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Old 06-07-2009, 23:06   #1
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So, I've been playing fast and loose with the spirit of the rules regarding me (US citizen) keeping my boat (US registered) near me while living in Canada (officially temporarily, but we've applied for landed status. Two years ago. And counting.) On Sunday, returning from the states again, Canadian border services said uh-uh, not unless you import the boat within 48 hours.

So now I'm back ashore, and scrambling to find out what my costs are going to be for the import (12% taxes on my US-built boat), insurance, registration, etc. Anyone done this before?
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Old 06-07-2009, 23:30   #2
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So, I've been playing fast and loose with the spirit of the rules regarding me (US citizen) keeping my boat (US registered) near me while living in Canada (officially temporarily, but we've applied for landed status. Two years ago. And counting.) On Sunday, returning from the states again, Canadian border services said uh-uh, not unless you import the boat within 48 hours.

So now I'm back ashore, and scrambling to find out what my costs are going to be for the import (12% taxes on my US-built boat), insurance, registration, etc. Anyone done this before?
Hey Amgine- are the 12% taxes you are referring to a duty or tariff? I thought NAFTA applies since your boat was built in the U.S.? I didn't have to pay any taxes other than sales tax on my boat since I was buying a US-built boat (in N. Vancouver).
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:00   #3
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Better pay up of they will seize your boat . Don't mess with customs . The taxes are not NAFTA related they are the combined GST and PST not duty. Consider it your part for paying for the Coastguard , navigation and other public facilities you use while living in Canada . If I brought my Boat into Washington I would have to pay to register it and pay state taxes as well . I currently pay for a yearly cruising permit to go into US waters and have no issue with this as I am using the facilities provided by Washington taxpayers. There is currently no fee for US boats using the facilities in Canada.
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:15   #4
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they are the combined GST and PST not duty
Worst of all things. Tax collectors can find you guilty until you prove yourself innocent. US or Canada they all use the same play book. It appears they have hit you with the stick so don't wait for the hammer. It's maybe better than getting in trouble with the USCG over documentation. That's federal criminal but at least they take you to court before the hanging. Not that way with tax collectors. See, want, collect is much more simple.
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Old 07-07-2009, 19:50   #5
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Situation so far

Paying the sales tax at Customs was actually quite painless, other than my US bank assuming that the Gov't of Canada was trying to fraudulently charge my account. The funny thing is, the officer I got actually tried to suggest that, as I wasn't a Canadian and didn't have landed status, and it was a US boat, I could probably get away with just going back to the States every few months - exactly what I had been doing.

Anyway, I paid them the money, the boat is now imported to Canada. The difficulty now is figuring out how to get it registered in BC, and finding out if there's anything akin to Coast Guard documentation. Then on to finding out how the insurance program works here.

I have to mention that after the tough guy phone conversation I was sweating the interview. But the officers were friendly and helpful, pointed out some things I could do to keep the taxes as low as legitimately possible, and generally were the sort of folks I'd offer a drink if they dropped the hook in the same anchorage as me. All told, excluding the phone arguments with my bank, it took far less time than the ear-chewing I got when I cleared in.
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Old 07-07-2009, 22:33   #6
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Registration is not required in Canada a BC licence # is all that is required in your case and it is free. Documentation is not required.

Go to this site
Pleasure craft licences

You just go down there with a bill of sale and customs documents and your in

Insurance just requires a current survey and proof of ownership . often a non local surveyor will not be accepted but a local one may review and certify a recent one for a fee of course.
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Old 07-07-2009, 22:47   #7
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If you leave canada though some areas do not accept this (licensing) as proof of ownership. Registering a boat in Canada gives the "queen' rights to use your boat if necessary in times of war and is more costly. hahahahahaha

Insurance is probably required by the marina (2million liability minimum most places) add $500 or so? 6% GST(shouldn't be 12% - ) I think it is to the Minister of Finance. But I am no expert on taxes.

Canada Tax Formula
How much did you make? How much do you have left? Give it to us.
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Old 08-07-2009, 00:46   #8
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Canada Tax Formula
How much did you make? How much do you have left? Give it to us.
Not much different down here in the southern part of this continent.
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Old 09-07-2009, 09:47   #9
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This has been soo easy!

Walked into Services Canada (a branch of government whose sole job is to make working with the government easy. What a weird and wonderful concept!) and after a painless interview was given a licence with no fee, cost, or tax good for life.

I'm reading up more on registration, which in Canada is similar to US CG documentation. There is a fee for that, and it needs to be renewed (for no additional cost) every 3 years after. The benefit of registration is if you ever plan to go to a foreign country (which I do), and to establish better documentation of ownership (for a mortgage, as an example.) It's designed primarily for commercial boats, of course, and includes publishing the owner's name and address, which I'm not as cool with.

Still haven't heard back from insurers. I suspect the easy, good experience is going to end there.
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Old 09-07-2009, 11:59   #10
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Hmmm.... I dont understand... If you are a US citizen and it's a US boat, why wouldnt returning to the states every now and then work? Is there a limit on how many times you can visit Canada or something?
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Old 09-07-2009, 12:22   #11
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It might...

That is, I could argue with CBSA and, until I get my landed status which shows I am a resident of Canada, I could keep the boat here and occasionally go back and forth over the border.

And every time I clear back into Canada I'll have to do it again, if they feel like making an issue of it. Which it seemed they did.

But, since I really do want to be a resident, and I'm waiting on approval for my landed status application (just coming up on two years since the first application submission... s-l-o-w....), this will let me avoid being required to sail into the USA and the hassles there. Crossing the border either direction is not so huge a problem as to prevent my doing it again, but it's not something I look forward to either. It usually means at least a half day out of my holiday each way getting to a clearance port that isn't on my preferred itinerary.

Besides, Canadian boats don't seem to have as much difficulty clearing in to other commonwealth nations as do USA boats.
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Old 09-07-2009, 12:34   #12
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In Canada any pleasure vessel over 15 Tons needs to be registered, under 15 tons it only needs to be licensed, it can be registered if you choose to.
A vessel over 15 tons is registered for a fee of $250 good for the life of the vessel. You receive a bluebook similar to an oversized passport, it is legal proof of ownership. It lists the owners, their shares in the vessel, vessel captain and any liens or mortgages on it.
A vessel under 15 ton is licensed. It used to be done by all the individual provinces of Canada but is now being taken over by Transport Canada and operated by Canada Border Zervices.

This is the important part. A vessel license is not proof of ownership. So if you plan to visit foreign countries you will need proof of that. It is better to spend the $250 and have your vessel registered, it makes it easier clearing ports.

As for the sales tax issues it is just like Florida and other states, if it stays over a certain period of time you are "consuming" it there and should pay the tax. It sucks. I know a lot of people who got stuck with it in Florida and elsewhere, even the VAT in Europe.
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Old 09-07-2009, 13:44   #13
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In Canada any pleasure vessel over 15 Tons needs to be registered, under 15 tons it only needs to be licensed, it can be registered if you choose to.
A vessel over 15 tons is registered for a fee of $250 good for the life of the vessel. You receive a bluebook similar to an oversized passport, it is legal proof of ownership. It lists the owners, their shares in the vessel, vessel captain and any liens or mortgages on it.


Unfortunately the bluebook has gone the way of the dodo bird. It used to be a blue heavily bound folder with a great big sheet inside with the registration details. This was good for the life of the vessel. Now you get a sheet of yellow paper in a plastic envelope which has to be re-newed every few years. There is no charge for the renewal, just the initial registration charge, but I suspect sometime in the future they will start charging for renewals.
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Old 09-07-2009, 14:24   #14
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That is terrible. Another piece of history done away with.
Hopefully I will not have to trade in my BlueBook one day. It is a great place to keep all ones clearance papers in.

I apologise about the misinformation.
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Old 09-07-2009, 19:44   #15
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I would love to hear the reasons or justifications of why they got rid of the Bluebook.
I cannot see it being some kind of security issue. How can receiving a new document every couple of years be more secure. It is only a major inconvinience. Perhaps that is the idea.
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