Automotive

Bringing used car from US to Canada

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[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 20, 2003
844 posts
2 upvotes

Bringing used car from US to Canada

Hi im wonderign how much tax i need to pay if i bring back my car from US to Canada. My dad has been driving this 2006 subaru impreza for about 5 months already in the USA, and if he moves back to Canada how much tax does he need to pay?
40 replies
Deal Fanatic
Apr 24, 2006
6534 posts
416 upvotes
Toronto
Before we begin, Was the car originally purchased in Canada?

If so, then make sure you bring your bill of sale and old registration from Canada. You will also be paying a $209.00 vehicle importation fee which is charged by Transport Canada. Go to www.riv.ca This is the Registrar of Imported vehicles, it is a program run by Transport Canada.

If the vehicle was NOT purchased in Canada you need to check riv.ca first to ensure the vehicle is admissable to Canada.

What does this mean?
A number of vehicles that are sold in the United States (even if the EXACT same model is sold in Canada) will have differences in the manufacturing process. Examples include bumpers that do not meet the minimum speed, no damage requirements as mandated by Transport Canada.

It will again cost you an additional $209.00 to Transport Canada. Additionally, if the vehicle has air conditioning, which I assume it does, you will be paying $100.00 for an "Air Conditioning Excise Tax". (Any new vehicle sold in Canada will have this amount listed on the bill of sale.)

Furthermore, if the vehicle has been manufactured outside of NAFTA (Canada, US or Mexico) it will be subject to a 6.1% tax.

As with the above post, you will pay the following at the border ASSUMING the vehicle was originally purchased in the US AND is admissable to Canada.
Registrar of Imported Vehicle - $209.00
GST - 7% of the value in Canadian dollars
Air Conditioning Excise Tax - $100.00
Additional %6.1 duty - Only if vehicle was produced outside of NAFTA

Oh yeah. Don't lie to them when you declare the value of the vehicle. They're not stupid people, it's VERY easy to look up the real value. You lie to them, they'll seize the vehicle then it costs even more money to get it back.

Good luck!
Deal Fanatic
Apr 24, 2006
6534 posts
416 upvotes
Toronto
LOL, I just realized now that the Thread was created in Careers.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Dec 14, 2002
784 posts
12 upvotes
Edmonton
Is this all it takes? Aside from safety issues and having it be inspected and fixed up as per inspection, how much trouble will borders give you if you are from Canada, with a Canadian liscence and bringing in a US car? Will they give you any? I guess they shouldn't... but I have heard some horror stories indeed.

TIA
cwb27 wrote:Before we begin, Was the car originally purchased in Canada?

If so, then make sure you bring your bill of sale and old registration from Canada. You will also be paying a $209.00 vehicle importation fee which is charged by Transport Canada. Go to www.riv.ca This is the Registrar of Imported vehicles, it is a program run by Transport Canada.

If the vehicle was NOT purchased in Canada you need to check riv.ca first to ensure the vehicle is admissable to Canada.

What does this mean?
A number of vehicles that are sold in the United States (even if the EXACT same model is sold in Canada) will have differences in the manufacturing process. Examples include bumpers that do not meet the minimum speed, no damage requirements as mandated by Transport Canada.

It will again cost you an additional $209.00 to Transport Canada. Additionally, if the vehicle has air conditioning, which I assume it does, you will be paying $100.00 for an "Air Conditioning Excise Tax". (Any new vehicle sold in Canada will have this amount listed on the bill of sale.)

Furthermore, if the vehicle has been manufactured outside of NAFTA (Canada, US or Mexico) it will be subject to a 6.1% tax.

As with the above post, you will pay the following at the border ASSUMING the vehicle was originally purchased in the US AND is admissable to Canada.
Registrar of Imported Vehicle - $209.00
GST - 7% of the value in Canadian dollars
Air Conditioning Excise Tax - $100.00
Additional %6.1 duty - Only if vehicle was produced outside of NAFTA

Oh yeah. Don't lie to them when you declare the value of the vehicle. They're not stupid people, it's VERY easy to look up the real value. You lie to them, they'll seize the vehicle then it costs even more money to get it back.

Good luck!
Deal Fanatic
Apr 24, 2006
6534 posts
416 upvotes
Toronto
Monkey, I'm not sure if we're talking about the same thing. Ryan123 is asking about permanently importing the vehicle into Canada, after reading your post it sounds as if you're asking if it's ok for any Canadian to drive an American plated vehicle in Canada.

A Canadian citizen can drive a US Plated vehicle in Canada only if they hold status in the United States (Ether a Permanent Resident Card or a valid VISA) OR if they are not currently a resident of Canada. For example, you live in Canada, if you go down, borrow your friends car for the day and try to come back into Canada they will not let you bring the car into Canada.

I'd also be willing to bet these horror stories you've heard are a little blown out of proportion and possibly happened as a result of people not fully understanding how certain procedures work before arriving at the border. :)
Sr. Member
User avatar
Dec 14, 2002
784 posts
12 upvotes
Edmonton
Sorry. I'm also talking about permanently registering a US car in Canada.

Say, I go down to purchase a vehicle. Bring it up... and I'm assuming all I would have is a bill of sale. Will they give me many problems?

Thanks again.
Deal Fanatic
Apr 24, 2006
6534 posts
416 upvotes
Toronto
monkey-boy wrote:Sorry. I'm also talking about permanently registering a US car in Canada.

Say, I go down to purchase a vehicle. Bring it up... and I'm assuming all I would have is a bill of sale. Will they give me many problems?

Thanks again.
All you will need is the original bill of sale (with the real price you paid, they will seize the car if they find out you're not being fully truthful) and the title of the vehicle. Also check www.riv.ca to ensure that the vehicle is admissible to Canada.

Also, the CBSA evaluates duties and taxes for the vehicle based on current market value, so showing a bill of sale for 10 bucks won't get you a deal. The only problems that you will have are the ones you create for yourself. :) :)
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jun 15, 2004
768 posts
8 upvotes
Toronto
monkey-boy wrote:Sorry. I'm also talking about permanently registering a US car in Canada.

Say, I go down to purchase a vehicle. Bring it up... and I'm assuming all I would have is a bill of sale. Will they give me many problems?

Thanks again.
i think in order for you to even buy the car originally it has to be registered when you go down there. and in order to have it registered you have to have a us citizenship card. please correct me if i'm wrong but this is what i think is a potential situation. i'm not sure if you have dual citizenship but you'll need to be a us citizen i think to buy a us car legitimately.

were you planning on using the better exchange rates and lower us prices/tax to create an arbitrage opportunity? if so customs will tax your butt off on that and there's no point.

i apologize in advance if my information is slightly incorrect or what not so please do not send me hate replies afterwards, but please confirm the information i have touched upon. hope it goes well
Deal Fanatic
Apr 24, 2006
6534 posts
416 upvotes
Toronto
kid_icarus wrote:i think in order for you to even buy the car originally it has to be registered when you go down there. and in order to have it registered you have to have a us citizenship card. please correct me if i'm wrong but this is what i think is a potential situation. i'm not sure if you have dual citizenship but you'll need to be a us citizen i think to buy a us car legitimately.

were you planning on using the better exchange rates and lower us prices/tax to create an arbitrage opportunity? if so customs will tax your butt off on that and there's no point.

i apologize in advance if my information is slightly incorrect or what not so please do not send me hate replies afterwards, but please confirm the information i have touched upon. hope it goes well
I don't know where you're getting any of your information from but it is all incorrect.

I am a former employee of the Canada Border Services Agency (formerly known as Canada Customs). Though I have been outside of the Agency for sometime, the process that I detailed is exactly how I would have processed a vehicle being purchased. You do NOT need any sort of status in the United States to purchase a vehicle from there.

And no, it's not Customs that taxes you, it's the Federal Government. We do NOT apply arbitrary taxes and duties as we see fit, there are very specific guidelines as to how things work. Infact, in some circumstances when you purchase a vehicle from the US it can be FAR cheaper then one purchased in Canada.

I mean no disrespect, but if you don't know how things work, but you think you know how things work, don't post. It just adds to mass confusion and contradictions.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jun 15, 2004
768 posts
8 upvotes
Toronto
cwb27 wrote:I don't know where you're getting any of your information from but it is all incorrect.

I am a former employee of the Canada Border Services Agency (formerly known as Canada Customs). Though I have been outside of the Agency for sometime, the process that I detailed is exactly how I would have processed a vehicle being purchased. You do NOT need any sort of status in the United States to purchase a vehicle from there.

And no, it's not Customs that taxes you, it's the Federal Government. We do NOT apply arbitrary taxes and duties as we see fit, there are very specific guidelines as to how things work. Infact, in some circumstances when you purchase a vehicle from the US it can be FAR cheaper then one purchased in Canada.

I mean no disrespect, but if you don't know how things work, but you think you know how things work, don't post. It just adds to mass confusion and contradictions.

no disprespect taken. i clearly indicated that i wasn't sure about my information but i added that information in there so someone like yourself could confirm it since there were no facts included about this in any of the above responses. therefore it was not a waste if you think about it. i apologize for the "customs" comment what i meant was that canada will somehow make up for the difference of your cost in some sort of way. whether it is 100% or not.

I would like to kinda add more "confusion" becuase i believe through this confusion we'll get down to the exact matter in hand.
i believe what i was trying to get through is that..... you can't get insurance or the car registered in the US unless you are registered in someway whether on work permit or maybe through other means. can you honestly tell me that once you walk into a dealership they will sell you any car as long as you provide them your foreign information? Let's say someone just flew over from Brazil, would a dealership sell that car to that person if they only had brazilian identification? is my logic not correct? every car needs to be registered off the lot if i'm correct and therefore in order to drive the car up here you would need to be registered and insured in the US.

you could probably just get someone to buy it FOR you and drive it up to the border for you and then make the exchange but for you to do it all alone LEGALLY is not possible and cwb maybe you can add some federal documentation to contradict this. I do not think that a Canadian insurance company will set up insurance for you on a car in the US so you can drive it back here.

but hey u worked for canada customs and maybe you are right. i'm actually in the US right now and i've been talking with people here who used to live in Canada and this is what i've been told but they could be totally wrong

Being down here in the states I realize that pretty much in every circumstance every car is cheaper in the US at this current time than in canada. I'm in north carolina right now and their taxes on vehicles is only 2%. a 2006 Civic Si on the road in canada is about 32 grand canadian while it's only about 26 grand canadian here in north carolina using current exchange rates. I AM SURE you already know this. but what i'm saying is that however cheap it is.... in the end the government will greatly close that difference.

cwb: btw could you please post the links to the canadian government that clearly outline the costs and rules of importing a car from the states. additionally since you used to work for canada customs maybe you could help the guy in this post on information about what is necessary for purchasing a vehicle in the united states. This wasn't meant to add any confusion but to hopefully get some clear cut information out there. Personally, If what you say is all true, i'm curious to learn if I could just drive down to buffalo and buy a car and drive it straight back up to canada. And could you describe in "what" circumstances it would be cheaper? Do you know how the government determines the amount of tax on the vehicle you bring up?

I hope that I've brought up some important questions through this post. I am genuinely asking questions and throwing out the "information" i've assimilated. Do not quote me on anything but these are my thoughts and i am as curious as the original poster. Thanks!
Deal Fanatic
Apr 24, 2006
6534 posts
416 upvotes
Toronto
Ok, to answer a few of the questions really quick. I have no idea how a Non US Citizen/Permanent Resident would go about registering or placing insurance on a vehicle in the US that they just purchased and intend to stay in the US with. Quite frankly this isn't the Canadian government's problem. :)

As for links, I do not know any off the top of my head, it is not a complicated process. Everything is clearly outlined at www.riv.ca It is Transport Canada that establishes the guidelines for importations, the CBSA enforces the ones that it has been told to.

And yes, you could this very second, be in Canada, drive over to Syracuse, Buffalo, Detroit, etc... buy a car and bring it back into Canada so long as you can supply a valid bill of sale and the title of the vehicle.

As for how tax is calculated on the vehicle, if I remember correctly, this is how:
-7% GST - Always charged
-$100.00 Excise Tax - Charged if vehicle has air conditioning
-If vehicle is produced outsid of NAFTA (US, Canada, Mexico) you will be charged a duty(tax) known as MFN or Most Favorable Nation, which is equal to 6.1%. How do you judge if the vehicle is made outside of NAFTA, the VIN # can tell you and you can also look at the compliance label affixed inside the driver door jam.


If anyone else is looking to bring a vehicle up from the US, the best advice I can give is to do your homework, research all info at www.riv.ca I've seen many people show up unprepared, with incorrect information and then try to tell me that they are correct, it doesn't work that way :)
Deal Addict
Jul 17, 2003
1121 posts
46 upvotes
Toronto
cwb27 - thanks for the info, it's very informative.

can anyone else shed light with respect to the process of buying a car from the states, arranging insurance, US taxes paid, etc (i.e. everything prior to actually having the car go through customs)? Or, instead of buying from a dealership, what if I buy the car off e-bay?
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Aug 31, 2005
9916 posts
22 upvotes
ask ElvasoShexi...that guy did it.
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