3. Paying VAT and duty

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will tell you if you have to pay VAT or duty after you tell them you imported a vehicle.

VAT and duty are charged on the total cost of the vehicle plus any:

  • accessories you bought with it
  • delivery and extra charges

HMRC will tell you how much you have to pay.

The rates you’re charged depend on the type of vehicle and where you imported it from. You can call the helpline to check rates.

How you pay depends on whether the vehicle came from the EU.

If you imported the vehicle from the EU

Why you imported it What and how you pay
For personal use VAT only – pay HMRC directly
For a VAT-registered business VAT only – pay on your next VAT Return
For a business that’s not VAT-registered VAT only – pay HMRC directly

You won’t be able to register the vehicle before you pay, unless you’re a VAT-registered business.

If you’re importing a second-hand vehicle, you won’t have to pay VAT if all the following apply:

  • VAT has already been paid in any EU country including the UK
  • the vehicle has been in use for more than 6 months
  • the vehicle has done more that 6,000km (about 3,728 miles)

Paying HMRC directly

Use online or telephone banking to pay HMRC by Faster Payments, CHAPS or Bacs.

Sort code Account number Account name
08 32 00 12000903 HMRC Indirect Miscellaneous

Use your 13-character NOVA notification reference number when you pay. You can find it on the:

  • email HMRC sent you if you used the NOVA service
  • payment notice HMRC sent you

Don’t put any spaces between the characters in your reference number.

Reclaiming VAT

You can reclaim VAT you paid in another EU country. Send the Certificate of VAT you get from HMRC to the person who sold you the vehicle.

If you imported the vehicle from outside the EU

Why you imported it What and how you pay
You’re moving to the UK with your vehicle No VAT or duty if you qualify for relief
You’re returning an exported vehicle to the UK No VAT or duty if you qualify for relief
You’re visiting the EU with your vehicle No VAT or duty if it qualifies as a temporary import
Any other reason - if you’re not VAT-registered VAT and duty - pay customs at the UK border (your shipping company may do this for you)
Any other reason - if you’re VAT-registered VAT and duty - pay customs at the UK border (your shipping company may do this for you) and claim the VAT on your next VAT Return

You must pay any VAT and duty before you can release the vehicle from customs or register it.