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Old 27-04-2012, 14:47   #1
bonobo's Avatar

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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: World Oceans
Boat: Catamaran Prometa, Banana43, 43F
Posts: 57
Canadian registration for a NON RESIDENT citizen

Hello dear sailing friends !
It has been a wile since I posted my question regarding the registration of a foreign bought vessel under Canadian flag.

I successfully registered my new sail-catmaran (build in France) under Canadian flag and DID NOT pay any taxes / VAT / Custom fees / Import taxes or any fee in eider country's .
I did this legally and with the help of the Canadian customs who give me all the needed information on the subject.

This is my story:

I am a Canadian citizen but NOT a canadian resident . The last is important!
I live in Belgium where I'm a resident.

When ordering my future vessel, the seller / Builder in France, told me I could escape the 21% tax on the boat by registering the boat under a Delaware LLC company and registered it under US flag.

I created a LLC company in Delaware and the boat was build under the name of the company. While in construction, I therefor never paid tax on anything for the boat in europe as the vessel was to be exported.
(I could have avoided creating this Delaware company by immediately reporting the vessel to the French customs as a Canadian vessel and requested a building registration to the canadian registration office, but I did not know this at the time.)
Federal registration in the US was not possible for me as one need to be a US Citizen, I had not been warned for this when creating the Delaware company ....

When the vessel was completed and ready for the tests at sea,the shipyard requested the French customs to give a temporary French registration for tests at sea of a vessel intended to be exported.
This is common practice and done by phone and fax. One just has to show the invoice / Estimate with a non European address.

At that time, I traveled to Canada, Ottawa, so I could visit the registration bureau, the custom headquarters, the Radio canada office personaly instead of by mail, e-mail or phone....
This is always the best option in my opinion ....

At the registration bureau, they informed me off all the documentation , paperwork, etc... I needed to register the vessel.
As a canadian Citizen, there was no problem for me to register a vessel in Canada.
To hurry up the procedure, they suggested me to register in Nunavut, contrary to Toronto where one need weeks or months to register because of the high demand, Nunavut office, ( located in ottawa) do the paperwork in one day

I did the same at the Radio Canada office for the radio license.

At the custom office they explained me that I would not pay any taxes, VAT, import taxes, or any other fees for the vessel under the following conditions:

1) I needed to be a NON resident of Canada.
2) I could bring the vessel into Canadian waters as a visiting vessel ( Canadian citizen, non resident, visiting canada for holiday) for 350 days per year maximum. Same if it where a car.
3) I would need to register at the customs / immigration upon entering Canadian waters as if the boat was a foreign vessel.

The custom officers at headquarters where of a great help and made me a full photo-copy of the custom import regulations and underlined the paragraph related to my case.

The only problem I encountered was the tonnage measurements survey for the boat.
As it is a catamaran, there are no forms for simplified registration so I had to have a expert fill in a specific survey form. "Normally" following the book, this has to be done by a canadian authorized survey person.... IN CANADA .....
But when calling the Toronto survey headquarters the sent me the list of "international recognized " companies; One is off course LLOYD'S register international, who has offices all over the world. I used the Marseille office.
This procedure has cost me 2000 euros.

I'm now on the way to my circumnavigation, my boat registered in Canada, I did not do anything illegal, I'm perfectly legal with the blessing of canadian and European customs and tax-bureau ....

I will happily reply to any questions.
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