Costs involved when purchasing a car
As the title says there are all too often costs, other than the agreed purchase price, that one incurs when buying a car whether privately or from a garage or even a brand-new car!! We have all seen the big billboards advertising brand new cars where they state “desde (from) 8995 euros” for example. This price is to grab your interest and is normally for the very base model, without matriculation (registration costs) being shown. There is always small print on the billboard stating something like subject to terms and condition, certain conditions apply and often this price is only IF YOU TAKE FINANCE to purchase. With many new cars sold now you do not even have a spare wheel as standard and this often is not mentioned and/or is either added onto the cost of the car or simply ignored and the buyer is left without a spare wheel and knows nothing about this until they actually NEED one!
Turning to the purchase of a secondhand car there are normally three costs that you should be aware of. Firstly, there is a Tax (Impuesto) payable to be able to complete a transfer of a car. The tax is currently 5.5% (this is subject to change annually but sometimes remains at the same level for a number of years) of the Official valuation of the car which is obtained from the Tax Office i.e. AEAT. It is prudent to remember that it is the official valuation and not the price you are paying that this tax is based on. If you for example you buy a car privately at a cost of say 3500 euros, it is highly likely that the Official valuation would be lower. If you do not pay the taxes on the official valuation, the Tax office will in due course issue you with a fine for undeclaration and you would have to pay the difference, plus a fine, for under declaration and late payment of such.
The next cost is that of the Tasa payable to Tráfico in order to complete the transaction. There is absolutely no way around avoiding this charge.
Unless you are fluent in Spanish, know where to find all the necessary forms and information to do this, it is advisable to engage the services of a Gestoria or an Official Tráfico Collaborator who carries out these types of transactions on a regular basis as they will have all the necessary knowledge, the correct information and will be able to advise you if there are any potential problems. Of course, this comes at a cost and can vary. An official Tráfico Collaborator can normally do the transfer quicker than a Gestoria and often if they are working in the vehicle business they will be more experienced than a Gestoria who deals with a much wider variety of transactions. It is also important to mention that Tráfico are streamlining from February those who are able to carry out such transactions, so make sure that the person you are going to use is an Official (and registered) Tráfico Collaborator. These changes do not affect an individual doing the transfer on their own behalf, however Tráfico insist that the buyer is present and often will only speak to that person and not to a translator who may be present.
When purchasing a secondhand car from a garage, often the transfer cost is included, as it is in the interest of the garage to not only protect their customer but also their reputation, how often have you heard people say “I bought my car from XYZ garage or person six months ago and I don’t have any paperwork” A car with no paperwork is really worthless as unless you have the documentation to PROVE that you are the legal owner i.e. the Ficha Técnica and Permiso de circulación in your name then the vehicle in the eyes of the Spanish Law is not yours, even if you have paid for it in full. Having said that there will be a short period of time after your purchase where you will not have the official documents as, as is normal in Spain, all the relevant authorities require sight of original documentation and in the case of a car transfer this is no different. As we all know Spain works on a mañana basis, so you have to be patient but sure that all is in order.