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Import Duties On Cars

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Importing a used car into Ghana may seem a great idea especially when the importer happens to get a good deal on the price of the car especially through an auction. It is however very important to note the following to prevent disappointment once the car gets to Ghana.


Importing used cars to Ghana

  • The Home delivery price of a vehicle (HDP)

   In evaluating a used car for customs duty purposes, the home delivery price or the manufacturer's price as at the year of manufacture of the vehicle is taken into consideration. Customs would usually use the CIF value (cost ,insurance and freight) of a car to work out the payable duties and other taxes. However in arriving at this "cost" customs uses the manufacturer's price and applies the rate of depreciation depending on the age of the vehicle. The cost deduced plus other handling charges is then added to the insurance and freight to get the CIF value to be used for customs clearing purposes.

For instance, A 2010 mazda 3 with a home delivery price of $30,000 , handled at the origin port at a charge of $300, shipped to Ghana with an insurance package of $400 and a paid freight of $1300.

This car is 4 years old as at 2014 so the rate of depreciation applied is 60%

60% of 30,000 = $18,000.

Cost (HDP + handling charges) = {18000 + 300} = 18300

This implies CIF = {18300 + 400 + 1300}

CIF value for duty purposes = $20,000.


  • Over aged penalty


  It's also important to consider the age of the vehicle because in Ghana a vehicle which is more than 10 years old from the year of manufacture is considered to be over aged and an over aged penalty rate is applied to it adding up to the total cost of clearing.

It should be noted that the age of a vehicle is deduced from the year of manufacture and not the year of first registration of the car. So a Toyota corolla manufactured in 2006 and first registered in 2007 is actually 8 years as at 2014 and not 7 years. The year of manufacture for vehicles manufactured from 2001 can be identified from the 10th position of a 17 case alpha numeric chassis number counting from left eg, GHIJKLMNS4P794561 this means year of manufacture is 2004.


Vehicles manufactured before 2001 also have special alphabets allocated as codes at the 10th position which is used to determine the year. The year of some vehicles are also determined from a manufacturer's chart matrix. Whiles there are certain deviations to some of the rules with regards to some car manufacturers, it is very important to make sure to know the age of the vehicle you import into the country.

Over Aged Penalty Rates

Private vehicles

Age exceeding 10yrs but less than 12yrs - 5% of CIF value

Age exceeding 12yrs but less than 15yrs - 20% of CIF value

Age exceeding 15yrs - 50% of CIF value.ETC

Other rates are also applied to commercial vehicles as well.

  • No special treatment for damaged vehicles


Some years ago, customs applied different valuation method for damaged vehicles, however due to abuse of this system by some vehicle importers who deliberately cause minor damages to vehicles, customs now apply the same valuation method to all used vehicles into the country whether damaged or in a good condition.

So why import a damaged vehicle if you can afford a good condition one unless of course you have a better deal with the damaged vehicle.

  • Right hand steering vehicles


The law about importing vehicles into Ghana does not permit the importation of right hand steering vehicles into the country unless otherwise authorized by the appropriate ministry. Some importers however still import such vehicles into the country but it's important to take note since you may never know when the law catchs up with you.

  • Forfeiture of vehicles


Under the current law on the importation of vehicles, any vehicle that remain unentered and uncleared within 60 days after discharge from the port would risk forfeiture by the state. Also in the case of overland vehicle, from the date it crossed the national border into Ghana shall also be forfeited to the state if not cleared within the same period of time.


Duty on Cars

The laws governing the importation of vehicles into Ghana is the Ghana Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) (Management Law) PNDCL 330 of 1993, Sections 46, 47, 48, 78-94, 123-192. This law is complemented by CEPS (Management) Act 1998, (Act 552), Act 565, Act 598 of 14th April, 2001, Commissioner's Orders and other Service instructions on vehicles.

Vehicles are categorized by the engine capacity e.g. 1.6cc, 2.0cc, 2.5cc, etc.

  • By the seating capacity e.g. 5, 10, 30, 50 persons
  • By usage/purpose e.g. Buses, trucks, tippers, lorries etc
  • By age

The age of a motor vehicle imported under the law is calculated with effect from the year in which the motor vehicle was first manufactured. The age of a vehicle is a crucial determinant in valuation for duty purposes. In arriving at the age of vehicles, Customs uses the model year reckoning index which normally gives a round year age point e.g. 1990 or 2000 or the dealer chart matrix.

The model year reckoning index vehicles are those whose ages can be determined from a letter in the 10th position in a 17 character rotation counting from the left.

Such vehicles include:

  • All US and Canadian vehicles
  • All Korean vehicles
  • Japan (Mitsubishi, Isuzu)
  • German (Opel, VW, Audi)
  • Sweden (Volvo, Saab)

For example, an Opel Vectra vehicle with the chassis number viz: WOL000087N1658971 is a 1992 model.

Vehicles that have their ages falling under year of manufacture are the vehicles whose age can be determined from charts based on the records of manufacturers' batches of production.

Such vehicles include:
German, Japanese and Dutch vehicles e.g. Mercedes Benz, M.A.N Diesel, Toyota, Nissan, DAF etc. These vehicles have their ages determined by reading a chart furnished by the dealers of the type of vehicle.


The use of log sheets and seat belts alone to check or confirm the age of vehicles is not reliable. What is on log sheets are more often dates of first registration of such vehicles and not dates of manufacture.

Data has been collected and collated on the values and ages of vehicles over the years. Manufacturers and dealers of motor vehicles have furnished Customs with brochures, booklets and other documents which give the values and other information on the vehicles.

All vehicles imported into the country unless specifically exempted under the PNDCL 330 or other enactment attract the following:

  • Import Duty - (0%, 5%, 10%, and 20%)
  • Import VAT - (0% or 12.5%)
  • National Health Insurance Levy - (0% or 2.5%)
  • ECOWAS Levy - (0.5%)
  • Export Development Fund (EDIF) - (0.5%)
  • Examination Fee - (1%)

In addition, the various categories of vehicles attract overage penalty when they are more than ten years old.






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Page Last Updated On Monday, 24 January 2022.