'Classic Car' Road Tax in Ireland

Taxing your classic car

classic car

Anyone who owns a car that is driven on public roads must have what’s known as motor tax. Also sometimes referred to as ‘car tax’ or even ‘road tax’, it is a legal requirement should you want to drive or park your vehicle on a public road, such as a motorway, national road or regional road.

Car tax is usually paid monthly or annually and the fee goes to your local authority. The amount of motor tax you pay generally depends on the bracket your car falls into.

For example, cars that are registered from the 1st January 2021 are taxed based on the amount of fuel they use and the CO2 emissions they create. This is also known as the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Testing Procedure (WLTP). Therefore, the more emissions or the more fuel your vehicle uses, the higher your tax bracket and the more you will pay.

For cars that have been registered since July 2008, your vehicle will fall into an emission band and therefore your tax is automatically calculated and taken out of your bank account via direct debit. Private cars that were registered before July 2008 are taxed based on their engine capacity (cc).

But what exactly are the rules if you have a classic car? There are numerous car enthusiasts across Ireland that own classic or vintage vehicles, and the tax you pay on these can be slightly different to the newer models we’ve mentioned above. If you wish to continue to experience the thrill of driving your vintage car on the beautiful open roads of Ireland, it needs to be properly taxed with the proper car insurance

In this guide, Chill explains exactly what is considered a ‘classic car’ in Ireland, as well as how the tax system works and how you can get your car taxed.

What is a 'Classic Car'?

Firstly, what is considered a ‘classic car’ in Ireland? While the definition is vague, it’s thought that a car is ‘classic’ or ‘vintage’ when it’s more than about 20 or 25 years old.

There are exceptions to this rule, however. A classic car might also be a newer model than this that is no longer in production with only a handful made in the first instance. This would make the car more rare and sought-after, and could possibly give it a ‘classic’ status.

To help, the Irish Veteran and Vintage Car Club have created a sort of timeline that could help you to understand what your old car is:

  • Pre 1905 - antique
  • 1905-1918 - veteran
  • 1919-1930 - vintage
  • 1931-194 - post vintage
  • 1946 to 1991 – classic

Based on these figures, then, a classic car would need to be 30 years old as a minimum.

Generally, insurance providers will consider a car ‘classic’ when it’s at least 20 years old. However, this will differ from provider to provider, so if you’re taking out classic car insurance in Ireland, do double check their terms and conditions. They may lay out specific rules around which vehicles do and don’t count as classics, so ensure you check these before paying for your insurance. Such rules are in place to prevent future problems should you need to claim in the event of an accident.

Insurance on a classic car may vary in price depending on its condition, its mileage, the number of kilometres you drive in a year and whether it’s a primary or secondary vehicle.

What is 'Classic Car' tax?

Now you understand a little bit more about what a classic car is, how does classic car road tax work? Unlike some of the other vehicle brackets we have explained previously, there is a set fee for a classic vehicle, which means you will pay the same amount each month.

In order to qualify for this low-rate tax, you must be able to prove when your car was manufactured. We explain this in more detail a little further down the page.

The cost of classic car tax is set at €56 per year (or €5.60 a month). If you have a classic motorbike, the tax on this would be €26 per year (or €2.60 a month)*.

Once your classic car is taxed, you must display your valid tax disc in the windscreen to avoid a fine or penalty.

How old does a car have to be to qualify for classic car tax in Ireland?

For motor tax purposes, a car is considered a ‘classic’ when it is 30 years or older. When this is the case, you will qualify for the low-tax rate of €56 per year. However, you must be able to prove the manufacturing date of your vehicle when you apply for tax. This can usually be done via the vehicle registration book or its certificate. Alternatively, the chassis number might also be used as proof. Once the local authority has determined that your car is older than 30 years, you will be able to apply for classic car tax in Ireland.

If you’re having trouble finding this information or proving it to the tax authority, there are some instances where an enthusiast’s organisation might be able to date your car for you. They would need to make an official declaration that can be used by the local tax authority.

How do you tax a 'Classic Car' in Ireland?

Below, you can find the instructions for taxing your classic car in Ireland. We’ve provided steps for both in-person and online applications.

Applying in person

1. Get a Form RF100

A Form RF100 is required should you want to tax your car at your local Motor Taxation Office. This can be provided either by the motor dealer or the private dealer you purchased the car from. This document is a necessity, so if you’re purchasing a classic car in a private sale, be sure to ask the previous owner for this document before you drive away.

2. Take the form to your local Motor Taxation Office

Deliver your form to your local tax office, along with the appropriate fee/chosen payment method (i.e. debit card) for the tax and the vehicle’s VRC with your name on it. You may also need proof that your car is at least 30 years old.

3. Wait for your tax disc to arrive

You will need to display your vehicle’s tax disc in the windscreen to avoid a fine or penalty, so wait for this to arrive before taking your car out on the road.

Applying online

Applying for your motor tax online is probably the easiest way and you can insure your vintage/classic vehicle online - you don’t have to do it in person.

1. Visit motortax.ie

Motortax.ie is the website you need to tax your car online. You will need a Form RF100 and the VRC that shows the car is registered in your name. You may also need proof that your car is a minimum of 30 years old.

2. Enter your details

Follow the steps through the online process. You’ll likely be asked for your insurance information, as well as payment details, such as a credit or debit card, to pay the required fee.

3. Wait for your tax disc to arrive

Once your online application is complete, you will receive a tax disc in the post that you can put in the windscreen of your car.

*Data correct at time of June 2022