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Vehicle Registration Tax – Ireland

Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) is a tax you must pay when you first register a motor vehicle in Ireland.

If you have imported a vehicle, you must pay VRT and receive the vehicle’s registration certificate showing that you have paid VRT. Any delay in registering your vehicle or paying Vehicle Registration Tax will make you liable to substantial penalties – including forfeiture of your vehicle and prosecution.

From the 1st September 2010, it is no longer be possible to register a vehicle brought into the South at a Revenue Vehicle Registration Office, the vehicle must now be brought to one of the 22 designated NCTS centres.

A person wishing to register a vehicle will have to make an appointment with an NCTS office. A number of options for making the appointments are available including online, telephone on 1890 927 787 and post. The new changes mean that people who bring cars into the South will now have seven days in which to book an appointment and 30 days to complete the registration process (as opposed to 24 hours under current regulations).

At the NCTS centre your car will be examined to ensure that you are paying the correct VRT. In the case of cars and small vans, the amount of VRT payable is based on a percentage of the recommended retail price, which includes all taxes. This price is known as the Open Market Selling Price (OMSP). You can get an estimate of the VRT due from the Revenue Vehicle Registration Online Enquiry System

Relief from VRT

There are various reliefs and exemptions from VRT.

  • Transfer of residence
  • Transfer of business activity
  • Inheritance
  • Relief is also available for certain persons with disabilities who meet specified medical criteria.
  • The VRT relief for series production hybrid and flexible fuel vehicles, due to expire on 31 December 2010, is being extended for two years until 31 December 2012, with the rate of relief provided being up to €1,500.

These are further explained on – –Guide to Vehicle Registration Tax

Cross border issues

VRT must be paid if you are normally resident in Ireland.  Normally resident means the place where a person usually lives for at least 185 days in each year because of personal or occupational ties.  However, if a person’s occupational ties are in a different country from his/her personal ties, then the country of personal ties is taken as the normal residence, provided the person returns there regularly.  A person who is normally resident in the State, but who lives outside the State primarily for the purpose of attending a school or university, is regarded as a State resident.

Personal Cars

If you are moving from North to South you may be exempt from paying VRT if you have owned the car for 6 months prior to moving, you are also required not to sell the car for 12 months after the car is registered in the South.  For clarification please see the following information – Transfer of residence

Business / Company Cars

According to Revenue Commissioners website there are a number of exemptions that apply to Northern registered company cars brought into Ireland for personal use, for example

Q) I regularly work in Belfast. Do I need to register my car here?

A) Yes. Under normal circumstances you do. However, if you live in the Republic of Ireland (State resident), and are employed by an employer based outside the State (e.g. in Northern Ireland) who provides you with a category A (passenger vehicle) company car that is registered in Northern Ireland as part of your contract of employment, you may, under certain circumstances (on application to Revenue), be eligible for a temporary exemption from the payment of VRT. As part of the qualifying criteria, the vehicle must be used for business purposes principally outside the State.

Further information on temporary exemptions is available on – Temporary Exemptions for Foreign Registered Vehicles

See also:

For further information please visit

Page last checked: February 2016

This webpage is for general information purposes only and while we endeavour to keep it up-to-date, errors may occur.  It is very important that you check with the relevant body to ensure the information is current and is applicable to your situation: – North /  South

If you would like to suggest amendments or highlight new information that could be useful to others please don’t hesitate to get in touch.