Lotus Elan

To buy or not to buy? Customs / Import Tax and VAT worries

PostPost by: carjam » Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:51 am

Hi, newbie here, 8) buying a 1972 Lotus rolling chassis left-hand drive American import, no engine or gearbox. :(
Unfortunately, absolutely no paperwork with it either. :cry:
A good few years ago the current owner brought the car parts over to the UK in a cargo container, along with other stuff. Current owner decided to save car parts and attempt a rebuild. But now its an unfinished project.
I hope to complete the rebuild, (Lotus engine / Gearbox, or short 1600 ford cross flow engine and 1600E gearbox needed please).
I wish to use the car on the UK/ European roads, :twisted: so must get it registered.
Does anyone know what my liability is in regard to import tax and VAT please :?:
DVLA are sending me a form; and so are Customs and Excise.
Neither where they very helpful on the phone. :roll: Very confusing! Both said they needed forms filled in and additional money from me.
One Customs guy said "you didn't import the car, so you should not be liable"; another chap said if no paperwork is available then "10% of cost of car for import duty; and 20% VAT are payable by me.
Current owner said car was spare parts so should be exempt from these costs.
Who is correct? :mrgreen:
KIND REGARDS,

CARJAM
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:16 am

For what its worth - I dont know UK regulations in detail but I am familiar with the European and Australian regulations in this area and they are very similar so i would be surprised if the UK ones are much different.

If the parts are legally in the UK already then any applicable customs duty and VAT should have been paid at the time of entry. On selling imported parts second hand as an individual does not attract VAT ( unless you are running a business doing it above the VAT threshold in which case the VAT paid on entry is a deductible cost against the VAT liability when you sell it).

Assembling parts into a car creates a "car" that must be given an identity to register it. The motor registration authorities will want to be able to give it that identity based on its manufacturer ( i.e. Lotus) and any Vin numbers that relate to it, if they exist. if they dont exist then i preume it would be registered as a kit car in some way.

The potential problem arises when people ask the question when the completed car is presented for registration - "what is the source of parts for this vehicle and was the import as parts that made up this car a screen to hide the real import of a complete vehicle on which a higher customs duty or VAT should have been applicable at the time of import". Some interestng court cases in Australia around this where poeple have imported a "car body" and a "car engine" as parts to avoid duty and were caught when they put the engine and body back together to register the car.

If a higher customs duty or VAT is not applicable to an imported car versus imported parts then no real issue but if it is then you may have a problem.

cheers
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PostPost by: jimj » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:21 am

If all you have is a rolling chassis, sell it and buy a complete car. It`s just not a viable proposition. If you mean that you have an Elan with no engine or gearbox that`s already been imported, I can`t imagine you have any tax liability and with the vin number you can just register the car here in the UK.
Jim
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PostPost by: twincamman » Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:07 pm

YOU WILL HAVE MORE MONEY AND TIME invested in the roller than if you bought a complete car .All cars have a set value as noble as it sounds to restore buying complete is a far better deal---ed
dont close your eyes --you will miss the crash
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PostPost by: terryp » Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:10 pm

Have you got the car or is it still in the container in the port?
Has a form 846A been issued?
Are there any documents that demonstrate that the car is over 30 years old?

Terry
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PostPost by: gherlt » Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:51 pm

As far as my experience with imports into the EU are
- you pay VAT on anything, except if its value is below 50 EUR or so.
- you have to bring proof of the amount and proof of payment, be it paypal or money transfer.
- On a Lotus you could get through about the VIN, especially if it is stamped on the chassis.
But dont ask Lotus: they respond that it is not a chassis, it is a *sub-frame*.
- In Germany and Spain, it is a not an easy way, but if you can proof "legal property transfer" you can get away without the V5 or the, but then you have to initiate some checks that the car has not been a "total loss" or not ha sbeen stealed, etc etc. A declaration from the PO about the papers would help. Think of " I swear I had them but I lost them. somewhere. somehow. I dont find them"

Guillermo
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1967 S3 DHC (now adjusted by Brian Buckland, totally calm idle)
1969 S4 FHC (final interior stuff)
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:28 pm

Carjam,
We need more information about the car in order to advise.
Is it a complete car with bodywork as well as the rolling chassis, just minus the engine and gearbox? If it's just the rolling chassis I would advise to stay well clear, it's 99% likely not worth your time and money.

Assuming it's a complete car:
Early cars are more sought after and perhaps more worth saving. If it has a VIN plate you can get the Lotus archivist Andy Graham to give you the build information if he has it (some records were destroyed in a flood years ago) but in any case he will identify the car and assist with the DVLA when you need to get it road registered.


With regards to import duty and VAT, why would you want to contact those guys if the car is already in the UK and already cleared customs? If you personally import a classic car, the duty payable is 10% of it's value + 20% VAT, there is a useful website here http://www.dutycalculator.com/dc/13051-import-duty-rate-for-classic-car-is-10/


More info needed......
Kindest regards

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PostPost by: terryp » Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:37 pm

Spyder fan wrote: If you personally import a classic car, the duty payable is 10% of it's value + 20% VAT


Not quite true .... you can apply for it to be under the antique and art section .... only 5.5% of total including shipping I think
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:47 pm

terryp wrote:
Spyder fan wrote: If you personally import a classic car, the duty payable is 10% of it's value + 20% VAT


Not quite true .... you can apply for it to be under the antique and art section .... only 5.5% of total including shipping I think


Would you describe it as a Jackson Pollock special? :) I assume a bit of artistic license is required to do this?

Assuming ?5000 total cost (item and shipping)
10% tax = Cost ?5000 = ?500+ 20% vat = ?600
5.5% tax = Cost ?5000 = ?275 + 20% vat = ?330

Not really talking about an awful lot of money either way, and if Carjam is looking to pay more than ?5000 then there are far more interesting UK origin projects to be had.
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PostPost by: elansprint » Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:55 pm

If the chassis is already here i dont see the problem i would not get customs & excise involved also if you do not have a log book/VIN number You will need to IVA it & you have no chance of getting an Elan through. You need another vehicle & these parts to help in rebuild
Ian
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PostPost by: terryp » Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:58 pm

No 20% VAT if it's Antiques and Arts !
Only 5.5% TOTAL

Terry
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PostPost by: AussieJohn » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:10 pm

If you have to buy a body then get one with a body plate, problem solved, if the chassis is not in bond then duty has been sorted. If it has been here for years then it will not be held in bond waiting for duty to be paid.
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:15 pm

terryp wrote:No 20% VAT if it's Antiques and Arts !
Only 5.5% TOTAL

Terry


Terry,
The 5.5% doesn't appear to be easy to achieve without lots of documentary proof and evidence http://fbhvc.co.uk/value-for-importation/ it looks as though this route has been successfully used in the past but that now HMRC are challenging it and making it a wee bit more difficult.
Kindest regards

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PostPost by: terryp » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:28 pm

Alan
I believe the way the form works is that you have to show that other cars of a similar nature achieved "Antique" status.
I managed to get my French importer to do all the paperwork.

I had a PM about a year ago from a forum member who achieved the 5,5% on an S3 coming from Canada to the UK. He was happy to help with any documents

It looks as if this car has already been through the docks and sold again so no duty should be payable.

All the best

Terry
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PostPost by: ardee_selby » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:39 pm

terryp wrote:No 20% VAT if it's Antiques and Arts !
Only 5.5% TOTAL

Terry


Old cars don't appear to be identified as antiques or art by HMRC. They fall under the same "Tariff Heading 97.05" as:

"collections and collectors? pieces of zoological, botanical, mineralogical, anatomical, historical, archaeological, palaeontological, ethnographic or numismatic interest" :roll:

Ref: http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPort ... _CL_000280

There was this "landmark" case: http://fbhvc.co.uk/files/2010/07/127116 ... ling-2.pdf

"In November 2009, the European Commission updated its guidelines to national customs authorities. These now confirm that there is a presumption of ?historical interest? in favour of vehicles which are in their original state, without substantial changes to the chassis, steering or braking system and engine, at least 30 years old, and of a model or type which is no longer in production."

Cheers - Richard
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