Transfer of Residence (Duty-Free Vehicles)
This information leaflet outlines the circumstances in which relief from tax may be obtained in respect of a duty-free vehicle that is being brought into the State by an individual as part of their personal property on transfer of residence. It should be read in conjunction with the general information leaflet Transfer of Residence which details the reliefs available on a duty paid vehicle where a transfer of residence is involved. In this context a "duty-free vehicle" is a vehicle which has been acquired without payment of VAT, Customs Duty, Excise Duty or any other consumption taxes payable and "tax" means Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) and other import charges (i.e. Customs Duty and VAT) where applicable.
Scope of the Relief
Exemption from tax in respect of a duty-free vehicle is only available where the vehicle has been
- supplied under diplomatic or consular arrangements, or
- supplied to an international organisation recognised as such by the Minister for Foreign Affairs or to a member of such an organisation within the limits and under the conditions laid down by the international convention establishing the organisation or by another similar agreement.
In all other cases exemption from tax is only available for vehicles acquired duty paid (see information leaflet Transfer of Residence).
Diplomatic and Consular Arrangements
These arrangements apply to persons who transfer their residence following service abroad and who would be entitled to purchase tax free goods (including vehicles) under the Diplomatic Relations and Immunities Acts 1967 and 1976 if they had served in a similar position in the State. The list of qualifying persons includes:
- diplomats and their family members
- members of the administrative and technical staff of a diplomatic mission
- certain officials, including Gardaí and Defence Forces personnel, serving abroad on UN missions.
Recognised International Organisations
In the case of a duty-free vehicle supplied to a recognised international organisation or to a member of such organisation, the recognition of such organisation by the Minister for Foreign Affairs is a pre-requisite for obtaining tax relief. Confirmation of the status of the organisation for the purposes of this relief should be obtained from the Department of Foreign Affairs. This is a key requirement and persons who intend to seek exemption under this provision are advised to obtain the necessary confirmation before they purchase a duty-free vehicle.
To qualify under either heading, the applicant:
- must have been living or serving abroad for a continuous period of one year or more,
- must have had possession of and used the vehicle, outside the State, for at least 12 months before the date of transfer of residence to Ireland, and
- must not have been granted exemption from VRT on similar grounds within the preceding five years.
The claim for exemption should be made as set out in leaflet Transfer of Residence. In addition to the confirmation required in regard to a recognised international organisation, as already mentioned in this leaflet, you will be required to produce the following:
- a certificate from an appropriate authorised official confirming your official status and your entitlement to purchase a duty free vehicle
- a copy of your contract for service abroad
- evidence of service and actual residence abroad
In relation to the vehicle, you are required to prove that you had possession of and used the vehicle abroad for at least 12 months before transfer and that the appropriate local taxes have been paid and not refunded. This proof will usually consist of:
- the vehicle registration document
- the certificate of insurance
- the sales invoice, receipt of purchase or other similar document
- evidence of the date on which the vehicle was brought into the State (e.g. proof of shipping).
You will also be required to produce evidence of use of the vehicle abroad. This evidence should include
- service and maintenance records
- fuel receipts
- documentation to indicate that annual circulation and registration taxes have been paid etc.
In addition, you may also be required to provide documents relating to shipment of the vehicle from the country of acquisition to the country of former residence.
Disposal of relieved vehicles
A vehicle in respect of which relief has been granted may not be sold or otherwise disposed of, hired out, lent or given as security in the State during the 12 months following the date of registration without payment of the exempted taxes.
Revised: August 2010
Information provided courtesy of the Revenue Commissioners under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence