In recent years, cars with Armenian numbers have become increasingly common on the roads of Russia. At first, many thought that this was due to a new round of migration of our former compatriots who had been living in Armenia all this time, but it turned out that most of the owners of these cars are native Russians, who decided to save on customs duties.
The fact is that in Armenia it was possible to buy a car without paying customs duties, and then overtake it to Russia, thereby saving a fairly large sum of money. At the moment, this method is no longer so relevant, since local customs payments are almost equal to Russian ones.
However, the Russians quickly found another loophole – now they bring cars from Abkhazia, where customs duties are still “penny”. How does this method work and does it have any fundamental differences from the “Armenian scheme”?
Buying a car in Abkhazia
Note that in Abkhazia you can buy a car already presented on the local secondary housing, and driven from abroad. In the first case, a Russian will have to look for a suitable car using the appropriate Internet resources, or come to the republic and personally ride through numerous parking lots with used cars.
The most attractive for citizens of the Russian Federation is still buying a car at an online auction. Here you can buy a car at a very “tasty” price, and its subsequent customs clearance in sunny Abkhazia will cost around 20-30 thousand rubles, and this amount is relevant even if we are talking about a premium car. In Russia, the cost of this procedure is several times higher.
Sea containers with cars purchased at auctions first end up in Novorossiysk, and then end up in Abkhazia. Their delivery lasts about 1.5 months, during which the winner of the auction will have to prepare the documents necessary for the subsequent operation of the machine. At this stage, the motorist can either turn to intermediaries for help, or try to do everything on his own, but in any case, he cannot avoid a trip to Abkhazia.
Method number 1: paperwork through intermediaries
After you have purchased and cleared a car in Abkhazia, it must also be registered with the local traffic police (about 10,000 rubles), and the vehicle must be registered as a citizen of Abkhazia. The latter will have to write in your name a full general power of attorney, officially certified by a notary.
It is best to turn to the services of intermediaries at this stage. They usually work at the borders between countries (for example, there are several large offices in Adler and Sochi). It will not be difficult to find them, since in recent years a whole market for such services has formed in Abkhazia.
The intermediaries will not only help you find a suitable “owner”, but will also fully undertake the preparation of documents permitting the operation of a car with Abkhaz numbers on the territory of the Russian Federation without paying customs duties.
For this, the purchased car will allegedly be leased by an Abkhaz legal entity (LLC), and this organization will conclude an employment contract with the buyer of the car, that is, it will take it to work. After that, the intermediaries will issue travel documents to the owner, which will allow him to freely cross the border with Russia in a “rented” car.
With such a scheme, problems with border guards and customs authorities should not arise, while the so-called “temporary import” will be issued at the border in accordance with the customs declaration of the motorist. After that, a Russian can safely operate an uncleared car from Abkhazia, rejoicing that he managed to save money.
Method number 2: paperwork for yourself
If the scheme with intermediaries does not suit you with something, then you can either purchase an Abkhaz LLC, or register a company from scratch in your name, to which the purchased car will then be registered. Note that with this approach, the “travel” documents required to cross the border with Russia will have to be drawn up independently.
The advantage of this method is additional savings on the services of intermediaries, however, on the other hand, you will have to spend money by paying the state duty when registering an LLC, paying for the services of a notary and making the minimum authorized capital (in Abkhazia it is 18,000 rubles). In addition, subsequently, the motorist will also have to be puzzled by the issue of submitting the obligatory reporting of LLC.
In general, you won’t be able to save a lot when buying a car on your own, so it’s better to contact a specialist. Note that, if necessary, the latter are also ready to take upon themselves not only the paperwork for an already purchased car, but also directly search for and purchase a used car. By ordering the “turnkey car” service, the buyer will only have to pick up the finished documents and the car itself directly at the border with Abkhazia.
Advantages of a car with Abkhaz numbers
In addition to significant savings on customs clearance, the operation of a car with Abkhaz license plates in Russia has a number of other advantages. First, the motorist becomes “invisible” to traffic cameras. Naturally, the latter record traffic violations, but “letters of happiness” do not come to the driver.
Secondly, there is no need to pay transport tax for a car with Abkhaz license plates. Therefore, even at the stage of purchase, you can look at used cars with more powerful engines (over 250 hp).
However, it will not be possible to completely avoid the transport tax, but it will have to be paid to the treasury of Abkhazia. Every year, a Russian will have to replenish the budget of the solar republic in the amount of 400 to 600 rubles, but compared to Russian prices, this is mere pennies.
Thirdly, the owners of cars with Abkhaz license plates are relieved of the need to undergo an annual inspection, while the lack of papers on the passage of MOT is not an obstacle for them to issue OSAGO.
Disadvantages of a car with Abkhaz numbers
Cars with Abkhazian plates also have disadvantages. First of all, such a car cannot be sold, exchanged or donated in Russia. To do this, you will need to go back to Abkhazia, while taking with you the buyer himself. Not everyone will agree to sign up for such a deal, so you will have to lure people into a serious reduction in the price of a car.
However, it is still possible to sell such a car in Russia, but it will first need to be registered. Unfortunately, customs clearance of the car at Russian rates will cost the owner a pretty penny. Plus, do not forget that in this case, you will also need to install the ERA-GLONASS complex on the car and pay a utilization fee for it.
Another obvious disadvantage of a car registered in Abkhazia is that it is possible to drive it in Russia only for a year, after which it is necessary to leave the country by car (preferably to the same Abkhazia). Otherwise, the Russian customs may declare the car on the wanted list, and the motorist will be obliged to pay its full customs value. If this is not done, then the car will be considered contraband.
If the car is not taken out of Russia on time, the driver faces administrative liability (Article 16.18 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation), which provides for a fine in the amount of 1,500 to 2,500 rubles with or without confiscation of the vehicle.
Note that it is best to leave Russia not annually, but a little earlier (for example, every 11 months), while upon arrival in Abkhazia, the motorist will need to reissue travel documents, after which it will be possible to return back.
It will also not be superfluous to note that the Abkhaz authorities can at any time make appropriate amendments to local legislation, thereby seriously complicating the life of all Russians who have cars with Abkhaz license plates at their disposal.
However, the Russian side can turn a similar “trick” by tightening the rules for the temporary import of vehicles. If this happens, then the car will either have to be cleared at exorbitant prices in Russia, or hastily get rid of it directly in Abkhazia.
Nuances of operating a car from Abkhazia
First of all, I would like to touch upon the issue of buying an insurance policy. The latter is purchased directly at the entrance to Russia from one of the border offices, while the motorist will have to fork out for insurance without restrictions, since the car is allegedly rented according to the papers.
In addition, the driver should forget about KBM’s personal discounts for accident-free driving in Russia, since the policy will be issued according to travel documents for a legal entity from Abkhazia. Consequently, insurance will cost more than usual – from 12 to 15 thousand rubles per year.
If already on Russian roads a motorist is stopped by traffic police, then the latter, in addition to a driver’s license, must also present a customs declaration with a mark on crossing the border, a waybill and an employment contract on behalf of an Abkhaz LLC, as well as a travel certificate.
Plus, the driver should have with him a general power of attorney from an individual for whom the car is registered in Abkhazia. However, many police officers themselves do not yet know what documents the driver of a car with Abkhazian numbers must have with him, so often they just need a driver’s license and insurance.
We also note that the owner of a car registered in the Abkhazian register does not have the right to let other people drive, as this is considered a gross violation of customs legislation. If you take this risk, and the person in your car gets into an accident, then you can forget about insurance.