Importing a car for business use

Published by:
Netherlands Vehicle Authority, RDW
Netherlands Vehicle Authority, RDW
Netherlands Tax Administration, Belastingdienst
Netherlands Tax Administration, Belastingdienst
Checked 19 Oct 2022
2 min read
Nederlandse versie

You are moving to the Netherlands to start a business, and you want to bring your car with you, either as a business vehicle, or privately owned with some use for business purposes. First, if you are importing cars to the Netherlands, you will need to register your vehicle with the RDW (Netherlands Vehicle Authority) and the Netherlands Tax Administration. Then you need to know the rules for using it.

Are you importing a vehicle from outside the EU?

If you move to the Netherlands and bring your car with you as a so-called ‘moving article,’ you can keep your registration plates for 6 months. After that, you have to apply for Dutch vehicle registration at the RDW. The rules when requesting vehicle registration for a vehicle from inside a non-EU/EFTA country are stringent. Your vehicle must be approved by the RDW and it requires a physical inspection. Learn more about the registration rules and application process.

When importing a newly-bought vehicle from outside the EU, you will also have to pay customs duty.

Are you importing a vehicle from inside the EU?

The rules when requesting vehicle registration for a vehicle from inside an EU or European Free Trade Association country are different from those when requesting registration for a vehicle from outside the EU or EFTA member states. For example, if your vehicle still has a valid foreign vehicle approval (APK), then the RDW can take over this expiration date. Learn more about the rules and application process.

Obligations that come with a Dutch vehicle registration

If you have a vehicle registered to your name in the Netherlands, you need to meet certain obligations for that vehicle. They involve:

  • From the moment the vehicle is registered in your name, the vehicle must have third party insurance (according to the Dutch Motor Insurance Liability Act (Dutch WAM)). Exception: trailers up to and including 3,500 kg have insurance based on the towing vehicle.
  • The vehicle needs to have approved periodic motor vehicle test (APK). This does not apply to motorcycles, mopeds, and trailers/caravans up to and including 3,500 kg.
  • You need to pay private vehicle and motorcycle tax (bpm). This applies to passenger cars, vans, trucks, and motorcycles.
  • You will need to pay motor vehicle tax (aka road tax, motorrijtuigenbelasting or wegenbelasting in Dutch).
  • Your vehicle needs to carry correct registration plates.

You can find more exhaustive information on the obligations for vehicle owners on the RDW website.

Is your car for private or company use?

When you use a car for business purposes, it is not automatically a company car. If you register in the Netherlands as a sole proprietor or a cooperative, you cannot register your car as a company car. It is important that you find out into which category your car falls, as this affects your income tax and VAT.

If you have a company car which you also use privately, this may have fiscal consequences for the payroll tax and the turnover tax (VAT). Read more about private use of a company car.

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Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Tax Administration, Belastingdienst