Revealed: how 40,000 cars are being imported every year
u One buyer's VRT bill came to €62,000
• Figures emerge as new-car sales slide
More than 37,000 private motorists brought in, bought or registered a used import last year.
And one of them paid more than €62,000 in Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) alone on a vehicle that cost a fortune to buy.
The trend on used imports is continuing this year with 3,499 already registered during January.
That is up from 2,955 in January 2011 and 3,373 for the corresponding month last year.
At a time when new-car sales here are falling, nearly 40,000 used cars were imported – particularly from the UK.
The figures, compiled by the Revenue Commissioners at the request of Independent Motors, break into two areas:
1. A total of 3,429 cars were imported and registered in company names.
2. And 37,101 were imported and registered in the names of private individuals.
They compare with 3,470 imports registered in company names in 2011 when 37,559 were imported and registered by private individuals.
The figures show there has been a remarkably consistent pattern of purchase abroad, though they are modest compared with the boom in imports of a few years back.
Some industry observers foresee an increase in imports as fewer home-based cars come on the market.
But experts are urging buyers to be extremely careful about where and from whom they buy abroad as it can be difficult, in some circumstances impossible, to get any backup if a car gives trouble.
The average amount of Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) paid on passenger vehicles in 2012 was €2,138, and €2,105 in 2011.
The smallest amount of VRT paid was €200. However, the largest single payment for an imported vehicle was €62,538.
A Revenue Commissioner spokeswoman declined to reveal the total valuation or identity of the car. She said in the interests of privacy for the person bringing it in, it would not be appropriate to release any further information.
The corresponding VRT figures for 2011 were €50 (smallest) with the largest single payment of €46,080.
There were 21 District Court prosecutions for VRT offences during 2012, leading to €61,000 in fines.
There were 20 in 2011 when the fines came to €102,500. This included one of €50,000 as one prosecution dealt with 32 vehicles.
Since September 1, 2010 you have up to 30 days to complete the registration of an import "to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners".
Before that, you had to submit details to a Vehicle Registration Office within one working day of its arrival in the country.