As of 15th April 2013, a new procedure known as the Notification of Vehicle Arrival (NOVA), regarding vehicles entering the United Kingdom for permanent use, is being introduced by HMRC. The NOVA system should facilitate the process of vehicle registration, and the way that VAT is paid on these.
Under the new system, the vehicle shall have to be registered with HMRC within 14 days upon entry into the UK, and any VAT or duty be paid. Until this is done and the application has been processed, the owner of the car shall be unable to register or licence the vehicle with the Driving and Licensing Agency (DVLA) or the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland.
The NOVA system must be used by any VAT registered business bringing a vehicle into the UK, irrespective of where it originates from, and the vehicle itself must be for the purchasers own business use, or be intended for onward sale by the business.
For a VAT registered business, should the vehicle have been purchased from an EU country, then the VAT must be accounted for as acquisition VAT in the purchasers UK VAT return. The current Customs regulations shall apply to any vehicle having being purchased from outside of the EU.
For a non VAT registered business, or a private individual bringing a vehicle into the UK, it will be necessary to notify HMRC via NOVA and to pay the VAT due before clearance on the vehicle be granted. Should the vehicle enter the UK from outside of the EU, VAT and customs duty shall be due upon arrival. In this instance, HMRC will complete NOVA on behalf of the purchaser, in order to allow him to register his vehicle with the DLVA / DLA.
Information requirements for NOVA include the vehicle make, model, identification number, registration number (where applicable) and value.
NOVA can be easily accessed on the new NOVA online registration portal (provided the applicant has signed up for HMRC’s online services), although it will still be possible to register by completing the paper form NOVA 1. Any registration forms currently applicable to vehicle registration for VAT purposes shall no longer be valid after 15th April 2013.
The current rules regarding who must calculate and pay VAT to HMRC remain unaffected.
A VAT registered business may formally authorise a third party freight forwarder or tax agent to complete NOVA on their behalf. A non VAT registered business may authorise a third party to act for them on a non-formal basis.