Customs and taxes on used and new cars
Importing used cars
The procedure with importing a used car is the same as with importing a new one. When a physical person buys a used car from abroad from a private person he has to get a sale contract verified at a notary and at the local customs the physical person gets a EUR1 certificate which proves the European origin of the vehicle. For used cars of the value up to 6,000 Euros you don’t need a EUR1 certificate, but a statement from the supplier about the European origin of the vehicle.
If you paid for the car in the full (gross) amount, you can get a tax refund (tax free), when you are leaving the European Union. When you come to the border, the procedure is the same as with the new car. However, the most important thing is that the used car corresponds to the Croatian terms and conditions for homologation. So, before you buy a car on your own, you should contact a licensed person in Croatia who issues a homologation form for a certain vehicle to eliminate this risk factor. At the same time you should be extremely careful when buying a car imported from the United States or a car which was intended to be sold in the United States.
In fact, such cars can he homologised and registered in Germany, because they do not need a verification from the manufacturer, but only an individual check-up. In Germany the parts are changed, that is the cars are modified, which is not possible in Croatia and the verification from the manufacturer is modified. In Germany the verification from the manufacturer can be modified, which is not the case in Croatia. So, a car can have an engine which satisfies the Euro IV, but because of some small details (lights, tail lamp, glasses…) which do not fit our homologization terms and conditions it cannot be driven in Croatia.
The difference between paying a toll for the imported used and an imported new car is in the fact that the taxes for a used car are bigger than those for the new car. In fact, for a used car with an engine up to 1600cc an additional tax of 50% is paid, and a tax up to 100% is paid for the cars with engines with more than 1600cc.
Importing a new car
Regardless of the fact that importing a new car is rather rare in Croatia (importing without the help of licensed importers) it is good to know the procedure so in the end you could register your car. After the customer gets a receipt from the supplier, he shouldn’t forget to ask for the EUR1, a certificate which proves the European origin of the car. Owing to that certificate the customer will be exempt from paying customs when importing. If you want to import cars which are not from the European Union you would have to pay customs up to 8%.
When crossing the border the car should be declared as all other merchandise, meaning that you should make a customs declaration (UCD) in which the car is registered and which obliges the future owner to clear the car through customs in the next seven days. But, in order to do that the owner has to do the homologation process. In order to do this it is necessary that you get the manufacturer’s declaration which is in general issued by the general importers of a certain brand of cars. This costs HRK 402,6 for a personal vehicle. Alongside HRK 70 for revenue stamp in HAK you will pay HRK 500 for a single vehicle check-up on the basis of which you will get a E25 certificate, which proves that the vehicle corresponds to Croatian homologation terms and conditions. After that the car goes through customs clearance, which usually lasts a day during which the physical person has to approve the transporter in the local customs who is actually a trustee in the customs clearance process. Then the buyer gets all the deposit slips for the payment of all the government taxes which amount to 8% in the name of the customs if the car is not from EU, than the tax which amounts from 13 to 48 per cent depending on the value of the vehicle, and VAT is also added on this. When you pay all of these taxes, you get a unique customs declaration (jedinstvena carinska deklaracija - JCD) which server as an evidence about the import and serves for further registration.
After the technical check-up with the receipt, the JCD form, the bill from the supplier and the E25 certificate, you go to the Ministry of the Interior, where you will do the final registration of the imported car.
Croatian customs officers in the vast majority of cases do not acknowledge the prices which are written on the sale contract of the bill. The second issue which bothers this individual importer is payment of the transport expenses which are calculated in the basis for the customs. No matter whether you towed your car into customs or have driven it a thousand miles throughout Europe, you have to pay for the transport expenses. Tax is calculated into these expenses. This amount is also calculated in the basis for the customs.
Today it is very popular to buy imported expensive used or luxurious car privately or through a company. These ‘used’ cars are not older than 12 months from the date of the first registration and are imported as new vehicles through customs. This means that you don’t need to buy the before-mentioned customs taxes, that is additional taxes of 50 and 100 per cent on models with 1600cc engines or engines over 1600cc. But, you have to be careful because of homologation processes, because Germans, due to weak dollar, often import expensive cars form the USA. The buyer could get into serious problems if he is interested in a car not older than a year, for which the homologation process was not checked because later it can be established that the car does not meet all the requirements.