Registering a vehicle that is not in your name or registered to you in Spain

Registering a vehicle that is not in your name or registered to you in Spain

If you have recently bought a vehicle and want to register it in your name in Spain, then there are a few important things that you need to remember.

If you have not owned a vehicle for more than 6 months before taking residency or signing on the Padron, you won’t be able to take advantage of the benefits of a change of residence registration (tax waivers and non-EU spec benefits) so the vehicle must have EU conformity that figures both on the manufacturer’s sticker attached to the vehicle and the section K of the EU vehicle documentation.

If you are a resident of Spain and buy a vehicle from an EU country, there is no Import VAT or Duty to pay on the vehicle registration, because the vehicle is from the EU

If you are a resident of Spain and the vehicle is from the UK, then there is Import VAT and Duty to pay in Spain. It’s important to check the vehicle was registered with EU spec before 31/12/2021, or it will not be considered to have EU spec in Spain, and you won’t be able to register it.

If you are already a resident of Spain and want to bring in a vehicle from outside the EU (not the UK), it’s likely that it will be extremely difficult to register as it doesn’t have the EU spec and therefore won’t pass an ITV test. These vehicles normally can only be registered for change of residence.

Proving you own the vehicle

Private sale
If you have bought a vehicle registered to a private individual, you must have a valid sales contract. If the sales contract isn’t in Spanish, it will need a legal translation in order to use the contract in Spain to register the vehicle.
The sales contract must be complete with the full vehicle details including the VIN number, full details of the previous owner and purchaser and sales price. You will also be asked to provide copies of the previous owner’s ID documents, passport or ID card, which matches the contract.
If you are a resident of Spain, a private sale will be subject to a change of ownership tax. If the purchase price on the sales contract exceeds the price calculated using the Spanish BOE, then the tax office will use the higher of the two amounts to calculate the tax.
As a non-resident, this tax should not be applicable, although we have seen cases where the Spanish tax authorities demanded this payment anyway.

Buying from a Business
If the vehicle you have purchased is in the name of a business, then you will need an official invoice from the business made out to the purchaser. The invoice must quote an EU VAT registration number for the business. When presenting the invoice to the DGT for final registration, it must be accompanied by an official translation if it isn’t in Spanish. In this instance, with the correct invoice and translation, a change of ownership tax isn’t applicable.
With the UK now outside the EU, if you are buying a vehicle registered in a business name in the UK it’s best to change the name on the registration logbook (V5c) into your name because UK companies can no longer issue an invoice with an EU vat number. Albeit, depending on your circumstance you may still need to pay change of ownership tax.

Key takeaways

Change of ownership tax doesn’t exist in most countries, but in Spain, it does and very much depends on the conditions of the purchase to whether it applies. Before buying a car or bringing a car to Spain it’s always best to check what taxes would be due.

Not all vehicles will qualify to pass an ITV technical inspection. Also, the requirements can vary from region to region. Just because a vehicle is registered in the Eu doesn’t mean it qualifies for a normal registration here in Spain.

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