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Import Duty

We exported our 1993 Toyota Land Cruiser into Costa Rica 11 years ago. We are permanently relocating to Florida and want to know if we will have to pay any import duty on the car and if so, approximately how much. The car was purchased in Connecticut and no modifications have been made since buying the car.

I don’t believe you will have any import duty, but Congress does some strange things from time to time.

You will need to also check with Florida to make sure they don’t have any special inspections and you will need to re-register it. I doubt if you are going to have any legal problems.

You might want to consider the cost of selling the car where it is (if you can) vs the cost of bringing it back to the US vs the cost of selling and buying something else in the US. It might be worth the bother to just sell it where it is.

I don’t think Car Talk has any real experts in this area around. Start at this link:
http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/CARS/RULES/IMPORT/

You may need a Registered Importer to do the importation paperwork. For import duties, probably need to contact US Customs. NHTSA site provides good information, but doesn’t address import duties.

Frankly, I am not sure the effort to import a 1993 vehicle back into the US is worth it. I would sell and then buy new/used when I got to Florida.

Agree; a 1993 vehicle in good condition is a valuable asset in Central America, while it is worth relatively little in the US. There will be a great choice in used vehicles back in the US. Since the car was legally imported into Costa Rica, you can legally sell it there.

US diplomats and overseas employees of US firms have a long history of buying US cars at employee prices, and selling them later locally at a profit.

In the States, this vehicle is not worth what it will cost you to ship it. Sell it in San Jose. Then take a trip to Phoenix and buy one of the thousands of clean, rust-free SUV’s offered for sale there at give-a-way prices…

You could get about $2850 (no options, 150,000 mi) in Orlando if there’s nothing wrong with the truck. What could you sell it for in Costa Rica?

Also, this thing only get 10 MPG City and 14 MPG highway. Do you really want to pay for gas in your Land Cruiser? You’ll pay abourt $2.60/gal for regular. Unless you go swamp crawling, you don’t need an off-road truck. Of course, if you really like the truck, gas nor import duty should inhibit you.

My guess is that since the truck was not modified, you will only have to pass whatever FL requires for a newly registered 1993 truck. But check the FL government and the US government. I’m sure the US Embassy can help.

If you have the original title from when it was first purchased in 1993, then you should not have to pay any import fees/taxes. It was already imported and those fees were paid then. This is similar to people who take expensive cameras on overseas vacations, they just have to show the receipt where they purchased it in the US originally to avoid import taxes.

It was sold in the US as a US spec car, so as long as it meets any inspection that Florida requires for a used car’s first registration in the state, you should be fine.

As others have said, the shipping cost may be more than it’s worth, but if it has some sentimental value I would not hesitate.

I’m sure that the VIN shows that it was made for the US market. I doubt that the original title is needed.

If you can prove a minimum 11 months of ownership for the vehicle then no import duty is applicable, you will have to pay stamp duty but that is a few dollars.

You will however need to prove US origin or EPA & DOT regulation compliance i.e. built for US market before customs will provide you with a release document. You’ll need that document to register the vehicle with DMV.

If you INSIST on shipping the truck back, your SHIPPER will know the details of reimporting it into the States. But KNOW before you GO. Many cars are left stranded on the dock because they are missing a little sticker that says “This vehicle meets all U.S. safety and emissions standards for 1993 model vehicles”…

I’m just going by what I needed when I took my motorcycle to France for a year and then brought it back. I had copies of the original sales receipt from when I had bought it in the US. They will need some documentation that says they bought it in the US as a US spec car. The original title would probably be best, but old registration might work if they’ve got them.

It seems like any old title or registration for the truck would be satisfactory if all he wants to do is prove that the truck was registered in the USA.

I don’t think that it will literally be put on a ship. Driven more likely. Costa Rica is probably closer to Florida by paved road than Seattle is. However, it may be important to make sure that all the required paperwork is in the car when it gets to the Mexico-Texas border. I did some traveling in my youth and lived overseas for a while later. I have never found the US border people to be especially helpful, understanding, or even particularly civil. I’d make sure that the car is brought in by someone who understands the process and that all the required paperwork is up to snuff.

I work in imports and I am currently handling another vehicle coming in. A returned vehicle that was originally purchased in the US and made for the US market will be easy to get in. You need to speak to a Customs broker to assist you with this process. A good one will guide you through the steps. Expect to pay from $200 to $500 for their services. A good place to start looking is in your yellow pages under Customs Broker. Or you can hit this link: www.mohawkglobal.com. Good luck.

This vehicle is not worth the effort…