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Importing a car for business use

This information is provided by Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RDW) | Dutch Tax and Customs Administration

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, you will need to register your vehicle with the RDW (Netherlands Vehicle Authority) and the Tax and Customs Administration. Then you need to know the rules for using it.

Moving from within or outside an EU / EFTA country?

If you move to the Netherlands and take 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 registrationExternal link at the RDW (Netherlands Vehicle Authority). When importing a newly-bought vehicle from outside the EU, you will have to pay customs dutyExternal link. 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, the vehicle testing process for cars from a non-EU/EFTA country are more stringent.

Read how to apply for Dutch registration for an EU/EFTA registered vehicle External link

Read how to apply for Dutch registration for a non-EU/EFTA registered vehicleExternal link

Obligations that come with a Dutch 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 websiteExternal link.

Private or company car?

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.
This is how you know if you have a private car or a company car
  • If your personal use of the car exceeds 500 kilometres per year, you can opt to let it remain your private property.
  • If your personal use of the car is less than 500 kilometres per year, then for income tax purposes you own a company car. Different rules apply.
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.

Any further questions?

Dutch Tax and Customs Administration

Tax Information Line for non-residents +31 (0)55 538 53 85

Tax Information Line for residents 0800 0543

This information is provided by

Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RDW)
Dutch Tax and Customs Administration