Also read: portuguese taxes on cars.
If the current agreements and plans are maintained, the UK will definitely cease to be a member state of the EU on 31 December 2020.
Until that day, any import of vehicles (cars, motorcycles, etc.) from the UK is deemed to be from EU territory.
This means that until the end of 2020, importing a vehicle from the UK or Germany is exactly the same, as it was until now.
From 1 January 2021, any import of vehicles from the United Kingdom to Portugal is considered to be made from a third territory, regardless of any previous status (be it an EU manufactured vehicle or not, being registered before Brexit, etc.).
This means that any import of vehicles from the United Kingdom from that date on will pay VAT (23%) and have no age deduction in the calculation of the ISV (registration tax), paying this tax as if it were new. New vehicles are, within certain rules, tariff free but, until now, I haven't found information about used cars. I hope to have this information in January 2021 when all the tariff databases are updated.
In practice, this means that it will no longer be economically rational to import (without exemptions) any vehicles from the United Kingdom.
Despite this, the exemption given in cases of change of residence remains valid for the UK (and any other country).
If you move to Portugal you can always bring a vehicle with you completely tax-free.
There is still no information about what will happen in relation to the IUC (annual tax).
For vehicles after 2020, what will always count as the date of calculation of the IUC will be the date of Portuguese registration.
However, for pre-2021 vehicles, the law is not clear on whether they will be considered as having the first registration in an EU country on the date of registration or on the date of import into Portugal. Let's see how the law is written:
Category A: Light passenger cars and mixed use cars with a gross weight not exceeding 2 500 kg that have been registered, for the first time, in the national territory or in a Member State of the European Union or the European Economic Area, since 1981 until the date of entry into force of this code;
If you import a car from the United Kingdom whose first registration was in 2006, when the UK was still a member state of the EU, is that the date considered for the IUC calculation because in 2006 the UK was still part of the EU, or is the situation of the country considered at the time of importation?
In my opinion, from my interpretation of the wording of the law, I think the situation of the country at the time of importation will be taken into account, so any vehicles imported from the UK after 2021 will always pay IUC considering the portuguese date of registration, not taking into account that the UK at the date of the first registration still belonged to the EU.
This is especially important in cases of exemption when moving to Portugal - the exemption still exists on import, even if the UK leaves the EU but, in regard to paying the IUC, there may be a negative discrimination, just as there is today in relation to Switzerland.
Therefore, be particularly careful when importing vehicles from the UK from 2021, even with exemption on import.
On top of this, I would remind you that in the case of cars, the steering wheel is on the wrong side, you will have to spend some money changing some things (headlights, etc.) if you ever need to sell the vehicle it will have a much lower commercial value than a vehicle with a left-hand drive, and you may even go as far as not being able to sell it, because nobody will buy it.
This said, if you have or want to import a vehicle from the UK, do so by the end of 2020 - don't delay it.
From 2021, I would completely advise against importing vehicles from the UK, except in the case of motorcycles or vehicles other than passenger cars that are exempt under the exception given when you move to Portugal.
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