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  #1  
Old 1 Feb 2012
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German Zoll plates

Does anyone have any info on a acquiring a custom plate, tourist registration, and tourist insurance in Germany on a motorcycle?

My plan is to purchase a US bike off of a US military member in Germany. The kicker is it is registered in the US military motor vehicle system. I would get the title, but no registration or license plate.

After speaking with the military vehicle registration they mentioned the Zoll plate, tourist reg., and tourist insurance...but didn't have much info in regards to what/if I needed any of that.

Thanks
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Old 1 Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by MountaineerWV View Post
Does anyone have any info on a acquiring a custom plate, tourist registration, and tourist insurance in Germany on a motorcycle?

It is a temporary registration to allow you to export the vehicle. It must be gone by the date shown on the plates. Includes 3rd party liability for the period of registration.
Periods of validity are 1 week to 1 month... maybe more?

See How to get a temporary registration

Cheers,
John
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Old 1 Feb 2012
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Hmm...would I have to give the plates back when I leave the EU? Perhaps just get fake plates made for outside the EU...or just take the plate from my current bike and slap it on the new bike.

It's only the Title that is required outside the US...
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Old 1 Feb 2012
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The German authorities won't care, so long as you comply and leave the country by the time the plate expires; what you do after that would depend on where you are riding next.

For anyone who wants to be a spotter of German plates:-
Vehicle registration plates of Germany - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 1 Feb 2012
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I know no great detail of this scheme, but I think you can only get Tax Free plates if buying a new vehicle in their country, free of local tax - not bringing your own vehicle in or buying it from others, even somehow tax free. Tourists are allowed to use their own vehicles with their home registration without paying local taxes anyway.

I often see vehicles (cars, never motos) at the RUS border and along main routes away from borders, wearing these red/black German tax free plates - but they have had to deal with RUS Customs taxes on entry and are therefore only being driven temporarily 'in transit' to await their RUS plates.
Therefore they get to keep the Tax Free plates as souveniers- which answers your query.

But, anticipating possible thoughts, other countries Customs/Borders will be perfectly aware of what such plates mean and will not respect the continuing tax-free status after the dates imprinted on them.
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Old 2 Feb 2012
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Hey MountainerWV,
i think you can not get a german plate as an non resident.
I think there are just non tax plates if you buy a car or a motorcycle in Germany and want to export it out of the country.
Is there a possibility to register this bike (you will buy) already in the US and bring with you an (your) us plate - then you will have no problems.
Because normally this is an US Bike (because it is on the military base - so it is not in Germany). And you can not import an Bike from US to Germany without a plate - and that is what you have to do.
But if you have some time i can ask your question to a german registration buro.
Blitz
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Old 2 Feb 2012
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But, anticipating possible thoughts, other countries Customs/Borders will be perfectly aware of what such plates mean and will not respect the continuing tax-free status after the dates imprinted on them.
Tony, its not a tax-free status. They can be used on vehicle that's being exported from Germany. As stated, you must be gone by the date on the plate... within the EU states, you will get very little hassle, but how you insure it once the end date is past is anyone's guess.
I get insurance here in FR, pending re-registration on the VIN number and the German plate number... Max of three months though and I live here.

Cheers,
John
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Old 2 Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by Redboots View Post
Tony, its not a tax-free status. They can be used on vehicle that's being exported from Germany. As stated, you must be gone by the date on the plate... within the EU states, you will get very little hassle, but how you insure it once the end date is past is anyone's guess.
I get insurance here in FR, pending re-registration on the VIN number and the German plate number... Max of three months though and I live here.
Thanks John.

I thought these plates were used on new vehicles bought by foreign (non EU) visitors without payment of any local Sales Tax or Duty as long as they are gone within 3 months, just as a similar system applied in UK (maybe still does) for 'Overseas Visitors'.

Are you saying you can continue to use such a vehicle elsewhere (as long as it is outside Germany) AFTER the date on the plate has expired?

My thinking (based on no concrete, specific knowledge on this point) was that nowhere (Germany or anywhere else) would honour the registration as valid after that date and one would then effectively be using a vehicle on the new country's roads without registration and not having paid any local taxes (VAT, Sales or Import taxes or equivalent Capital tax) payable on first registration there.

Then, wherever registering it 'properly' incurs VAT etc in that new country?

I also thought the scheme was only available to non-residents of EU - as wth Visitors Tax Free Shopping arrangements.

BWTFDIK?
I'm always happy to learn more
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Old 3 Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by Tony P View Post
Are you saying you can continue to use such a vehicle elsewhere (as long as it is outside Germany) AFTER the date on the plate has expired?
No Sir!... not legally as it were, but I used my van here in FR with the export plates for 3 months while the rego was being done. Insurance was supplied on that reg no and the VIN

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony P View Post
Then, wherever registering it 'properly' incurs VAT etc in that new country?
Not if its an an EU member state... unless the vehicle is less than 6 months or 6k kms old, then you have to pay the VAT in FR and claim it back from DE. The "wise" people would buy it ex-vat (if from a dealer) or you would wait until the criteria were met before registering.

For new vehicles, you would buy it ex-vat and pay at the rego destination.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony P View Post
I also thought the scheme was only available to non-residents of EU - as wth Visitors Tax Free Shopping arrangements.
There used to be a red numberplate in DE. This was used by the Germans if they bought a vehicle from another registration district.
The plate on a German car belongs to the owner, not the vehicle, so they will not generally sell the car with plates on it as they need to cancel the plates to get a tax refund and to be able to cancel their insurance.
The red plates were being abused by summer only rego and all sorts of things so they more or less extended the "Zoll" plate system to cover temporary rego in a number of different scenarios.

It works very well IMPO.

Cheers,
John
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Old 4 Feb 2012
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John, thanks again.

Therefore my original bit that you first quoted is fundamentally correct in that visitors can come, buy and legally use these vehicles/plates during their date validity BUT no longer. During this time the vehicles are used 'tax free' in respect of local Sales Tax, duties etc - albeit the tax may have to be initially paid and then reclaimed from elsewhere or with proof of export.

'Elsewhere' will, of course, have its own taxes upon Registration but these could be lower and/or based on a now used vehicle - or in the case of export outside EU even subject to the local habit of 'private negotiation'

As I originally was saying, folks shouldn't think they can continue to use these plates indefinitely - other country's Customs will recognise and not honour them, even if used by Visitors, beyond their date.

Similar to the German plates, red French 'TT' plates are used by non-EU Visitors buying new vehicles in France and using them under such arrangements.
Thanks
I have never seen a moto with such plates, but I suppose it's possible.
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Old 11 Feb 2012
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Thanks for the info/advice!

I think I can work it so I can register a bike bought in Germany with my state (each state in the US is different). I do not have to show them the bike to register it - can do it by mail.

Might take a little time, but then it's legal and no tax issues.
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Old 11 Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by Tony P View Post
Therefore my original bit that you first quoted is fundamentally correct in that visitors can come, buy and legally use these vehicles/plates during their date validity BUT no longer. During this time the vehicles are used 'tax free' in respect of local Sales Tax, duties etc - albeit the tax may have to be initially paid and then reclaimed from elsewhere or with proof of export.
More or less, that is true for new vehicles. For used vehicles, there is no mechanism to do that.
If you buy from a dealer, you need the receipt to show when you register in another member state. It is then deemed to be "tax paid" in ALL member states so there is no tax liable.
If you buy from a private individual, they cant charge you tax but the tax must have been paid at some time in the country of origin, so again, its tax paid in all member states.
It's one of the reasons EU VAT rates are getting closer.

Cheers,
John
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  #13  
Old 16 Feb 2012
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Export plates in short

Hi,

just to clarify some things using my first hand experience on export plates (German: zollkennzeichen, ausfuhrkennzeichen).

1. Who can use it?
As stated in the wikipedia article: Vehicle registration plates of Germany - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Everybody can buy a export Plate (Ausfuhrkennzeichen). No conditions apply, you can be Russian, African or even German like me no residence in Germany or the EU required.

3. For which vehicle?

The car you want to register (on export plates) needs a valid technical inspection, in Germany this inspection is formally called Hauptuntersuchung (HU) meaning main inspection, most the time we just say TÜV (that’s actually the acronym for biggest company licensed to do this technical inspection).
In the UK they call this inspection MOT.

If you want to register a used vehicle on export plates it has to be registered in Germany before (or maybe just comply with german standards?) otherwise you will not get a German TÜV.

In the old days you did not need the full inspection the get export plates but these regulation changed some time ago.

4. Valid for which period?

I know you can buy it for 7 days to 6 month, but probably even longer. You have to buy insurance for the period of validity.
In reality you can use the plate outside Germany after it expired, if you buy your insurance locally. I did this several times in Africa and also saw expired export plates in other countries.

5. VAT?
If you export the car outside the EU you can claim the German VAT, but that is true for more or less all goods. Therfore there is no immediate connection between export plate and VAT

6. Other taxes?
When registering a car you pay an annual tax in germany, which can be quite steep (old 3 Liter Diesel Engine (Euro 1) you pay 850 Euro per year). The tax depends on the emission class (Euro 1, Euro 2, Euro 3, Euro 4 …l) and the displacement of the vehicle. A normal newis 1,6 L petrol car with Euro 4 will cost you less than 100 Euro per year.
This tax is everywhere in Germany the same. Until 2010 export plates where exempted form this tax. This is no longer the case.
In short: you have to pay registration taxes even with export plates. But you just pay for the period you register.

7. Insurance?

In bigger cities there will be shops printing the plates and selling you special insurance for export plates. But be aware that these shops only issue insurances for shorter periods 1 week to 2 month, because there is only big demand for these.
If you want longer insurance buy it online
6 month for 450 Euros:
Versicherung ab 35,-� Deckungskarte/Doppelkarte Ausfuhrkennzeichen eVB Kurzzeitkennzeichen

Just Google zollkennzeichen or ausfuhrkennzeichen and you find insurance broker.

Greetings

Hans
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