Registration & Motor Tax

If you sell your vehicle or trade it in for a new model in Ireland, you must register the change of ownership and make sure your motor tax is up to date. If you import a vehicle, it must be inspected at a designated NCTS centre before you pay the mandatory Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) and motor tax.

Cars bought or sold within Ireland

Vehicles sold or traded-in within Ireland must have their change of ownership registered, whether new or used. If you are the seller of a vehicle the change of ownership procedure is particularly important, as you may continue to receive notifications relating to the vehicle for items such as fines and testing. Additionally, a person who fails to notify their Local Motor Tax Office of any changes in the ownership particulars, including disposal of the vehicle, is liable to heavy penalties.

Change of ownership must be registered by both seller and buyer, and is done in one of two ways, depending on whether the vehicle was first registered before or after 1 January 1993.

  •  If your vehicle was first registered on or before 1 January 1993, you must register a change of ownership at your local Motor Tax Office.
  • If your vehicle was first registered after 1 January 1993, the change of ownership may be registered directly with the Vehicle Registration Unit of the Dept of Transport or at your local Motor Tax Office.

When a vehicle sale is made, the new owner should receive the vehicle’s registration papers. These papers have also undergone changes:

  • A vehicle first registered before April 2004 would have been issued a Vehicle Registration Certificate and a Vehicle Licensing Certificate.
  • A vehicle first registered after April 2004 now only receives a revised Vehicle Registration Certificate.

You cannot tax your vehicle until the registration of the change of ownership has gone through. For more specific rules, check the Citizens Information site’s advice at Change of vehicle ownership.

I’ve purchased a car and registered it in my name, what now?

Once your change of ownership has been processed, you must apply to your local motor tax office to pay your motor tax. You can check if the change of ownership has been processed by using the Vehicle Status Enquiry Search facility on the motor tax website.  If your vehicle already has a current valid motor tax disc, make sure you renew your motor tax in good time—you can renew your motor tax online or by filling out a printable motor tax renewal form(PDF,172KB).

The amount of motor tax due will depend on your vehicle category, use and other items. Engine size and emissions are two vairables that may effect your motor tax rates:

  • for a car registered before 1st January 2008, motor tax varies depending on the size of your vehicle's engine–in other words, the bigger your engine, the higher the cost of your motor tax.
  • for new cars or other privately taxed vehicles registered since 1 January 2008, motor tax charges vary on the basis of seven CO2 emission bands, with lower emissions resulting in lower charges.

It should be noted that M1 category vehicles, such as cars, will always be taxed privately, unless they are being used as a hackney or taxi.

You should bear in mind that the fact that a vehicle is taxed privately or commercially has no bearing on the roadworthiness testing requirements, which are based on the category of the vehicle.

Importing a vehicle

When you import a vehicle, either new or used, before you pay its vehicle registration tax (VRT), it must be inspected at a designated NCTS centre to determine its category. Keep in mind that:

  • You must make an appointment for VRT inspection within 7 days of the vehicle’s entry into Ireland.
  • You must complete the registration process and pay VRT at the NCTS centre within 30 days of the vehicle’s arrival in Ireland.

For further details, view the Citizens Information site’s page about the registration procedure for imports. You can also view the NCTS’s website for information about how to book the examination.

Vehicle modifications

The RSA has no difficulty with modifications so long as they don’t impair the safety of a vehicle, comply with the law and are not a nuisance to the public.

At the roadworthiness test any modification to a vehicle that may affect the safety of the vehicle’ including the installation or removal of seats’ will require a letter from a manufacturer or a suitably qualified individual (SQI) as defined in the Vehicle Testers Manuals. For more information and to view the manuals check Vehicle testing.

If your vehicle is already registered in Ireland, and you make a physical modification to it, there may be Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) implications.  In such cases you must inform the Revenue Commissioners. 

A Declaration to the Revenue Commissioners is only required if the Vehicle Registration Certificate at code J1 shows "B" or "C" or "D" or is blank, and

  • you have added seats to your vehicle and the new total, including the driver seat, is 9 or less;
  • your vehicle had 10 or more seats, and you have removed seats so the new total, including the driver, is 9 or less;
  • you have converted a vehicle to a motor caravan (however a declaration is not required if your vehicle was / is registered as a car or MPV)

Further details may be found on the vehicle conversion section of the Revenue Commissioners website.

If the change relates to a change of use of the vehicle then you may also have to complete an RF111 Change of Particulars Form (PDF) and submit this to your local Motor Tax office. This form should only be used when any of the following listed items have changed since the vehicle was last taxed.

  • Your names (e.g. on marriage)
  • Your address
  • Your engine
  • Unladen weight (goods vehicles only)
  • Vehicle colour
  • Seating capacity (large public service vehicles and youth or community buses only)
  • Vehicle body type
  • Vehicle tax class