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Old 28-04-2020, 14:10   #1
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Buying a boat in Canada and registering it in US

Hello:
I think I have found a boat-in Toronto!
Can anybody share their experience purchasing in Canada and registering/importing to US. Thanks in advance.
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Old 28-04-2020, 17:41   #2
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Re: Buying a boat in Canada and registering it in US

I did this in 2018. It was a direct purchase / sale. No marine broker involved.



US Customs has all the forms you will need. It is smart to get a customs broker to review & submit to US Customs.


You can PM me with questions.
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Old 28-04-2020, 18:39   #3
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Re: Buying a boat in Canada and registering it in US

If ON is anything like BC make it a condition of the sale for delivery into the US and the sale to take place upon delivery to avoid the sales tax (BC charges if the sale takes place in BC doesnít matter it itís leaving right away) but really depends on how far away and how much the boat is worth vs delivery cost to make it worthwhile.
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Old 28-04-2020, 18:46   #4
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Re: Buying a boat in Canada and registering it in US

^^^
Canadian cannot transfer title in the US. Sale must occur in CA.
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Old 28-04-2020, 19:56   #5
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Re: Buying a boat in Canada and registering it in US

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^^^
Canadian cannot transfer title in the US. Sale must occur in CA.
Nope, done it twice now without issue. Title can be transfer wherever the boat is. Plenty of Canadian registered and documented boats that havenít even been to Canada. It can be harder to find a broker in the US to check the title but if itís along the US Can border it shouldnít be a problem, might be more difficult in say Florida.
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Old 29-04-2020, 06:51   #6
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Re: Buying a boat in Canada and registering it in US

US Customs would disagree.
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Old 29-04-2020, 07:09   #7
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Re: Buying a boat in Canada and registering it in US

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Nope, done it twice now without issue. Title can be transfer wherever the boat is. Plenty of Canadian registered and documented boats that havenít even been to Canada. It can be harder to find a broker in the US to check the title but if itís along the US Can border it shouldnít be a problem, might be more difficult in say Florida.
Transfer of title implies a sale.
It is illegal to sell a foreign vessel in the US.
Canada has "licensed vessels" and "Registered vessels". if the vessel is "licensed" no action is required. If the vessel is "registered" it must be de-registered through Transport Canada

OP. This is not a complex thing..... buy the boat in Canada. Take all paperwork to US customs, pay duty (for non-nafta built boats only). Any taxes due in the US will be applied in the state where you register your new vessel.
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Old 29-04-2020, 08:58   #8
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Re: Buying a boat in Canada and registering it in US

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Transfer of title implies a sale.
It is illegal to sell a foreign vessel in the US.
Canada has "licensed vessels" and "Registered vessels". if the vessel is "licensed" no action is required. If the vessel is "registered" it must be de-registered through Transport Canada

OP. This is not a complex thing..... buy the boat in Canada. Take all paperwork to US customs, pay duty (for non-nafta built boats only). Any taxes due in the US will be applied in the state where you register your new vessel.While paying 13% in sales tax in Canada
"A foreign flag vessel may not be offered for sale on a general basis while in the U.S. unless first entered through Customs and any applicable duty paid. A U.S. built vessel may be entered duty free as "US goods returned," except as to the value of any foreign improvements, e.g., arising from a refit performed at a foreign yard. The duty rate on a yacht is 1.5% of its value (but 50% as to the value of foreign improvements if it's in commercial use). Any duty is required to be paid before the vessel is offered for sale, and cannot be remitted at the closing of the sale.

A foreign flag vessel may be offered for sale while in the U.S. if any offering is restricted to non-U.S. residents. This is the reason why one will often see yachting magazines with a restriction in an advertisement such as "vessel is not offered for sale or charter to U.S. residents." The vessel owner and the broker should be careful as to how and to whom the vessel is advertised/shown because, as stated above, the maximum sanction for violation of the Customs laws is forfeiture of the vessel. Thus, notwithstanding the restriction, if the vessel is shown to, or the owner entertains an offer from, a U.S. resident while the vessel is located in the U.S., Customs could seize it."


So again it is not illegal to sell a foreign flagged vessel in US water provided that A) duty and taxes have been paid (basically importing the vessel without registration) or B)Offering of sale to non-US residents.
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Old 29-04-2020, 12:24   #9
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Re: Buying a boat in Canada and registering it in US

Thanks guys.
Got it.
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Old 29-04-2020, 13:01   #10
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Re: Buying a boat in Canada and registering it in US

In theory it's simple. But the lawyers and bureaucrats have made it a paperwork hot mess. A straight forward USCG Documentation (as opposed to a state "registration") is simple and cheap. I've done a couple. But if non-US flag, then a de-flag to re-flag process is necessary. Should be simple but it gets messy.

If not of US manufacture first and import valuation survey from an accepted surveyor is required. Then there are piles of documents that are very difficult to understand, a customs duty of 1.5%, plus an EPA fee, plus a port of entry fee, plus, plus plus. Use a customs broker and pay their fee. You might find a customs broker that can handle both the de-flag, re-flag and the importation.
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Old 29-04-2020, 13:25   #11
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Re: Buying a boat in Canada and registering it in US

We bought a boat from Toronto and lived in Youngstown, NY. Our broker, RCR Yachts, took care of everything for us, including registration, transfer of funds, and documentation. Everything was perfect and we didn't need to do anything. Since the broker fee was paid by the seller, there was no charge to us. It sounds like you're not using a broker - a good one can be worth their weight in gold when you're cross-border shopping.
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Old 29-04-2020, 19:41   #12
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Re: Buying a boat in Canada and registering it in US

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Originally Posted by rbk View Post
If ON is anything like BC make it a condition of the sale for delivery into the US and the sale to take place upon delivery to avoid the sales tax (BC charges if the sale takes place in BC doesn’t matter it it’s leaving right away) but really depends on how far away and how much the boat is worth vs delivery cost to make it worthwhile.
From Toronto to the USA (Youngstown NY) is an easy day sail of just a few hours. Not a big deal at all.

Except the border is closed right now.
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Old 30-04-2020, 19:20   #13
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Re: Buying a boat in Canada and registering it in US

I bought a boat from a private person in BC and brought it into Washington by showing up at the customs dock and telling them I wanted to import the boat whereupon they impounded the boat.
Luckily, they let me put the boat in a slip at the marina and stay on the boat, although my car was close to the ferry in Anacortes if I had to leave.
First, I recommend not importing a boat through a customs entry that is not familiar with the laws as they will not be able to be as helpful as people who do it often.
I was given a form which I filled out and they wouldn't accept until I hired a customs broker from a not very up to date list. The broker faxed the same form and it was accepted immediately. The thing was resolved in less than 24 hours. Mostly because I arrived late in the afternoon and had to wait until morning to finish and pay.
I could have saved some money if I had known that the boat had lived in the US for some time before it moved to Canada. I was assuming it came new from Sweden and went right to Canada.
Registering it in Washington was also slightly difficult because Canada has different registrations and everyone from Customs to the state wanted to assume that I had stolen the boat until enough time passed, so initially everything was kind of provisional.
I would definitely line up a customs broker beforehand and go through a port that is used to importing things. On the other hand the Customs officers let me use their fax machine several times, so points for them being nice.
With the exchange rate at the time it was still a good deal even with paying the duty and customs broker fees.
If I had known about needing the customs broker, I would have scanned the paperwork to them so it was ready when I got to the dock even though I had planned to stay in Friday Harbor anyways. It was just a little more stressful than it needed to be.
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