When moving to another country, you face the question: what should you do with your car? Is it best to a) keep it? b) buy a new one in the country you are leaving? Or c) buy a new one in the Netherlands? Your answer will depend on which country you travel from, and on your tax liability. This page weighs up the merits of each option, and pin points some of the issues you should take into account.
Former Place of Residence
An EU Member State
If you are moving to the Netherlands from elsewhere in the European Union, then it may be more economical to either bring your old car with you, or purchase one in your country of origin. Here’s why:
- There are no special tax requirements for bringing your old car to the Netherlands from an EU member state
- The taxes levied on a new car in the Netherlands are extremely high. They can amount to up to 45% of the listed price. In fact, there is hardly any country in the European Union that levies the same amount of tax on new cars!
A Non-EU Member State
If you are coming to the Netherlands from outside of the EU, matters are a little more complex. One argument for buying a car in the Netherlands is that you will be required to pay customs duty on importing a vehicle into the country.
Exemption from Customs Duty
However, you might be able to procure exemption from customs duty. Here is a list of the conditions you must meet:
- You must have had the car in your possession for at least six months
- You must have used it in the non EU-member state from which you are moving
It is important to note that, generally speaking, these conditions will not apply if:
- Your employer has put a car at your disposal
- You have leased a car in the country from which you are moving
12 Months After Exemption
There are some additional conditions you must meet after the customs authorities have granted you an exemption, and you have imported your car. For a period of twelve months after your customs declaration has been accepted, you may not:
- Lend out your car
- Put your car up for hire
- Sell your car
In short, you should maintain complete use and ownership of your vehicle for a full twelve months.
Breaking the 12 Month Rule
If this condition is not met:
- You will be liable to pay taxes immediately
- You may be fined for not following the rules
- Even if the car is stolen or badly damaged, and the insurance company sells the wreckage, the exemption will be revoked.
In these cases, you will have to pay duties for a car you do not and could not own anymore!
Take Care of Business Before you Move
There are plenty of possibilities when it comes to reducing the tax burden on your car, when leaving or returning to another country. To make the most of these opportunities, you have to understand, arrange and follow a lot of detailed rules.
Therefore, it is a good idea take care of business before you actually move! Ideally, you should seek professional assistance at least six months before you relocate. This way, you will be able to get the ball rolling early, and get the best results.
It could also be helpful to read more about gaining exemption from customs duty for your other possessions.
BUYING A CAR IN THE NETHERLANDS
If you do decide to buy a car in the Netherlands, you will need to have its registration card put in your name. To do this, you (and the former owner) must:
- Go to a store offering post office services
- Bring some proof of identity, such as: a valid Dutch driver’s license (issued no more than ten years ago), a valid (Dutch or foreign) passport, an EU ID-card, a Dutch travel document for aliens, or NATO ID-card
- Unless your driving license was issued fewer than three months ago in the Netherlands, you also need to bring along proof of registration in your local municipality
The Car Becomes Yours
- The store will enter your information into the system.
- You will receive your kentekencard in the mail one or two days later.
- After this, you own a car!
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