Using / Importing your Private Car in Czech Republic
Fuel PricesFuel prices in Czech Republic fluctuate considerably because of the exchange rate of the crown and the prices of crude oil.
Normal 95 gasoline ('95 Benzin') and Diesel ('Nafta') have cost in the last two years anywhere between 25 CZK and 40 CZK per liter. Currently it's hovering around 35 CZK/l again.
Sometimes the gasoline is cheaper than diesel, sometimes it is the other way around. This makes it almost impossible to calculate exactly which car is cheaper to drive.
One thing is clear though: fuel quality is generally lower than in the surrounding countries, you will notice lower mileage, the engine running not so smoothly and making more noise.
I recommend Shell, since they produce the fuel, and most of the gasstations are simply fuel traders (so they use various sources).
Car InsuranceCar insurance is relatively cheap here. For an average car with normal coverage it's probably not more than 10.000 CZK annually. Still it pays off to compare insurances, and online offers. Huge price differences exist for the first year (and then all of a sudden, in the second year, the on-line insurance becomes much more expensive, without informing the customer). More important, larger insurance companies allow discounts if you can provide an official paper stating how many accident-free years you have accumulated abroad.
Car on foreign registrationIf a car is driven shorter than a year in CZ it is possible to keep your foreign registration, after which you'll have to import it. However, most insurances allow you a maximum of 3 months abroad for tourist purposed, so you need to check whether you need additional insurance.
Many EU countries have (bi)annual technical checks, but because the STK (Stanice technické kontroly) checks only cars registered here and anyway the report is not accepted outside CZ, these checks can only be done 'back home' if you want to keep the car on foreign registration. Skipping a check may result in a fine anywhere in Europe (not only in your home country) if you get caught by the police.
Importing a carCars to be imported in Czech Republic must to emission standards (a potential problem for US cars), pass a technical check (much more strict than a normal STK - possibly changes to: blinkers, bumpers, engine management and tires) and must have the paper operation manual.
Most EU cars have technical papers with homologation information included, but for example dutch cars don't. Owners need to make a special request at the RDW.
The government first didn't allow cars older than 7 years to be imported (but were whisled back by the EU), so now the goverment has imposed a 10.000 CZK 'eco-tax' so it is no longer attractive to import old / cheap cars.
On cars imported from outside the EU 10% customs duty and 19% VAT needs to be paid, from inside the EU no customs duty needs to be paid, but only the difference in VAT between the two countries. No customs duty or VAT needs to be paid if you have previously owned the car for at least a year abroad and have used the car minimum 6 months prior to importing (because it's then considered part of your personal possessions, which are duty-except).
The total process of making a car road-legal in CZ (not counting the hassle with trailers / temporary insurance and numberplates / customs abroad) can easily take a month.
Paperwork + technical check once in CZ alone will cost about 15.000CZK (excluding import taxes) so you'll seriously have to ask yourself if it isn't easier to just buy a car here.
In most cases selling your car back home and buying a car here turns out to be financially attractive.
Foreign (EU) VAT on a carIf the foreign seller has a valid VAT number and you have a valid VAT number, then because of reversed-charges the sales invoice should not have any VAT.
But: it is not uncommon that the foreign seller is not so keen to sell without foreign VAT, even if you have a valid VAT number, because of VAT-fraud. Ask the seller before making the deal.
The CZ taxoffice does not handle foreign VAT, and will not refund it - you should file a request at the foreign taxoffice.