - tax-free sales of new motor vehicles for use before export

HM Revenue & Customs
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Basic principles


The Personal Export Scheme (PES) permits new and used motor vehicles to be supplied tax free for use in the EC for a limited period before export to a destination outside the EC.

Supplies of vehicles tax free for removal to another Member State under the New Means of Transport (NMT) system are dealt with in VATNMT New Means of Transport.

Supplies of vehicles as direct exports may be zero-rated provided the conditions set out in Notice 703 VAT Exports are complied with.

Who can use the scheme?


Only VAT registered businesses may operate the scheme. There is no provision under the scheme for relieving tax on a vehicle supplied VAT paid, even if it is exported at a later date.


The scheme may be used by:

  1. an overseas visitor who has not been in the EC for more than either 365 days in the two years, or 1095 days in the six years prior to the date of application to use the scheme; or
  2. an entitled EC resident who has been in the EC for more than the time shown above, but who intends to leave and remain outside the EC with the vehicle for a period of at least six months.

Conditions of the scheme

  • The customer must personally take delivery of the vehicle in the United Kingdom, and must sign a certificate of receipt for the vehicle.
  • The vehicle must only be used by the customer, or another person approved by HM Revenue and Customs (see Notice 705A), who is leaving the EC and has the customer’s permission to use the vehicle.
  • The customer must export the vehicle from the EC within:

    • 12 months of the date of delivery if an overseas visitor to the EC, or
    • 6 months of the date of delivery if an EC entitled resident, and
    • the customer must remain outside the EC with the vehicle for at least 6 consecutive months from the date of export of the vehicle.
  • The customer must not dispose, or attempt to dispose of, the vehicle in the UK by hire, pledge as security, sale, gift or any other means.
  • The customer must notify HM Revenue and Customs immediately if they change their plans before the vehicle is removed from the UK.

If any of these conditions are not met, the vehicle will be liable to forfeiture and may be seized; and VAT will be payable on the value of the vehicle when purchased. If the vehicle is not exported because of an accident write-off or theft, the purchaser becomes liable for the VAT not paid at the time of purchase.