Importing a car

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Westone
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Importing a car

Post by Westone » Mon Jan 19, 2004 3:37 am

My wife is a Finnish Citizen and we are considering moving back to Oulu in the next couple of years.

Does anyone know a company that specializes in importing vehicles bought in the U.S. and shipped to Finland? If possible I would like to deal with one company for the shipping and taking care of any taxes, registration, etc..

Also, what are the specific laws regarding how long we need to own the car in the U.S. and in Finland?

Does anyone know of which cars would yield the most profit when sold (BMW, Mercedes, Saab, Volvo ???) or any companies that specialize in these types of transactions. We are viewing this purely as an investment opportunity.

As a U.S. Citizen, would I also be able to import a vehicle (without paying import taxes) as a personal effect?

Thanks in advance for your responses.



Importing a car

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Caroline
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Re: Importing a car

Post by Caroline » Mon Jan 19, 2004 7:45 am

Westone wrote:My wife is a Finnish Citizen and we are considering moving back to Oulu in the next couple of years.

Does anyone know of which cars would yield the most profit when sold (BMW, Mercedes, Saab, Volvo ???) or any companies that specialize in these types of transactions. We are viewing this purely as an investment opportunity.

As a U.S. Citizen, would I also be able to import a vehicle (without paying import taxes) as a personal effect?

Thanks in advance for your responses.



Hi and welcome to the group. My husband and I live in Oulu too!

Definitely not those makes. Especially here in Oulu, nobody seems to like SAABs- you might end up paying someone to take it off your hands, and the other makes mentioned are manufactured "locally" so they don't have any perceived value.

An American make "jenkkiauto" would be a good choice. Remember those "welfare wagons" Chevy Caprice Classics from the 80's? Makes such as those, they are hot collector's items here...though I can't see why because they take up 2 parking spaces and require a small fortune to keep the tank full.

I'm sure others will be advising on taxation and shipping.
Former expat in Finland, now living in New Hampshire USA.

Remembah whea ya pahked ya cah!


Ian
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Post by Ian » Mon Jan 19, 2004 8:48 am

Importing vehicles to Finland is not something to be taken lightly. It is a long drawn out and stressful business!! I have imported a car and a motorcycle to Finland and would have to say, that if you are looking for an investment opportunity, then look elsewhere!
Firstly. You are only allowed to import one vehicle to Finland tax free as part of your move here and you must have owned the vehicle for more than 6 months.
If you want to import more than one vehicle, then you will be charged tax. Even though the tax has been significantly reduced as part of an EU ruling, it can still be quite hefty.
I got my car in tax free with alot of hassles at customs, but I had to pay tax on my bike. To give you an idea, it is a 95 Kawasaki ZX6R which is probably only worth £1-1500 in the UK. Finnish tax authorities charged me €1500 to bring it here. The tax decisions take months and there is no real way to know what the decision is worth as there are so many factors and conditions.
Once you have registered a vehicle here, you must keep it for at least a year (it could be more - I can't remember) so once you are in a position to be legally allowed to sell it, at least 18 months will have gone by! So I would say that there are much better ways to invest your money.
Importing for personal use is worthwhile, but I would seriously not recomend importing a car for profit. In my experience, the frustration is just not worth it. Otherwise we would all be doing it!! :?
Hope this helps in some way!!


shoppo
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Post by shoppo » Mon Jan 19, 2004 11:47 am

We imported a car from the US about 9 months ago. And yes, we also had some hassles with getting it through customs, made difficult because neither of us could speak Finnish.

But, because we were importing only one vehicle, and because we had owned it for more than 6 months, we didn't have to pay tax. However, there were a few things that happened that I had not expected:

o parts: we brought a Ford Escort. I thought that this would be perfect, since Ford is a such a multinational company. However, I was unable to buy wheels or an engine block heater - I was told that a US Ford is different from a European ford. In the end I just had to buy winter tyres and accept that I will have to pay a little money each season to have the tyres switched. I wish I had brought a spare set of wheels. And, we don't have an engine block heater, which everybody says is essential. Well, the cars still running. Other spare parts have had to be ordered - I needed a brake cable - it took 2 weeks to arrive, but at least they were able to get it.

o setting up the car for Finland: there are different requirements on the external features of cars here. We had to get extra side lights, and an extra fog light put on the car, before it could pass the roadworthiness test. Additionally we had to get a hazard triangle.

o regulations about who could drive the car: for a period of time (I think it was a year), there had to be at least one member of our family in the car (even if it was just the baby!). So, there is no possibility of lending the car to other people for a while.

o limitations on when the car can be sold. We are required to keep the car for some time - I think the period was two years.

In total, I think it was about 3-5 days of effort, going up and down to tax offices, to the harbour, to garages, and registration places. It was a major headache and I was cursing the effort, expense, etc. But, I'm really glad that we did, because buying a new car in Finland is extremely expensive, and having a car here has been very useful: going to national parks, visiting other cities, moving apartments, and carrying large amounts of shopping around. Yes, the public transport system is really good, but its worth the effort of bringing the car in - though you can expect a lot of headaches to start.

Good luck!

Shop


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Hank W.
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Post by Hank W. » Mon Jan 19, 2004 12:05 pm

OK, read this through:
http://www.tulli.fi/english/files/2003_08_eng.html
A few things that require "understanding"

a) make & models there are different than here
b) the price of the car assessed is not the price of your car. it is the price of a similar assessed car in Finland.
c) you are not coming from the EU so read the "outside-EU" stuff
d) if you are looking for it to be "cheaper" to have some company do the forwarding, car+freight+their charges+gtting the car into spec = cheaper?
Cheers, Hank W.
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neil
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Post by neil » Mon Jan 19, 2004 12:24 pm

[quote="Hank W."]
b) the price of the car assessed is not the price of your car. it is the price of a similar assessed car in Finland.
[quote]

I have heard that even the price of a so called similarly assessed car is still 20% more than the real price.
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Hank W.
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Post by Hank W. » Mon Jan 19, 2004 12:25 pm

Why of course, they always add VAT 22% on everything here :D
Cheers, Hank W.
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neil
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Post by neil » Mon Jan 19, 2004 1:01 pm

Henry Henry Henry, they add the 22% VAT on top of the 20% inflated price! The figures speak for themselves.
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Post by Guest » Mon Jan 19, 2004 2:58 pm

neil wrote:
Hank W. wrote: b) the price of the car assessed is not the price of your car. it is the price of a similar assessed car in Finland.

I have heard that even the price of a so called similarly assessed car is still 20% more than the real price.

Yep, yep... That can be a real pain in the *beep*.
I imported my Honda Prelude, type IV, from 1994. It's not in production anymore and it was compared in the price table with a Toyota Celica of 2002, which was at the time of my importing about € 20.000 more expensive than my car when it was new.
So they have this tendency of icky comparisons when they calculate what you are supposed to pay in tax.

Eventually I didn't have to pay any tax, because the car was too old, but when I first e-mailed with tulli about the car before I came to Finland and they told me I had to pay about € 17.000 tax when importing (about twice the value of what it still had) it gave me a good scare :roll:


shoppo
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Post by shoppo » Tue Jan 20, 2004 1:10 pm

Hmm- so I got all worried about the info I gave. Was it true? Did I really pay tax and just forgot because of the anguish? Well, I checked with the missus - she's also under the impression that we did not have to pay tax because we had had the car for 6 months.

But - we might've both got confused about why we didn't have to pay (our knowledge of Finnish was 'hello=Hei' at that time). Our car was old too - which sounds like the more likely reason.

Sorry if I gave out incorrect/incomplete info - please ignore everything I ever say again (sob).
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Timppa
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Post by Timppa » Sat Mar 27, 2004 3:29 am

Hi there!

First of all I want to say that these Forum here is a very good thing and thanks to the moderators for the help they are providing.

I am a Swiss citizen living in Switzerland currently. I am planning to move to Finland in June 2004. My plan was to buy a car and pack all my stuff in it and just drive there. But now that I have read these articles here I am getting a bit scared about importing the car cause I will definitely not hit the 6 months rule.

I intend to buy a cheap old car (10 to 15 years) which will cost between EUR 2000 and EUR 5000. How much taxes do I have to take into account approximately? EUR 100, EUR 1'000, EUR 10'000 or even more?

Timppa


dusty_bin
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Post by dusty_bin » Sat Mar 27, 2004 5:29 am

Buy a junker and plan to scrap it. Driving to here is cheaper than paying for transport for the goodies. Keep the car six months and then kill it. If you can find a way to keep it then u win a bonus, if not then still money saved.


miti
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Post by miti » Sat Mar 27, 2004 6:47 pm

Last time I checked the information in tulli (it was about a month ago) you can sell the car only after THREE years. There are also restrictions about who can drive/use it during this time period (I think it was only family). They have changed the ruled quite recently, so it is worth reading all those small lines.

Timppa - it could make a very big difference with the tax if you don't own the car 6 months before your arrival. Try to contact the Finnish custom in order to have an estimation on the taxes. My boyfriend and I want to move to Finland from Germany in September-October this year and we have just had a few crazy weeks searching for a car (bought it this Wednesday) in order to own it 6 months before we arrive.

The regulations are quite strict about it - for instance, you can't leave the car in Switzerland and bring it over in September - you have to actually use it and be with your car in the same country for those 6 months. :cry:


Timppa
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Post by Timppa » Sat Mar 27, 2004 9:32 pm

Thanks for the fast replies!

I have been reading through that information from tulli.fi in English again.

http://www.tulli.fi/en/02_Publications/ ... 8_eng.jsp1

And now even I got it. The tax very much depends on the price you would pay for a similar car when you would buy it in Finland. So I better make sure I buy a car that is well-known and with liquid market prices before I have to pay taxes on any fantasy price. :wink:

Or I buy a car that weighs more than 1850 kg and is taller than 1.90. :wink:

Nearly 35% (28% + 22% VAT) is quite something. :wink:
What are they going to do with all that money? Building new roads I hope. :wink:

Well, there is no way out. I just have to take into account that "little" extra costs in my financial planning. It's a bit "funny" that the car tax might be higher than the car itself. :wink:

Thanks again for the fast replies!
Terveisiä kaikille!
Timppa


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bohica
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Post by bohica » Sat Mar 27, 2004 11:11 pm

I very strongly suggest that you write the Finnish customs (tulli) an email before you import a car. They will respond. I was absolutely shocked by how they calulate the value of a car in Finland. It can't hurt to write, and it's better than getting a huge bill when you get here.

Having said all that, I brought my car here, and it was definitely worth it.


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