Find the answers to many of your expat questions here

View Latest Posts

You're missing out...

As a member you can enjoy exclusive info and offers.


Buying a French car

Posted by ronsmum - Created: 3 years ago
0 0
Sorry no image available

10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

Sorry no image available
Posted by bhouse-10060550 - 3 years ago

Reveuse, you can only choose where you pay tax if you are a multi-billion $/€ company, not the likes of you and me.

Sorry no image available
Posted by chèvrefeuille - 3 years ago

Put yourself in the position of a Sun or Daily Express reader and you will be glad that all the immigrant  workers from Eastern Europe aren't getting away with driving their car on UK roads without paying the due taxes.

Where the UK system falls down is it is now very difficult for anyone returning to the UK to take their EU registered car with them. They become a British resident the moment they arrive in England so cannot legally drive their car. As all vehicle registration is now done through the DVLA website there can be quite a delay getting everything sorted. At least the French allow new residents to use their cars for a month while they sort out its registration; it's just a shame that this facility is abused by so many.

Sorry no image available
Posted by Reveuse-918439 - 3 years ago

Given freedom of choice I'd register my car in France, register my business and pay NICs in the UK, and register for income tax in Belgium. Drat these pesky rules!

Sorry no image available
Posted by Field18 - 3 years ago

It is all to do with taxation. For example UK registered cars have to be taxed annually and once over 3 yrs old require annual MOT. French registered cars are taxed once only on initial registration. French Control Technique is every 2 years when car is over 4 yrs old.

If we had the freedom you think/believe we should have what is to stop people having their RHD cars French registered, then taking them back to the UK and not have to pay annual road tax or have annual MOT. Just a trip over the channel every 2 yrs for CT.

In fact you would find the cheapest EU country to register/tax/test a car and everyone would register them there.

Until the EU rationalises its systems for taxing and testing vehicles the ruling will remain regarding residents driving foreign registered vehicles.

Sorry no image available
Posted by Reveuse-918439 - 3 years ago

Giving people complete freedom of movement is a nice ideal, but there is also the little matter of ensuring they are accountable, and there have to be rules about who pays what where. Otherwise if all EU citizens had a completely free rein as to where they registered their cars and their businesses etc, people would pay their social contributions to one state, their income tax in another state and register their car in a third - whatever worked out cheapest. Each EU state has its own economy and needs to be able to enforce its own taxes on its own residents. You can't have no rules on these things. 

Though I agree that the rules as they stand are barely fit for purpose.

Sorry no image available
Posted by handy--man@hotmail.co.uk - 3 years ago

Hi again all. Reading through this thread it appears that in my previous scenario.….


“If British residents keep a French vehicle at a French holiday home that they own, they cannot drive that vehicle as they are not French residents. Is that correct?”


…Should the British holiday maker/s make a trip in the vehicle to anywhere in the E.U. i.e. Spain, Belgium etc, it/that would be completely legal. However driving over to the U.K on a ferry would be illegal.


Isn’t this flying in the face of the various free movement of, well ‘everything’ that supposedly the union was set up for in the first place? (More of an observation than a question I suppose!)

Sorry no image available
Posted by chèvrefeuille - 3 years ago

Thanks Rance, residency is what I meant to write... honest.

Sorry no image available
Posted by Rance-384571 - 3 years ago

chevrefeuille,,basically quite right but it's not nationality but residency

Kamac, where do you think my quotes were from? They were from the DVLA which hasn't changed its stance on UK residents not being allowed to drive non UK reg cars in the UK.

Where's the chap gone who works for the MEP, hope it's not an MEP from my area!!

Sorry no image available
Posted by hillhead - 3 years ago

This is from the DVLA website:

7. Temporary imports

You can usually use a vehicle with non-UK number plates without needing to tax or register it in the UK if all of the following apply:

you’re visiting and don’t plan to live here you only use the vehicle up to 6 months in a 12-month period (one single visit, or several shorter visits adding up to a 6-month period) the vehicle is registered and taxed in its home country

You must tax and register your vehicle in the UK if you become a resident or your stay is longer than 6 months.


As has been pointed out, there is no grey area, no point for consideration. If you are a UK resident you cannot use a foreign registered vehicle in the UK.

Sorry no image available
Posted by chèvrefeuille - 3 years ago

The vehicle is legal to drive in any country but the legality of the driver to use it is determined by their nationality. France allows its residents to drive an imported vehicle in France for a month before it is registered, the U.K. allows no time at all.