Buying vehicle in Guatemala and import taxes
I was in contact with the Guatemala trade office and they told me that the import tax would be 15 to 20 percent of the value of the car (plus freight and insurance) and then another 12 percent for added value tax. Wow! That’s a lot.
What info can you give me about buying a larger size vehicle there? I understand that Guatemalans generally don’t treat their cars well and that because they are imported they are often twice as much as they would be here or even more. Is there an expat network that is like the classifieds?
It’s expensive either way. Vehicles are expensive here for all the reasons you describe, which is why I chose to import mine. Check out these two links
The first link is like Craigslist, but completely in Spanish – I’ve had a lot of people recommend it, but of course you have to do due diligence on each listing. Craigslist itself has just come to Guatemala. I put the link, but it’s not very old, so there’s not a lot on there yet.
If you’re a missionary, you can get on the Intermissions network.
They are pretty rigorous in their screening process (you have to be a legitimate full-time Evangelical missionary) but they send out daily emails about items for sale, etc. It helps if you can get a recommendation from someone already on it.
Many sales here are word-of-mouth, so ask around when you get here. The reason I imported was simply to have something that I knew to be of quality as soon as I got here. Another solution would be to drive the vehicle down and just keep it on the visitor permit, which would involve going to the border every few months to renew the permit or getting a tramitador to possibly do it for you.
To give you an idea, I bought my car for $5000 in the USA, $2000 approximately for import duties, $500 for the trip with all my belongings = $7500. A good 4x4 Toyota 4Runner (1999) would have easily cost in excess of $8000-9000 USD in Guate. So I feel like I came out ahead financially, and also, I knew I had a vehicle that was good.
You can find a good car either way, but I really needed a good one as soon as I got here, so I imported. I’ve known people who got decent cars here, too – just depends on what you find.