The UK is no longer in the EU and the process and costs to register a UK car in Spain after Brexit have changed considerably.
This is because UK cars now are now treated as vehicles from third countries and must either clear customs, or get a customs certificate if your car qualifies for customs exemption.
The process you follow will depend on your situation as will the cost. You’ll need to budget for costs of around €1,000 with taxes as applicable on top.
A potentially huge extra cost to register a UK car in Spain after Brexit is customs duty of 10% and 21% IVA. The taxes are based on either the value published in the Government official list of vehicle values, the purchase price or assessed market value, depending on the age of the car and when you acquired it.
You may apply for an exemption from customs duty and VAT if the reason you’ve brought the car to Spain, is because you are taking up residency or have recently done so. To apply for an exemption, you will need to provide proof to customs that you were living in the UK in the 12 months prior to coming to Spain and the you are now no longer resident for tax purposes in the UK.
A document known as a DUA is issued once customs has been cleared.
Vehicles brought to Spain in 2020 may get an EU statutory certificate, exempting the vehicle from customs, if proof can be provided that the vehicle was brought to Spain before 01/01/2021. Proofs accepted are ferry or Eurotunnel tickets or transporter invoices showing an address in Spain as the delivery destination.
An exemption may also be gained by providing proof that the vehicle was purchased prior to 01/01/2021. Customs will only accept purchase documents issued by VAT registered car dealers.
Fees will vary from around €150 to €350 depending on your situation and the customs agent.
If you cannot get an exemption, duty is 10% of the vehicle value and IVA 21%
When you register a UK car in Spain, you may need to get these first. These green provisional ‘P’ plates indicate that the vehicle is in the process of getting Spanish number plates and allow you to drive the vehicle whilst it’s being registered.
Temporary plates cost is around €150
(note special registration tax, if applicable, may have to be paid when you apply to get temporary plates – see Taxes below)
Certification & Roadworthiness
The vehicle certification requirement to register a UK car in Spain after Brexit haven’t changed. It can still be done by way of manufacturers CoC (Certificate of Conformity), or by employing a technician to document the specification of the vehicle in a technical report ‘ficha tecnica reducida‘.
A valid CoC alone, does not guarantee that the vehicle can be registered in Spain. Similarly, a technician is paid to provide a certificate, not to ensure that the vehicle is correct to pass the verification checks. They will document the vehicle characteristics and point out if the vehicle conforms or not, if the vehicle has been changed, or additions made to the original specification.
CoC / Technical Report will cost €75 to €150
These are often required for UK cars being registered in Spain. For example replacing headlights or realigning the beam pattern on right hand drive cars, and changing rear light clusters because the fog light is on the wrong side. Rules are different in Spain regarding things that have been added on like tow bars or side steps. These must have EU conformity stamps and must be removed if they don’t.
The cost of modifications will of course depend on the vehicle and what needs to be changed.
Vehicle Technical Inspection (ITV)
Once the vehicle has its certification document, it has to undergo an official inspection to confirm that the vehicle tallies with it’s certification and that it is also roadworthy.
It is at this part of the process that knowledge, experience and expertise, (or lack of it) can add to costs, be that in time, or actual money wasted. If there are problems with the vehicle they’ll need to be resolved. If you’re employing a company to handle the registration process for you, they will normally check the vehicle for potential issues, highlight, them help you resolve them, or find a way around. They will also check the common road worthiness things like tyres, lights etc.
Test cost is around €150
Taxes to Register a UK car in Spain
In addition to customs duty and VAT, to register a UK car in Spain there are other taxes to pay. In every case the Spanish equivalent of road tax, known as IVTM / SUMA, and for some Special
Road tax rates are set by the local authority (Ayuntamiento) and are based on the power rating of the vehicle. Rates for bigger vehicles that pay the higher rate in the UK are a lot lower in Spain.
Special registration tax base is calculated using the vehicle new value, and applying a depreciation factor according to its age. The applicable rate depends on the vehicle CO2 emissions.
Special registration tax depreciation allowances and tax rates
Vehicle age up to 1 year = 100 %
From 1 year, up to 2 = 84 %
From 2 years, up to 3 = 67 %
From 3 years, up to 4 = 56 %
From 4 years, up to 5 = 47 %
From 5 years, up to 6 = 39 %
From 6 years, up to 7 = 34 %
From 7 years, up to 8 = 28 %
From 8 years, up to 9 = 24 %
From 9 years, up to 10 = 19 %
From 10 years, up to 11 = 17 %
From 11 years, up to 12 = 13 %
More than 12 years = 10 %
Tax Rate based on emissions
Less than 120g/km = 0%
120g/km up to 160g/km = 4.75%
160g/km up to 200g/km = 9.75%
200g/km or more = 16.9%
Special Registration Tax Calculation Examples
Vehicle date first reg 01/01/2011 depreciation band 7-8 years 28%
The calculation is as follows: Vehicle new value X depreciation % divide answer by 1.28 and multiply by applicable tax %
BMW320 d Touring 1995cc 114g/km new value €31000 ( 0 tax emission below 121 g/km )
BMW320 i Touring 1995cc 149g/km new value €26800 €26800 X 28% / 1.28 X 4.75% = €278.47
BMW320 i Touring Aut. 1995cc 164g/km new value €29900 €29900 X 28%/1.28 X 9.75% = €637.72
BMW335 i Aut. 2979cc 202g/km €39700 €39700 X 28% / 1.28 X 16.9% = €1467.66
As you can see the emissions make a big difference. In recent years, manufacturers have greatly reduced their vehicles emissions, which means that many new cars attract little or no special registration tax.
Registration Fees to register a UK car in Spain
To finally complete the registration of a UK car in Spain, you will pay a fee to the traffic department the DGT. If you’re doing it yourself, this is the only cost at this last stage apart from of course your time. If you’re using a gestoria, their fee would usually cover presenting your paperwork to trafico, but not the trafico or tax presentation fees.
DGT fee = €100
Colegio de Gestores & tax presentation fee = €50
Paying someone to register a UK car in Spain
A gestoria specialises in administrative processes, so if you employ one, to register a UK car in Spain, check whether you’re paying them just to take care of paperwork, or to take care of the whole process of getting Spanish number plates on your vehicle.
Gestoria fee = €100 – €300
Someone, or a company that specialises in registering a UK cars in Spain, will take care of the whole process, and will therefore usually charge more that a gestoria.
If you decide to use a specialist, ask for recommendations from people. Make sure they are registered as a business, and get them to provide you with a full breakdown of the costs and ask for receipts of taxes paid. It is not uncommon for one man bands to take money and not finish the job, or charge excessively by inflating the tax and pocketing the difference.
Agent fee = €200 – €400