Notifying HMRC and paying VAT on vehicles brought into the UK


When a motor vehicle is brought permanently into the UK from abroad , you must notify HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) using the Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA) system. The vehicle must then be registered and licensed through the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), or the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland.

This guide explains how VAT-registered businesses must notify HMRC and pay or account for the VAT due on vehicles brought into the UK.

Types of vehicle that must be notified

You must notify HMRC of all land vehicles that you bring permanently into the UK, if the vehicle:

  • has an engine with a displacement or cylinder capacity of more than 48 cubic centimetres
  • or is constructed or adapted to be electrically propelled using more than 7.2 kilowatts (about 9.65 horsepower)

This includes, for example: cars, racing cars, motorcycles, off-road motorcycles, children’s motorcycles, trikes, golf buggies, tractors, combine harvesters, fork-lift trucks, bulldozers and mopeds.

Types of vehicle that you do not need to notify

You do not need to notify HMRC of the following vehicles:

  • any land vehicle with a displacement or cylinder capacity lower than 49cc or (if electrically propelled) 7.3 kw; or
  • vehicles that have no engine or other method of self propulsion such as pedal cycles, wheelbarrows, caravans, trailers
  • and, temporarily, some specialist vehicles, including historic cars and harvesters imported into the UK from outside of the EU. In these circumstances you will need to pay the VAT and duty due when the vehicle is imported

Read more about the temporary arrangements for specialist vehicles in VAT Information Sheet 06/13 on the HMRC website.

Download more information about importing vehicles from outside the EU in Customs Information Paper (13) 20 from the HMRC website (PDF 48K).

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