Buying and Selling a Car in Denmark

Information on the process of buying or selling a car in Denmark, including the documents required and where they must be sent...

Non-resident foreigners can buy a new car which is not registered (without number plates) in Denmark for export. Non-registered cars in Denmark are among the most inexpensive in Europe. Foreigners who can prove that they are staying in Denmark for less than a year, can buy a vehicle without paying the registration fee. Foreigners resident in Denmark have to register at the National Register (Folkeregister) and obtain a civil registration number (Personnummer - Cpr-nummer) before they may buy a vehicle.

There are a number of websites available when searching for a new or used car, including the websites of car dealers. These websites can generally provide information about models available, technical matters and current prices. Some useful websites (in Danish) when searching for a vehicle, or to compare prices, include:

Buying a New Vehicle

New cars are generally sold through a dealership. In general, they take care of administrative formalities, including paperwork, for the vehicle registration and tax to be paid. The following information is required when purchasing a vehicle at a dealership:
  • Name, address and telephone number
  • CPR number

Registering a new vehicle in Denmark

In Denmark the registration of vehicles is managed by the Central Register for Motor Vehicles (Centralregisteret for Motorkøretøjer). This is a single register for the whole country and is managed by the customs and tax administration (SKAT).

Once a vehicle is registered in the Central Register for Motor Vehicles the vehicle is assigned a registration number and a registration certificate is issued. Vehicles can only be registered in the Central Register for Motor Vehicles if the vehicle has liability insurance.

Anyone purchasing a new vehicle for use in Denmark is liable for registration tax. This tax is paid on all newly registered vehicles, including motorcycles, taxis and buses weighing up to four tonnes. Registration tax is calculated at approximately 50 to 60 percent of price of the vehicle and is payable once in the lifetime of the vehicle only. It is not necessary to pay registration tax again if the owner changes. Registration tax must be paid at the local motor vehicle office. Once the tax has been paid, number plates are issued.

To pay the registration tax, the Payment of Registration Fee form should be completed and sent to the tax (SKAT) office. Vehicle registration tax can also be paid via online banking, at a bank, post office or at a motor registry office

Buying a Used Vehicle in Denmark

Used cars can also be purchased from car dealers. The car dealer can normally help with the paperwork when transferring ownership. Secondhand cars can also be purchased from private individuals. When purchasing a vehicle privately the new owner must report the change of ownership within three weeks and submit form 21.075 to the nearest tax (SKAT) centre.
  • To download the form (in Danish)
The following documents are required:
  • Original registration certificate (from seller)
  • Proof of vehicle insurance (by law, all vehicles must have liability insurance before registration can take place)
  • Fee for the transfer of ownership
  • Completed form 21.075
  • Vehicle inspection form (if applicable)
Addresses and opening hours for all tax centres can be found on the SKAT website: Motor Registry Offices

Once the vehicle has been registered with the Central Register for Motor Vehicles, Danish number plates are issued at the tax centre by the number plate desk. Registration numbers are made up of two letters followed by one to five numbers. Number plates can be rectangular or square and are white with a red border.

Vehicle inspection

If the car is more than four years old a vehicle inspection must be carried out before it can be registered in the new owner's name. The buyer should check that the car has undergone a vehicle inspection before purchasing it, and should check the vehicle inspection report (Synsrapport).

Vehicle inspections must be carried out by an authorised inspection centre (synshall), and can be carried out by the Danish Motorist Association - FDM. The inspection is to determine the vehicle's identity, number of kilometres, features and general condition of the vehicle.

The vehicle's registration certificate and the service manual for the vehicle should be taken to the inspection.

Car Taxes

Once a vehicle has been purchased, there are a number of annual taxes that must be paid:
  • Vehicle excise duty - based on the weight of a vehicle and payable on all vehicles registered before June 1997. After this date a green owner tax is applicable instead.
  • Green owner tax - based on the vehicle's fuel consumption with the intention of reducing environmental damage caused by cars. Fuel efficient cars are eligible for a reduction in green owner tax
SKAT has more on weight and green owner tax
  • Countervailing charges - payable on all diesel cars. It is charged to counteract the difference in tax on petrol and diesel cars so that the same amount of tax is paid by drivers regardless of whether they drive a petrol or diesel car