Buying a new car


Generally, all new cars and cars that are imported into Ireland are subject to Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) and must be registered with Revenue. Before you can drive your car in a public place you must also:

  • Have vehicle registration plates
  • Have motor insurance
  • Have paid motor tax

This document explains what is involved in buying a new car in Ireland from a dealer or a garage. In other documents you will find information on:

There is also a consumer guide to buying a car.

Vehicle labelling

Since July 2008, a labelling system allows consumers to compare the carbon (CO2) emissions of new cars. The first section of the label shows the emission bands and identifies the band for the particular vehicle to which a label is attached. The second section of the label provides three important points of information for consumers:

  • The amount of fuel required to run the vehicle over 18,000 kilometres
  • The annual motor tax payable
  • The rate of VRT payable on the vehicle

The third section of the label supplements the information provided in the first and second sections, and introduces the importance of driving behaviour. The remaining sections of the label provide essential information on the actual vehicle to which it is attached, including make, model, engine capacity, transmission, fuel type and consumption.

Buying from a car dealer

When you buy your new car from a dealer (for example, car showrooms), it is the dealer's responsibility to register the vehicle and pay the required tax before giving it to you.

Every new car is liable for Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT), which is payable when the car is first registered. The price of the vehicle should include the cost of VRT. There is more information on VRT in our document on importing a car.

Once the vehicle has been registered and the VRT paid, your car dealer will receive:

  • A receipt for the VRT paid showing the registration number assigned to your car
  • A Form RF 100 for use when you are applying for motor tax (see below)

Vehicle registration plates

Vehicle registration plates showing the assigned registration number must be displayed on your car within 3 days of the date of registration. The dealer should have the registration plates fitted by the time you take possession of it.

Vehicle registration certificate

The vehicle registration certificate for your car is issued by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. This will be posted out to you after you have applied to your local motor tax office to pay motor tax on your vehicle.

Motor insurance

It is a legal requirement to have motor insurance and to display the insurance disc on the windscreen, if you want to drive your car in a public place. You will need your motor insurance details when applying for motor tax. Read more about the requirement for motor insurance here.

Motor tax

Motor tax is a charge imposed by the Government on motor vehicles. Not only must you pay motor tax if you want to drive your car in a public place, but you are also required to display evidence that you have paid (that is, a current tax disc) on the windscreen.

The charge for motor tax for a new car is based on the car's CO2 emissions and on engine size for other vehicles. Some vehicles are exempt. Read more about the requirement for motor tax here.

Tax reliefs and exemptions

There are different reductions, reliefs and exemptions from VRT. You can find information on VRT reliefs and exemptions and VRT reductions for certain electrical vehicles, on Revenue’s website. Tax relief is also available under the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme.

Electric vehicles grant scheme

A grant scheme is available for battery-powered electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrids meeting specific standards. The grant level applicable depends on the List Price of the vehicle. The maximum grant is €5,000. There is no grant for vehicles with a List Price of less than €14,000.

The grant is provided to the dealer and the benefit is passed on to you as a price reduction on the vehicle. Further information on the grant scheme is available on the website of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

Page edited: 19 October 2018