Information about the diplomatic car sales program in the Netherlands for privileged persons, how it works and who qualifies for it.
Diplomats in The Hague
As the seat of the Dutch government and home of the royal family, The Hague is where most foreign embassies and trade missions are located in the Netherlands. As such, this is where the majority of privileged persons (diplomats) reside. The general guidelines or protocol of diplomatic residents were established by the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. In the Netherlands, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs sets the national policy and publishes these in a handbook titled ‘Protocol Guide for Diplomatic Missions and Consular Posts‘.
A number of international organizations and missions are also headquartered in The Hague, including departments within the United Nations and NATO. Likewise, there are numerous non-governmental agencies (NGOs) operating in The Hague, such as the European Patent Office (EPO). Higher level employees of both organizations are often granted a similar ‘privileged’ status as detailed in the ‘Protocol Guide for International Organisations‘.
Diplomatic Car Purchase in Holland
One of the benefits extended to diplomats and other privileged persons is the tax-free purchase of certain goods, which includes motor vehicles. This has led many car dealerships (‘autobedrijfs’) in and around The Hague to offer diplomatic, tax-free car sales to international residents who have been granted privileged status.
Vehicles purchased through the diplomatic sales program are not charged BTW (sales tax) or RDW (road tax), which can substantially reduce the end cost of the vehicle.
Buying a Tax-Free Vehicle
Dealerships that offer such a tax-free car sales program will require proof of the buyer’s diplomatic status. This can be accomplished by presenting one of the following:
– Diplomatic or official passport issued by the Foreign Ministry department with valid Dutch accreditation certificate
– Official passport issued by the United Nations or one of its divisions
– Ministerial passport
– NATO ID or service passport
An application to purchase a new vehicle through the diplomatic car sales program is submitted to the CB/IFB (Centraal Bureau Internationale Fiscale Behandling), and must include:
– Douane Form 39
– Copy of Vehicle Sales Contract
– RDW Form 137 (special registration certificate application)
– Copy of CVO (certificate of conformity)
– Proof of Insurance
– Vehicle Registration Certificate (if one has been issued)
Certain rules apply, such as the maximum number of tax-free vehicles per consular employee. See the Belastingdienst website for additional information about diplomatic car purchase.
Selling a Tax-Free Vehicle
Vehicles purchased through the diplomatic car sales program are subject to certain rules if they are sold or disposed of. In the case of the vehicle being sold to a non-privileged person, regular VAT/RDW taxes are imposed on the new buyer, based on the value of the vehicle at the time of sale. The seller must submit a request to the CB/IFB to remove the tax exemption and needs to supply information about the purchaser. The CB/IFB will then invoice the new buyer for the applicable taxes.