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Old 23-01-2018, 08:50   #1
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Registering a New boat

Hi there- I am a Canadian buying a new boat in France ( Lagoon 42) which will be kept in the Caribbean for personal use. I will need to register it somewhere with little/no import tax. I am thinking of an LLC in Delaware, US but looking for others' suggestions and advice.
Thanks!
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Old 23-01-2018, 14:46   #2
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Re: Registering a New boat

Import tax is generally payable when you import a boat into a country. It has little, if anything, to do with registration.

AFAIK, you will not pay any "import tax" if you place the boat on the Cancdian register if you don't import it into Canada.
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Old 23-01-2018, 16:19   #3
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Re: Registering a New boat

Stu is correct, $250 Canadian dollarettes to Transport Canada and $450 to the tonnage measurer. No taxes or duties due until the boat hit's Canadian waters (if ever). You dealing with Blanche or Mike in Port Credit ?
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Old 08-02-2018, 16:18   #4
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Re: Registering a New boat

I am also a Canadian in the process of buying a new US built power catamaran and am trying to figure out where to register it. I plan to take delivery in early 2019 from the factory near Seattle and cruise the Pacific Northwest for a season up the BC coast as far as Ketchikan, Alaska. The boat will then be shipped from Seattle to Fort Lauderdale where we own a condo and we will cruise around southern Florida and the Caribbean for a few years before we sell it.

With this plan the logical choice for registration is Florida where the boat will reside and likely be sold. However, I have heard stories of Canadian who bring their US registered boat into Canadian waters being forced to import the boat including full payment of all applicable duties and taxes! If this is correct then cruising the Pacific Northwest may not be practical? The alternative of registering the boat in Canada has other issues including limitations on how long the boat can be in US waters at any one time? Could also have resale implications in Florida.

Can anyone help me sort out this conundrum?
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Old 08-02-2018, 17:16   #5
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Re: Registering a New boat

OK, get yourself a coffee and read .........

When in Canada I live onboard in Mississauga at PCYC. I am a Transport Canada Appointed Tonnage Measurer, Transport Canada Licensed Master, Marine Surveyor and routinely deliver Canadian and US boats between Lake Superior and Antigua. In other words I have some experience in this area.

First be aware of the difference in terminology between US and Canada.

Canada
1. Transport Canada Registered.
2. Transport Canada Licensed.

USA
1. USCG Documented (similar to Canadian Registered).
2. State Registered (similar to Transport Canada licensed).

Should you register the boat in Canada, no sales taxes or duties are payable until the boat hits Canadian water and they want payment instantaneously. They don't care if you are importing or visiting they want their money on the spot. It is illegal to sell a Canadian Licensed/Registered boat in the US although their are ways around this if you are willing to test the edges.


If the boat is built in a NAFTA country, only sales taxes are due, duty is not.
Cruising US waters in a Canadian flagged (Licensed or Registered) vessel has become a major PIA in the last 14 months or so. Rules that have been on the books since the 60's that were pretty much ignored are now being enforced hard and fast. A foreign vessel must cruise in US waters under a Cruising License from CPB. It says right on the License that you must report into CPB at every port or place you stop.This has recently been interpreted in many CPB districts as ... if you move to another slip in the same marina you must report in. If you anchor in the Georgia swamp with no phone signal .. you must report in. Often they will not answer the phone, more often they will give you phone numbers that have been disconnected, sometimes they will ask you why you are bothering them, call somebody else.

When you tell them you tried to phone in but they didn't answer or you were given a wrong number or you could not get a cell phone signal, they respond with "it's not my problem and give you a "Notice of Violation" threatening a $5000 fine or vessel seizure for your first offense.
We have experienced all of this in the last 14 months.

There is no benefit to you in licensing the boat in Canada.

Only US citizens or US corporations may USCG Document a vessel. The same NAFTA tax/duty implications apply.

I believe your best bet is State Registration but each state is wildly different in how they tax boats, In some it's just sales tax, in others they treat boats like real estate and demand property taxes. Many states also have limits in how long a licensed boat from another state may stay in their waters before they too want to collect tax. Check out the best state for you. A State Registered vessel may stay in the US for ever (but you can't).

The biggest advantage to State Registration is that you avoid the Cruising License nonsense. Another is that you can take the boat into Canada for up to a year and not get hit with Canadian taxes.

There may be a very slight issue ... In Canada and the Bahamas they are very used to seeing State Registered boats but further afield there may be some inconvenience dealing with bureaucrats who are used to looking at Canadian Registered or USCG Documented papoerwork. God knows you don't want to confuse those people.
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Old 08-02-2018, 19:32   #6
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Re: Registering a New boat

Thank you boatpoker! Your input confirms that there is nothing quite like experience. I have poked around on government agency websites and had a few online "chats" with agents but got no real clarity. If I understood your inputs fully it looks like my logical choice (Florida) is likely the best choice. I will get the manufacturer to look into the specifics. (PS: The boat is an Aspen C120 built in Burlington WA.)

We also have something in common since I know PCYC quite well. We lived in Port Credit for 12 years and I had a Sailtime share for a year in a Cruisers 360 that was based out of PCYC at that time.
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