Has anyone any experience of temporarily shipping a car to the UK, eg for a restoration, then shipping it back to the US?
Unless others know otherwise I don't think this would cause any customs or EPA issues would it? Even if the car was less than 25 years old? I am looking into a business idea involving doing this.
Would there be any duties to pay on return the US if someone has paid for their car to be shipped to the UK for work and returned?
I am Canadian, but the situation is the same for us as someone from the USA. The CDN$ has spiked because of the state of our economy and oil. So restoring British cars in the UK became inexpensive at least by our standards. Of course, the job has to be big enough to warrant it and the restorer reputable.
On return, the duty (and sales tax for Canada) is flexible item depending on how you paperwork it. You see there is no duty on foreign repair labor..only on imported parts. If you arrange the invoicing to reflect this, your duty/taxes on the return are negligible.
However, there is the VAT factor (UK value-added tax). This adds 20%. The vehicle MUST be shipped from the restorer directly out of the country to you, otherwise he is forced to charge you VAT on the whole job! (You need a VAT-savvy restorer or you will have to provide him with a bit of assistance i this area. Unlike part sellers, restorers are less export-familiar.)
You also have a bit of an entry problem. The UK requires proof that the car is road-worthy (currently active USA registration should do) and insured for UK roads. Whether it is going to be or even can be driven is irrelevant. You do NOT want to get into a situation where you are forced to try to explain why you are bringing in an unusable vehicle. That just puts you into another slot you do not want to be in. You would technically have to import the car "in bond" to avoid duties and VAT. Each country has a vehicle loophole for travellers and temporary residents. Use it.