Tips: Import of a vintage car from Italy

When importing used cars from abroad, some legal rules and measures must also be observed within the EU. On the one hand there are regulations in the country of export and on the other hand certain documents are required for registration in Germany.

FIAT 130 Coupe
FIAT 130 Coupe

Taxes and Customs

Selling a used vehicle from one country within the EU to another is no longer a border transaction. This means that the used vehicle does not have to be declared for importation at any customs office, either at the border or at your place of residence. The VAT is as follows:

  • Private person buys the used car from a private person in another EU country: There is no VAT, neither in the country of purchase nor in Germany.
  • Private individual buys from a car dealer in another EU country: This requires a gross price including the VAT usual in the country and the buyer pays the gross price. No further value-added tax will be charged in Germany. There is no VAT refund.
  • Paying more than 5,000 € in cash in Italy is a criminal offence (Money Laundering Act).
    Payment: Prepare instant bank transfer at your own bank, arrange on the spot by telephone.

Documents for vehicles purchased in Italy

  • Purchase contract as proof of ownership (seller, buyer, object, FIN, date of delivery, SEPA credit transfer data), notarial certification of the contract (?) (Recommended: Create a specified German contract text and have it translated).
  • Carta di circolazione (“libretto”) – Italian vehicle documents.
  • Certificato di Proprietà is an extract from a “Public Automobile Register” of the province in which the vehicle was last registered. The document is not always easy to obtain!
  • Certificate of deregistration: In Italy, cars must become “demolizione”, which is equivalent to scrapping in Germany, as otherwise tax claims may arise. The Carta di Circolazione states that final export within the EU will take place. The deregistration procedure can take a long time, so bring your time or organize it beforehand.

Transfer of vehicle from Italy to Germany

There are several possibilities for the transfer of used cars, depending on where the transfer is to take place and whether it is a registered or a deregistered vehicle.

  • Car transport with car forwarding agency, for example, obtaining offers via car transport portals. Read the conditions because of insurance of the goods in transit!
  • Transport on the trailer is always problem-free, because neither insurance nor approval is necessary.
  • An export or transfer registration number of the country of purchase and liability insurance, which is only expensive or difficult to obtain in Italy, is always completely correct.
  • German short-term license plate and insurance is not recognized in Italy.

Necessary documents in original for the German approval

  • Identity card or passport.
  • Confirmation of insurance.
  • Presentation of the original purchase contract, on the basis of which the change of ownership is proven.
  • Italian “Certificato di Proprietà” and Carta di circolazione (Italian driving papers).
  • Certificate of deregistration from Italy.
  • Certificate of full acceptance by the TÜV according to §21 of the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations, if necessary classic car appraisal according to § 23 of the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations (StVZO) for H-plates.
  • If the vehicle does not have EU type-approval, a data sheet for the vehicle type must be available. The largest collection of data sheets in Germany: TÜV traffic and vehicle GmbH, specialized group collector vehicles and foreign appraisal, Krailenshaldenstr. 30, 70469 Stuttgart. The manufacturer or its general importer for Germany could also be helpful in this case.
  • If the used vehicle is more than three years old, proof of the main inspection and exhaust emission test must be submitted.
  • For imports from Italy: Certificate of the year of manufacture of the vehicle, available from the manufacturer.
  • The registration office also requires a clearance certificate (validity max. 1 month) from the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA). Ask the authority whether you have to bring this certificate yourself or whether the authority applies for the paper. If you have to do this, you can apply to the Federal Motor Transport Authority in Flensburg. This certificate proves that the vehicle has not been stolen or that there are other reasons, for example FIN is already registered, against a registration.
  • Direct debit authorization for motor vehicle tax.

These data were collected from various sources, some of which contradicted each other. I would be grateful for current corrections.