If you are relocating to Spain, it is likely you will need a car. You can either import your car and change the car plate or decide to buy a vehicle directly in Spain.
We have put this guide together on how to purchase a vehicle in Spain to help you out in this process.
Buying a car in Spain is not complicated if you are a resident and usually your NIE and your residence permit (or empadronamiento) will be enough.
When purchasing your vehicle, the seller should provide you the following documentation:
- The car’s log book
- Car technical specifications
- European certificate of conformity (provided by the manufacturer)
- The ITV document (equivalent of the UK MOT)
- Legal purchase agreement
Once the car has been purchased, you will need to register it or to proceed to the transfer of ownership (see below). If you buy it from a car dealer, chances are they’ll take care of it for you (sometimes against a small fee) or you could get help from a gestor.
2. Taxes when buying a vehicle in Spain
When purchasing a vehicle in Spain, whether new or second-hand, you almost always have some taxes to pay. Here is an overview of the taxes you need to consider in the buying process :
A- Buying a new vehicle or second-hand from a car dealer
When buying a new car, the sale is subject to VAT. The general rate applied in Spain is 21% of the purchase price or 4% in the case of a person with reduced mobility.
This tax also applies to second hand cars if they are purchased from a car dealer.
B- Buying a second hand car from a particular
If you buy a second hand car from a particular in Spain, you don’t have to pay the VAT but the ITP (Impuesto de Transmisiones Patrimoniales). This varies from region to region and is between 4% and 8% of the “official” value of your car.
The Ministry of Finance uses a scale system to calculate the “official value of your car” based on its depreciation. The age and the power of the vehicle are taken into account in this calculation.
C- IVTM, municipal tax
The IVTM (Impuesto de Vehículos de Tracción Mecánica) is a local tax, paid annually to the municipality where the vehicle is registered. All vehicles must pay this tax, whether new or used.
The tax is set by municipal authorities and varies from one area to another. The type of car and mainly its CO2 emission can offer some advantages for this road tax. For example, if you purchase an electric car, reductions of up to 75% can be applied.
When buying the car, the most common case is that the buyer pays this tax from the year following the purchase, except if both parties agree on a different scenario.
D-Registration tax for new cars
The registration tax only applies to new cars and costs between 0 and 14.75% of the purchase price.
This tax aims to penalize the most polluting cars as it is calculated according to the C02 emissions of your vehicle. For example, vehicles emitting less than 120g/km of CO2 are exempt from this tax.
3. Get your licence plate for new vehicles
When purchasing a new vehicle, you must apply for your licence plate.
In order to do this, you need to collect the following documents:
- Application form
- A roadworthiness certificate
- Proof of payment of the administrative cost. This can be paid in person or online (current price of 98.78 euros)
- Proof of having previously paid the taxes necessary for carrying out the procedure:
- Circulación del Ayuntamiento tax
- Registration tax (model 576, 06 or 05 from the national tax agency)
This procedure can be carried out:
- In person by presenting the above documents to a Jefatura u Oficina de Tráfico. Beforehand, make sure you book an appointment via internet or by calling 060. You will need to bring an official identity document (DNI, Spanish driving license, residence permit, passport with NIE)
- Via internet through the Electronic Register. For this you must be in possession of an electronic DNI or a digital certificate
You will then receive your new license plate and your vehicle’s registration card.
4. Changing car ownership for second hand vehicle
When purchasing a second hand vehicle, you have 30 days to change the car ownership.
In order to carry ot the change of car ownership, you need to collect the following documents:
- Application form for change of ownership
- Sales agreement signed by both the buyer and the seller
- Official identity document of the buyer (DNI, Spanish driving license, residence permit, passport with NIE)
- Official identity document of the seller (DNI, Spanish driving license, residence permit, passport with NIE)
- Proof of payment of administrative costs (for a vehicle, form 1.5 with a price of 55.15 euros)
- Proof of payment or exemption from ITP tax
This procedure can be carried out:
- In person by presenting the above documents to a Jefatura u Oficina de Tráfico. Beforehand, make sure you book an appointment via internet or by calling 060.
- Via internet through the DGT register tab “Cambio de titularidad – Presentación general”.
Once the change is made, a new vehicle’s registration card will be sent to you.
5. Car insurance in Spain
You should know that if you are going to drive in Spain, it is a legal requirement to have a car insurance, regardless of the type of vehicle you have. Anyone driving without insurance can be fined up to 3000 euros.
As in many other countries, there are three main types of car insurances in Spain :
- Third party insurance. This is the most economical option and covers all damages and costs incurred by third parties, but it doesn’t cover any of your own costs. This is the minimum insurance required by law in Spain.
- Third party fire and theft covers standard third party liability and some damages to your own vehicle such as theft and fire.
- Comprehensive insurance which covers all damages caused to others and to yourself even if the accident was your fault.
To compare the different insurance companies in Spain, you can use website such as Rastreator which allows you to compare your different options depending on the type of vehicle you own and the insurance you are looking for.
Each car insurance company has its own processes and the documentation to bring may vary from one company to another. The most common documents you will need to bring are :
- NIE or residence permit
- Vehicle technical specifications
- Vehicle registration
- Driver’s license and date of issue
- Address in Spain
- Vehicle purchase invoice
- MOT certificate for second hand vehicles
- No claims bonus
We have just seen that buying a vehicle in Spain is easier than importing a car. However, it still requires to follow a number of steps.
For more information on how to buy a car in Spain or to get help with the process, contact us 🙂