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Old 13-10-2018, 20:19   #1
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Canadian looking at a British built, European registered boat in Ontario waters

What a combo
I have scoured this forum and what feels like half of the rest of the internet trying to solve this scenario

Has any Canadian here bought a European built/registered boat whilst it is in Canadian water?

I have found multiple references to Canadians not being able to buy US registered boats in Canadian water. Talk of moving the boat to the US, purchasing there, dealing with State tax items and importing as you move it back into Canadian water (CBP rubbing their hands and opening the cash register)

The last boat i bought was Polish registered and French built.
We bought her in Florida, paid a fee for temporary tax exemption to give us time to exit the country. Went to the Bahamas and played tax-free.

Hurricane Irma ruined that tax exile adventure (in Turks&Caicos) - so we're looking for our next floating home and adventure

I think i could play this thing out to a similar model - go and transact in the States, but i'd rather stay local if there's a way to
I know that might sound mad - with a 13%HST bill to pay, but it will take us a year or two to get set to leave Canada for bigger adventure

Any advice/experience/help will be gratefully received
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Old 13-10-2018, 20:44   #2
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Re: Canadian looking at a British built, European registered boat in Ontario waters

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Originally Posted by WoodFamSkipper View Post
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I have found multiple references to Canadians not being able to buy US registered boats in Canadian water. Talk of moving the boat to the US, purchasing there, dealing with State tax items and importing as you move it back into Canadian water (CBP rubbing their hands and opening the cash register)>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I think i could play this thing out to a similar model - go and transact in the States, but i'd rather stay local if there's a way to
I know that might sound mad - with a 13%HST bill to pay, but it will take us a year or two to get set to leave Canada for bigger adventure

Any advice/experience/help will be gratefully received

That story, IIRC, was due to some special circumstances about the boat being moved across the border before, or having some non-tax payment issues beforehand.


I brought our US built boat across and legally imported it. No issues.


But British built MAY BE different, 'cuz the UK ain't the USA, so look at the CBSA website, you could find that a UK boat coming into the dominion may not be subject to that HST.


I don't know. YOU have to look. In those threads, I have posted links to Canadian govt resource websites.



UK, USA, different - maybe.


Good luck.
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Old 13-10-2018, 20:59   #3
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Re: Canadian looking at a British built, European registered boat in Ontario waters

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
That story, IIRC, was due to some special circumstances about the boat being moved across the border before, or having some non-tax payment issues beforehand.


I brought our US built boat across and legally imported it. No issues.


But British built MAY BE different, 'cuz the UK ain't the USA, so look at the CBSA website, you could find that a UK boat coming into the dominion may not be subject to that HST.


I don't know. YOU have to look. In those threads, I have posted links to Canadian govt resource websites.



UK, USA, different - maybe.


Good luck.


Thanks for your response - from my read up the last time I was thinking of bringing our Euro boat back, I found the following

New European boats are now duty free but HST must be paid on purchase price (Trudeau Euro-trade deal)

Old Euro boats are subject to 9.5% duty + 13%HST = 22.5%

I’m looking to see how/if it’s possible to purchase this current Euro boat locally and avoid a trip around the Flagpole to complete the transaction

I think/dread that there will be 22.5% tax to pay on it - so avoiding a 3/4 week cruise to reach the checkout would be preferable
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Old 13-10-2018, 21:07   #4
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Re: Canadian looking at a British built, European registered boat in Ontario waters

You have no option, the boat cannot be sold in US or Canadian Waters and no matter what you do offshore you will be expected to pay all taxes and duties immediately upon entering Canadian waters ..... they will be on the dock with their hands out.

I do Canadian and international tonnage measurements and get involved in this stuff frequently. You can't win unless you are willing to cheat (I've seen that done) but the price of getting caught means a visit from the RCMP ..... I've seen that too.
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Old 13-10-2018, 22:01   #5
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Re: Canadian looking at a British built, European registered boat in Ontario waters

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You have no option, the boat cannot be sold in US or Canadian Waters and no matter what you do offshore you will be expected to pay all taxes and duties immediately upon entering Canadian waters ..... they will be on the dock with their hands out.

I do Canadian and international tonnage measurements and get involved in this stuff frequently. You can't win unless you are willing to cheat (I've seen that done) but the price of getting caught means a visit from the RCMP ..... I've seen that too.


Hi Boatpoker
I’ve seen details about Canadians having their boats in the US and having to tread very carefully around the “For sale” status of their vessels. Advertising “not for sale in US waters” , not being able to conduct “sales related surveys” and things like that

Are their rules that prevent Europeans from selling their boats in Canada?
If I wanted to pursue the purchase, in Canada, and pay the import taxes - is that the scenario you mentioned was not an option?

I’d have kids and cats onboard, enough stress to motivate me to pay all taxes in full to avoid having the authorities want to get on board as well
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Old 14-10-2018, 07:42   #6
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Re: Canadian looking at a British built, European registered boat in Ontario waters

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Hi Boatpoker
I’ve seen details about Canadians having their boats in the US and having to tread very carefully around the “For sale” status of their vessels. Advertising “not for sale in US waters” , not being able to conduct “sales related surveys” and things like that

Are their rules that prevent Europeans from selling their boats in Canada?
If I wanted to pursue the purchase, in Canada, and pay the import taxes - is that the scenario you mentioned was not an option?

I’d have kids and cats onboard, enough stress to motivate me to pay all taxes in full to avoid having the authorities want to get on board as well
You are in complicated waters. I suggest you start here Canada Border Services Agency "Foreign Vessels".
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Old 14-10-2018, 14:24   #7
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Re: Canadian looking at a British built, European registered boat in Ontario waters

Buy a boat with less than 10hp, then no lic or reg required...and no taxman waiting either. That's why yanmar makes the YSM8 right?
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Old 14-10-2018, 14:56   #8
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Re: Canadian looking at a British built, European registered boat in Ontario waters

Where is the boat? Move it to the nearest French territory in the St. Lawrence, buy it transfer registration, enter Canada pay the tax and duty.....one of the only ways to legally do the transaction
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Old 15-10-2018, 08:26   #9
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Re: Canadian looking at a British built, European registered boat in Ontario waters

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Buy a boat with less than 10hp, then no lic or reg required...and no taxman waiting either. That's why yanmar makes the YSM8 right?


I’d love to do that - our dinghy has a 15hp block on it though
Definitely need to go bigger for our blue-er water plans but thanks
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Old 15-10-2018, 08:28   #10
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Re: Canadian looking at a British built, European registered boat in Ontario waters

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Where is the boat? Move it to the nearest French territory in the St. Lawrence, buy it transfer registration, enter Canada pay the tax and duty.....one of the only ways to legally do the transaction


I’m definitely interested in digging into this item a little more
I’ve seen people keep their boats on the US side of the StLaw
Our closest border would be buffalo, figure the same approach would apply there
We’ve been modelling plans around not bringing back to Can until absolutely necessary or wanted too
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Old 15-10-2018, 09:22   #11
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Re: Canadian looking at a British built, European registered boat in Ontario waters

You could keep the boat in US territory and not have to pay HST or duty BUT you can only get a US cruising permit for 12 months and then you have to remove the boat from the US for 14 days before returning to the US to get a new cruising permit. You need to be able to show that the boat was taken to a different country. Difficult to do if your only option is Canada and you can't enter as a visitor and all payments are due on physical entry. You can get the clock on your cruising permit stopped for the time that your boat is on the hard in the US. Only problem is that some officials know this and others do not.
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Old 15-10-2018, 10:07   #12
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Re: Canadian looking at a British built, European registered boat in Ontario waters

My Swedish built boat was registered in USA but it was "visiting" Canada when I bought it. I took my paperwork and a picture of the boat to Canada Customs, paid the duty, then paid GST and PST on top of the purchase price and the duty. $10k later I have a little piece of paper saying I'm legal. I'm certain I could lied about country of origin or price but a good nights sleep at anchor can be hard enough some nights.
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Old 15-10-2018, 13:53   #13
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Re: Canadian looking at a British built, European registered boat in Ontario waters

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My Swedish built boat was registered in USA but it was "visiting" Canada when I bought it. I took my paperwork and a picture of the boat to Canada Customs, paid the duty, then paid GST and PST on top of the purchase price and the duty. $10k later I have a little piece of paper saying I'm legal. I'm certain I could lied about country of origin or price but a good nights sleep at anchor can be hard enough some nights.


Ok nice!! So from the sounds of this, you didn’t have to leave country and then cross back into Canada to resolve it?
Thinking the duty might have been that 9.5% for boats from Europe and then 13% for the two Canadian taxes?
Where in Canada did you pay the customs fees? Do they have offices to do that that aren’t just at the border?
Totally understand the wanting to sleep easy, that’s why I’m doing this prep way in advance of pleading ignorant with an official knock the the door
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