European Consumer Centre

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FAQ – Car purchases in other EU countries

Is it advantageous to buy a car abroad? What are the risks? What to do before purchasing a car or any other vehicle in another EU country? Will I pay custom fees? Where to pay VAT?

Where to pay VAT

Purchase and import of cars


Where to pay VAT

Are there any restrictions for import of cars from other EU countries? Will I pay custom fees?
The internal market rules apply to the EU Member States and the free market cannot be restricted in any way when appropriate administrative rules are respected. So, in principle, there are no restrictions and you won’t pay any custom fees.

In which country do I pay VAT when importing a car?
If you want to import a new or a slightly used car, the seller should allow you to pay for it without VAT in the country of purchase. You will then pay this tax according to the rate applicable in the Czech Republic (or country of your residence). If the car is a used one, you will pay VAT in the country of purchase according to the rate applicable there.

I bought a new car in another EU country, but I was forced to pay VAT twice – in the country of purchase and also after registering the car in Czech Republic. What should I do if I want to get back my money paid in the country of purchase?
You have to contact the seller who should provide you with more information about how to reach refund of VAT in the country of purchase. In Germany, the seller should directly ensure the refund himself. If the seller doesn’t want to communicate with you or he is unable to handle the issue, you can ask the European Consumer Centre for help.

Purchase and import of cars

Is it advantageous to buy a new or used car in another EU country?
Import of new or used cars from abroad can be advantageous because of potentially lower prices. But you should know that the primary investment may not be final. Consumer should carefully check much information before the purchase, especially about the seller, thoroughly read draft of the contract and find out about the rules for import of the particular vehicle to the Czech Republic.

What are the risks and pitfalls of this procedure?
Consumers should be especially careful before purchasing a car via the internet because sellers usually require payments in advance. You should also be careful before concluding disadvantageous contracts whose provisions reduce sellers’ liability for defects of the respective car. If you are interested in purchase of a car, you should have basic knowledge of the language in which the contract is written. The elementary advice is: Never sign a contract if you don´t fully understand what it says. If you don´t know the language, try to ask your friend if he/she can help you.