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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.
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You must notify HMRC of all land vehicles that you bring permanently into the UK, if the vehicle:
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.
You do not need to notify HMRC about either of the following vehicles:
Vehicles brought permanently into the UK must be notified to HMRC within 14 days and any VAT due paid or accounted for. This means that you will not be able to register and license your vehicle(s) with DVLA or DVA until you have received confirmation from HMRC that your notification has been processed. The vehicle(s) must be for use in your business or onward sale by your business.
The quickest and easiest way to make your notification is online. By making an online notification you will usually receive an immediate acknowledgement from HMRC and calculation of any VAT due. You can notify up to 100 vehicles in one submission. If you're a VAT registered business notifying multiple vehicles of the same type you may be able to attach a spreadsheet to your online notification, rather than an entering each vehicle separately.
You can also make your notification by completing a paper form (VAT NOVA1) and returning it to HMRC. You must phone the VAT Helpline to request a form VAT NOVA1.
A tax agent, adviser or a freight forwarding agent can make a notification on your behalf but if you are a VAT registered business then the agent must be registered as an online agent with HMRC.
If your business is already signed up to use VAT online
You can access and use the NOVA online service immediately. To make a notification you, or your agent MUST login to your HMRC Online services account with the User ID and password that is used for your VAT online services, for example when submitting your VAT Return. NOVA online will be listed as a service you can access from the 'Your HMRC services' page.
If your business isn’t signed up to use the VAT online
This maybe for example because you use an agent, bookkeeper or accountant to submit your VAT returns online, then you must sign up for VAT online before you can access and use NOVA to make notifications directly on behalf of your business.
If your business has already enrolled for other online services
If you are enrolled for services such as Self Assessment online or PAYE online for employers, you’ll need to add VAT online to the services you use before you can make a NOVA notification on behalf of your business
Please note: If you don’t follow this process, HMRC will not recognise you as a VAT registered business and you’ll have to pay any VAT due on your vehicle purchases immediately rather than account for the tax on your next VAT return.
If your business is not registered for VAT or you are a private individual, the process of notifying HMRC and paying the VAT due on a vehicle is different from that for a VAT-registered business.
To make a notification you need to have detailed information available including:
Please note that this list is not exhaustive and you may need additional information to make your notification.
If you do not notify within 14 days of the vehicle arriving in the UK, HMRC may issue a late notification penalty. The penalty rate is £5 for each day late.
If you disagree with a late notification penalty you should write and tell HMRC why you disagree. You can do this by email to Personal Transport Unit or by letter to:
HM Revenue and Customs Personal Transport Unit
Building 22, Priory Court
St John’s Road
Follow the link below for further information about how to appeal against an HMRC decision and the options available to you if you and HMRC are unable to agree.
When you pay or account for the VAT due on the vehicle depends on where it is being purchased from.
If your vehicle is purchased within the EU you must account for the VAT on your next VAT Return. You must enter this figure in Box 2 of your return.
If your vehicle is purchased outside the EU you must pay the VAT (and any other duties) to HMRC at the time it is imported into the UK. You can then claim the VAT paid as 'input tax' when making your next VAT Return.