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Old 28-10-2009, 21:08   #1
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Location: Currently travelling the Caribbean
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Canadians Buying a Boat in Florida, then Sailing the Caribbean

2 friends and myself will be in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on Monday looking to purchase a sailboat which we will sail the Caribbean islands for the non-hurricane season.

We're still pretty confused by the logistics of registering/documenting the boat and which taxes we may need to pay etc. etc. and any help we could get would be appreciated.

Do we need to use a broker or attorney to write up a contract ourselves, or can it be as simple as signing over the registration papers of the boat?

Also, we are considering sailing the boat back up to the Canadian East Coast towards the end of our journey. We would keep the boat in Halifax until we are able to sell it. Does anyone know how this changes how we should register the boat?

We'd appreciate any help we could get to avoid confusion later on. Thanks!!

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Old 29-10-2009, 11:24   #2
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My first boat was built and purchased in Florida by a Canadian citizen. He had Canadian documentation and thereby avoided paying sales tax in the U.S. and to the State of Florida. There are rules about importing boats manufactured in a foreign country that come into play. In this case I don't think he officially imported the boat and thus avoided duty.

I would imagine that your plans would work similarly, except that when you return to Canada the authorities there would have their hands out?

I'm no tax expert but wanted to share what I know. This is a BIG deal so be certain you know the rules before you take the plunge. Lots of horror stories on these forums about tax rules, boat seizures by the EU / Spain, etc.

Hope it works out for ya.

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Old 29-10-2009, 12:43   #3
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Not too many problems buying a boat and registering it in Canada. Many threads on that in this forum. If you bring it back to Canada you'll have to pay taxes (GST, PST) and if it's not made in US or Canada you'll have to pay duty too. I would use a broker, seller pays and a broker might be more helpful. You have to make sure that the seller has clear title to the boat. No loans, no liens.
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
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Old 30-10-2009, 15:45   #4
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The boat will need to be registered somewhere...UK has a small boat registry that cost $40 but only available if you have a British address but it is all on line and no documentation required...check what Canada has.

You can get it on one of the offshore British registries like BVI or Gibraltar but cost approaches $1000.

You will have 90 days to get ot of Florida before sales tax is due and a Canadian registry will probably be best if you are returning to cold rainy Halifax...

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Caribbean, florida

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