John received a letter from the tax department requesting payment of the registration tax for his Peugeot – the problem was, he sold that Peugeot more than 5 years earlier. Because so much time had passed, he had no idea how to find the car or the person he sold it to.
Selling a car in Portugal, can turn into a nightmare, if you assume you can just do the usual hand-over documents/money/keys.
In Portugal, until the new owner’s name is registered in the Car Registration Office all the liability (including taxes, insurances and everything that comes with the ownership); remains with the previous owner.
Because of this, it is important to remember that if you are selling directly to a private person (and even at a car dealer) you must make sure that your name is out of the registration. It is not sufficient to just sign the forms as they can sit for days, weeks, months, ore more …until someone decides that they are ready to change the registration.
The only secure way to remove your name from the registration and all the liability that entails, is to go with the buyer directly to the Vehicle Registration Office (Conservatória do Registo Automóvel), – there is one in each city – and finalize the forms in person.
This BLOG does not intend to be an exhaustive explanation of the procedures; For more information send us an email HERE.