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Old 22-12-2005, 09:32   #1
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Buying a US Boat and Importing to Canada

I am looking at buying a boat in the US (California) and (possibly) importing it to Canada and am looking for some advice on how to do this. My main questions:

1. The boat is a Beneteau, made in France with a value of about $90k Canadian, so I expect there will be import duties. Is the total tax = GST + PST + Duty? Somebody told me 15% import tax, is that the total tax?

2. I also have the option of keeping the boat in the US. I live near Vancouver but could leave the boat just across the border in Point Roberts, WA. I believe I can get a Canadian registration and not pay any taxes provided the boat is not left unattended for more than 30 days in Canada. Has anybody done this and what are the pros and cons (ie clearing customs everytime I sail back into Canada etc.)? The boat needs about 10k of upgrades / repairs so the tax savings would pay for this plus a couple of years of moorage.

3. Given this is the first time I have done this type of transaction and am feeling quite nervous about it, am I better off to get a Canadian based broker to help me with the transaction or just deal with the listing broker? The only issue here is I may have a little more bargaining power with just one broker but I don't want to compromise any of the legal issues with bringing it back to Canada.

4. I haven't seen the boat yet but one thing I am considering is having a surveyor go and do a 'quick' screening on the vessel to see if there are any major issues that I have't been informed of before I blow a grand to go down to California? Is this a common request for a surveyor? If I get a green light from the surveyor then I would go down, and if still interested, get a full survey done. Am I on the right path here?

Thanks in advance,
Kevin
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Old 22-12-2005, 13:02   #2
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boat import

Are you sure it was made in France? Beneteau makes it's number series boats in North Carolina so they are covered by the free trade agreement. Their First series boats I believe are still made in France.

You will need to call a customs broker to see what the duty rate would be for a French made boat. I doubt it would be as high as 15 percent. Duty is calculated on the price before tax.

Unfortunately you will be faced with PST and GST if you import the boat.

I see little benefit in involving a Canadian broker.

Before paying money to a surveyor you really should see the boat. I would suggest that you develop a list of at least 1/2 dozen boats to look at and then fly down to look them over. If you plan it right you can have a nice California holiday while doing some fun shopping.
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Old 22-12-2005, 13:23   #3
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I just sold my Beneteau to a Vancouver couple (the boat was in San Francisco). We established that the boat was worthwhile to make the trip by sending lots of detailed pictures. They got in touch with a Canadian border broker who took care of the customs clearing (paid 15%). They also arranged the trucking (Dudleys in Seattle - they have a website). For the trucking they were charged US$3600.00.
You must assume that, if this is a California boat, either the first owner or Beneteau has paid all the relevant taxes and duties to make it an American boat.


BTW: it was a First 35s5 - boat should be arriving either today or tomorrow.
I can't help you with your question re leaving the boat in the U.S.
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Old 22-12-2005, 16:02   #4
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Customs

I must say that I am fairly familiar with the proccess as I just did it yesterday. If the boat was manufactured in Canada or the US, it is covered by the free trade agreement, if not it will be subject to import duty, as well as PST and GST.
Import duty may vary depending the country of origin, customs can tell you the rate. It is Zero for US and Canada made boats.
When leaving the US you must export the boat, the customs guy stamps the documentation, when entering Canada you must import the boat. You do this by declaring your purchase to the customs agent. You must tell them how much you paid in US dollars, and be able to back that up with paperwork. I showed them a bill of sale plus a copy of the money order. Customs calculated the taxes and I paid them and carried on. You may have to apply for registration numbers for the boat if it has more than 10 hp. I also had my boat Xrayed by the US customs.
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Old 22-12-2005, 19:41   #5
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Thanks for all the replys

Henryv, the boat is definatelly built in France.

Cyclepro, did the 15% include GST and PST and was your boat french built? Thanks for mentioning the shipping quote. The quote I recieved from yachtworld was $1000 more. Did you sell your boat via a broker or privately?

Cheers,
Kevin
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Old 22-12-2005, 20:47   #6
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Percent

Canada customs will tell you what the import duty rate is. You know that PST and GST are 7% each. The customs agent will also charge a fee. Call Norman Jensen, they have offices at the border.
The Canadian dollar is at about 87 cents which is likely as high as it will go. It may hit 88 but it may also go down to 79, so in my opinion it is a good opportunity to buy something in the states, as long as the price is right.
I just bought a Tanzer 22 for $2750- US.
All told including exchange and taxes and fuel and meals and stuff, it will be about $4000- Canadian $$, which is less than they are asking for them up here.
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Old 22-12-2005, 23:51   #7
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The 15% must be both taxes combined (the buyers mentioned 15% but it could also be 14%). My boat was French built and imported into the States.
My experience with a transport quote is that the trucking company gets bombarded with quote requests so they normally aim high and once the deals are made, i.e.the boat is sold they will give you a lower rate and confirm that one in writing.
I sold my boat privately - no brokers involved

good luck
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Old 03-01-2006, 23:03   #8
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OK, finally decided to get if from the horses mouth for anybody that cares so I phoned canada customs. Total taxes on a non-us built boat imported into canada are 7% GST, 7% PST and 9.5% import for a whopping total of 23.5%. For US built boat, 14%
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Old 01-06-2008, 12:04   #9
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The only thing you guys are not talking about here is the free title. You can buy a boat in the US and import it, but if there is a lien against it, they will come and repo it from your slip and you are left without your money and without a boat.

Do you know how to do a lien search in the US? Are you sure that the guy selling you the boat (who assures you there are no liens against it) is not trying to sell the boat out from under the bank? Alot of Americans (and Canadians for that matter) are far over-extended and are selling off their recreational property for whatever they can get. Are you following me?

You will find kind-hearted folks who are facing losing their home unless they reduce their debt. They already have financing with their boat as collateral and they are selling for less than they owe.

You don't get a real title document (or one at all) and happily make your way back to Canada with your boat. The lenders figure this out eventually and come looking for THEIR boat.

Unless you are ready to gamble on your gut feeling, I would involve a broker to look after the lien search and paperwork and do the rest of the import yourself.

I actually learned all this the hard way folks. My second import was greatly assisted by an article I downloaded from Used Boats In Canada | Candid Insider Boating Advice and I used an importer who works both side of the border for the paperwork only.

Anyway... something to think about folks. It was a year in court with US legal bills to straighten out the mess that the kindly private seller left me in (up the creek without a boat... nevermind the paddle).

My 2cents worth.

PS: I suppose if we are talking about a $5000 boat this is not a big deal, but for those of you importing $25k and up, you best be sure that the title document is real and researched.
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Old 01-06-2008, 17:47   #10
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Great tip Knothome.

Thanks, not specifically for me (we were considering bringing one up but changed our minds) but in general that's great info! Well done!

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Old 02-06-2008, 01:58   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC Mike View Post
C... The Canadian dollar is at about 87 cents which is likely as high as it will go. It may hit 88 but it may also go down to 79, so in my opinion it is a good opportunity to buy something in the states, as long as the price is right.
Michael
Donít you just love it when your predictions come back to bite you.
On Friday, May 30, 2008, the Canadian Dollar closed at $0.993.
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Old 20-09-2010, 15:14   #12
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looking to purchase a boat(no trailer) from Massachussets and want to have it hauled in canada (New-Brunswick). can anyone help me into finding someone to haul it..?
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Old 26-09-2010, 06:36   #13
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I used Sealand Industries in Chester NS and was satisfied with the service. They used Beaver Brokerage at the border and thier fee was very reasonable.
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:42   #14
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Re: Buying a US Boat and Importing to Canada

I am looking at importing a Lagoon 44, also built in France but taxes and duty (9.5%) will add $100,000 to the cost. I am told there is a legal way to set up a US corporation to own the boat and register it in the USA, then bring it to Canada for cruising. Is anyone familiar with this?
Thanks
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Old 12-06-2013, 07:19   #15
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Re: Buying a US Boat and Importing to Canada

JWen, I don't think an LLC will work, please see this link:

SailNet Community - View Single Post - UK greencard holder living in US, buying a US boat to keep in US HELP!
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