In my line of business I hear so many false stories I am no longer surprised at how creative some people can be at making them up. I have no idea where these tales originate and whilst many of them can be hilarious, most are downright misleading. However one abiding truth that everyone seems to have heard about is the potential pitfalls associated with selling or buying Spanish registered vehicles. No amount of exaggeration justifies the problems that can be caused

This doesn’t mean that you should never sell or buy a vehicle over here but it is absolutely vital to do it right. Transferring ownership via DVLA in the UK is free and simple, here it is complex and the taxman wants his pound of flesh too

Advertising and values

So how do you sell your vehicle? Essentially the same way that you do back home such as mentioning to your friends that your former pride and joy is for sale or advertising it. For many expats the difficulty is the language and unless you are only targeting the English speaking population you may need the help of a bilingual

The cost of vehicles in Spain is much higher than in other counties so it can be difficult to know how much to sell the vehicle for. Its value is what people are prepared to pay irrespective of what you think it may be worth, so check out similar vehicles for sale in the Costa News and other media. A very good website exists where folks buy and sell vehicles so is a good source of information as well as providing an advertising platform. The site is and works in a similar fashion to autotrader in the UK. With even the most basic of Spanish you can find what you are looking for

A very common way of advertising which I have successfully used when selling my own cars is the “Se Vende” sign in the windows. For my part I added “I speak English” and “Hablo Español”, but if the language is a problem you could try a “For Sale” sign instead. Bear in mind that whilst the vast majority of Brits and Irish have no problem whatsoever in driving right hand drive cars as we have done so for most of our lives, such vehicles will be of little interest to the natives

Transferring ownership and taxes

So, you have a buyer, what next? It is absolutely critical to have the vehicle registered to the new owner, if not you remain liable for taxes and any fines that the buyer may incur. Despite this being very common knowledge I am continually sorting out the aftermath where the transfer was not undertaken notwithstanding promises from the buyer that he would take care of it. It is in the best interest of all parties to visit a specialist gestoria or engage the services of someone such as myself to undertake this complex process.

Needed are the registration document, ITV card, road tax receipt, passport and NIE/DNI of both parties plus various mandates. Second hand vehicles sold by dealers attract IVA at 21% on his profit margin. So that the taxman doesn’t miss out, a transfer of ownership tax is levied on private sales. Most regions of Spain charge 4% of value but in Valencia region this is at 6% or 8%

Anyone selling or buying a vehicle may understandably declare a low value to reduce the tax liability; after all no point in throwing more money than is necessary at the  next unused airport. Tax officials may be many things, but they are not naïve, so publish a set of values for each and every car and motorcycle (motorhome tax is based upon realistic market values). The tax will be calculated from their values or the   actual selling price whichever is the higher, so it is vital to get the correct value from a professional and not your mate down the bar!