I am in the same situation as you. A Canadian who owns a charter boat in the BVI.
When I purchased the boat, I hired a documentation
specialist. We looked at the Delaware option, a UK option as I am from there but not a resident and the Canadian option as I am a resident in Canada
Without a doubt, the Canadian option was the least expensive ( Tax Free ) the simplest and the most beneficial for us.
The Delaware option is basically a shameless smoke and mirror attempt and won't get you very far nowadays. It allows foreigners to own a dummy corp which owns your boat and then the Delaware Fishing
and Wildlife department issues you a state license
. There is no clear title to present to a customs
officer. If you plan on clearing customs
anywhere, this will become an issue for you as agencies are quickly becoming less tolerant of this. Also, as soon as you arrive in Florida, their state taxes will become due.
The Canadian option is a federal registry which provides clear title and ownership
information making customs clearances much easier. No tax need be paid unless you physically import
the boat to Canada. ( Very bad idea ) When you arrive in Florida, you simply apply for a cruising permit
which can be renewed annually and allow you to sail in US waters without the need for a "permit to proceed" each time you leave port.
Believe me, I just about choked on my rum
when the documentation specialist said that Canada was the best Tax Free option.
As for a BVI registration, I don't see the point when Canada is free. ( $250 registration fee and no survey
required if less than 15 meters )
Attempting to hide money
in the BVI will be more complicated than it is worth. Particularly if the amounts don't warrant the risk. Just being open to the CRA about what you have will allow you to sleep peacefully at night. I declare to Canada that I have an asset in the BVI and I even bank with the CIBC in Roadtown. That is the one benefit of owning a boat, it is much more difficult to show a profit than a loss! All of our revenue goes directly back into the boat in the form of maintenance
, upgrades, new sails
and boat toys.
I too plan to have the boat in Florida and the Bahamas
at some point and when the day comes to sell her, I will simply pay the Americans their 1% import
duty ( 1% of her depreciated value, not purchase
) vs the Canadians their 9.5% Or sell her back to the Caribbean