I looked into bringing my car over last year, and here’s my understanding of the situation. If anything is outdated or wrong, feel free to chime in.
Taiwan is very protective of it’s domestic auto assembly industry, and taxes are generally high on imported cars and parts, whether they are imported by the manufacturer or by an individual.
There is only one way you can get a car into Taiwan tax free. The requirement is that you are a Taiwanese citizen, and you went abroad to study/work. When you return, once in your lifetime, you are allowed to bring in one car tax free. The said car has to have more than 10,000 miles on the odometer, and the previous registration must have been in your name for at least two years. This only exempts you from the tax. You still will need to pay shipping and inspection fees. There’s actually a big business where importers will pay people to use their names. These people usually qualify, but have no plans of ever bringing a car back. You might want to look into one of these companies. You’ll have to pay them a fee, but it will probably be less than the tax. I’m not exactly sure how they get around the registration name thing though.
For everyone else, there are no freebies. If the car is less than one year old, or has less than 10,000 miles on the odometer, you are subject to a 75% tax on the current “Blue Book” value of the car. If the car is more than one year old, and has more than 10,000 miles on the odometer, then you are subject to a 30% tax on the Blue Book value.
Once the car is here, and you’ve paid all taxes, it’s not over yet. You still have to have the car inspected for emissions and safety before you can legally register it. This applies to everyone. The inspection station is in ChangHua and the inspection costs about NT$60,000. So, you’ll need to have the car transported (tow/flatbed/carrier) from the port of entry to ChangHua. Total shipping costs from abroad to ChangHua will run anywhere from NT$60,000-NT$120,000 if shipping from the US. Can’t comment on shipping from other countries.
Taiwan doesn’t allow right hand drive cars, so cars from Japan, UK, or Australia are generally unable to be imported.
One sidenote, but this method is not really feasible for the average foreigner. A lot of used car dealers in Taiwan will often bring in cars declared as “scrap metal”, thus bypassing the usual taxes. Or, they will bring in a car which is disassembled as “scrap parts”, then reassemble it once it’s in the country. How they register it, I’m not too sure.
So, when all is said and done, depending on what car you are bringing in, the taxes, inspection, shipping, and registration will be at least 50% or more of the value of the car itself.
Then, once the car is here and registered, you have the problem of parts and repair. You lose any warranty you may have had, factory or otherwise. You’ll have to have all parts, including even the smallest ones shipped from the country the car was originally sold in, and you’ll have to find a local mechanic who knows how to fix it. You’ll have to pay import taxes on some of the larger parts. This is under the assumption that the car you are bringing in is not something that’s already available in Taiwan, because if it’s already available in Taiwan, then it’s a lot more cost effective just to buy it here. Even if you bring in a car that is available here, certain parts may still have to be shipped from your home country, as there are some differences between different markets for the same model of car.
As much as I wanted to import my car, it would have cost 50% of the value of the car just to get it here. That, and the parts/repair issue effectively killed the idea.