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Old 11-06-2018, 12:01 AM   #1
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Question US customs question to bring equipment for a trip back to Canada

Hi guys,

We are buying a boat in US to bring to Canada. We will remove her from US registration, import to Canada, pay duties and taxes - I know how to do this.

It will be a long trip from East coast to Lake Ontario and I want to bring some electronics, equipment, dinghy and outboard motor I have left from the previous boat (some things almost new). I will get a U-Haul trailer and use it to drive everything from Canada to US to put/install on the boat and after that bring it back to Canada with the boat.

Question is - how do I prove to US Customs on the border crossing that all this stuff will go back to Canada so they will not charge me taxes on that and make me "import" this to US?
I can just go for it and hope my explanation and "promise" to bring it back will satisfy the customs officer but maybe there is some more reliable way to do this? I will have Bill of Sale and Canadian registration papers for the boat but this will not mention anything I will have in the trailer.
Or this is normal and people do that all the time without any issues and I over-complicate the process?
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Old 11-06-2018, 12:08 AM   #2
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Go to a customs broker in Canada and get a Carnet. That will list all the equipment you are carrying and will allow you to import them temporarily free of duty. It will also require you to check in and check out when crossing the border.
Any licensed broker and handle it for you.
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Old 11-06-2018, 12:12 AM   #3
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You should call the applicable U.S. Port of Entry (Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations is the agency) and ask this series of questions. Be sure to get the name of the officer, and ask for the procedure when you actually arrive to enter the U.S. with your goods. I suspect they will be delighted with your "pre-call" and planning. There are lots of vehicles of all sorts moving across the border every day, so the pro-cess should not be difficult for them.

Best of Luck
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Old 11-06-2018, 12:36 AM   #4
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thanks, wwestman. I'll ask the broker who will clear the boat for me about the "Carnet" thing. if they will want too much to prepare that, I'll go with Jeff's suggestion and call - this was not my plan A because I had experience with one person saying one thing and second saying another thing but calling the place where I'll be crossing and getting the officer's name is a great idea.
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Old 11-06-2018, 12:48 AM   #5
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I did this three years ago. Not quite a uhaul, but dinghy and lots of gear over several trips. And I cross the border regularly with sailing dinghies and gear, and often high end bikes. I've never detected a whiff of concern from CBP. You've got a plausible story and paperwork to show the purchase of the mothership. I'd say just drive through.
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Old 11-07-2018, 09:55 AM   #6
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I drive back and forth over the borders with new and old boat stuff several times per year. The only question regards "are you bringing anything in for resale?" Personal use old stuff is not an issue. Whether a toothbrush, dinghy or old plotter. If you have a bunch of stuff in new Furuno or Garmin boxes there may be some questions. Been doing it this way for over 40 years. Never a problem.

But, beware the the new Canadian marijuana laws that are now in place. These have alerted the USCustoms guys to watch for drug smuggling. A new deal that could cause some odd sounding questions.
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:40 AM   #7
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Many cross border jaunts with and without gear both driving and vessel delivery. Unfortunately my experience has been that regardless of advice you get on the phone and whether or not you have that officers name .... and whether or not you are legally correct .... means absolutely nothing. The agent you meet at the border has absolute discretion.
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Old 11-07-2018, 11:34 AM   #8
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It's your home country that wants the taxes...


In the OP case, the stuff going out and coming back needs checked in with Canada before you leave with it.


Be VERY careful with procedures, that there isn't a civilian/commercial difference...


By the sounds of it, this is all personal goods, you don't want to mistakenly use commercial procedures, cuz then the Americans will accuse you of doing business in America... deny you entry, want tax money, strip you naked, cavity searches...


Is a Carnet good for personal goods, or tools of a trade only?


The border peeps on both sides LOVE screwing with someone who thinks they know what they are doing, and have done it wrong...


Pay for help, the internet won't be there to help when you are asked to remove your clothes...
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Old 11-07-2018, 02:16 PM   #9
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That is why you pay a customs broker to deal with it. Let the professionals do their job and stay out of the mix and trouble.

As was said in an earlier post, calling the port will get you an answer and name, but the answer may not be correct and the name may not be working that day.
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Old 11-07-2018, 02:25 PM   #10
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That is why you pay a customs broker to deal with it. Let the professionals do their job and stay out of the mix and trouble...
With a U-Haul trailer full of boat parts, that's what I'd do.
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Old 11-07-2018, 03:50 PM   #11
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As others have mentioned, the U Haul is a potential red flag. Why not boil your stuff down to a more manageable SUV like volume?
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Old 11-07-2018, 04:54 PM   #12
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I would also want to have some documentation to show that the equipment originally came from Canada and that you brought it with you across the border and back again. That way, the Canadian's won't attempt to add the value of the extra equipment in your tax and import fee calculations.
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:33 PM   #13
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Regarding the legalization of marijuana in Canada. This has been in our local news a lot lately. According to the news, if the US customs agents ask you if you have ever used marijuana before and you answer yes, you can be banned from entering the US for life. If you have a stake in any business that deals in marijuana you can be banned from the US. I don't know if they have any way of knowing that you are lying to them. Just a warning to be prepared for the question.
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Old 11-07-2018, 08:01 PM   #14
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customs broker will document as Yacht in Transit.Border agents are familiar with customs brokers documentation
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Old 11-07-2018, 09:39 PM   #15
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I know you said that you are aware of the duty and taxes on the boat itself. Just to be sure, are you aware that components on the boat that are made in the USA may not be taxable? For example, if the engines are US made their value can be deducted from the value of the boat. I was told this by a Canadian friend who bought my boat in the US and took it home to Canada.
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Old 11-09-2018, 10:17 PM   #16
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thanks, guys.
I'll try to break down the things I take with me, seems like the safest option.
the problem is the boat more than 11 hours drive from home so I can not make too many trips but will probably do at least a couple by a car before May departure. Dinghy and the motor will be the largest items and 11' RIB may not fit even in SUV - I never tried - will measure. Maybe an open trailer with dinghy on it will attract less attention.

> are you aware that components on the boat that are
> made in the USA may not be taxable

I think this went up in smoke recently with NAFTA ended. When I was looking for a boat, I asked the broker if there is a duty difference on the US and none-US made boats and he told me no difference now because there is no NAFTA any more. something like that. and the boat was built in Taiwan and has Yanmar engine anyway.

My broker was away, I'll try to talk to him next week. Will update my findings in case somebody else will be in the same situation.
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Old 11-12-2018, 03:53 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterant View Post
Hi guys,

We are buying a boat in US to bring to Canada. We will remove her from US registration, import to Canada, pay duties and taxes - I know how to do this.

It will be a long trip from East coast to Lake Ontario and I want to bring some electronics, equipment, dinghy and outboard motor I have left from the previous boat (some things almost new). I will get a U-Haul trailer and use it to drive everything from Canada to US to put/install on the boat and after that bring it back to Canada with the boat.

Question is - how do I prove to US Customs on the border crossing that all this stuff will go back to Canada so they will not charge me taxes on that and make me "import" this to US?
I can just go for it and hope my explanation and "promise" to bring it back will satisfy the customs officer but maybe there is some more reliable way to do this? I will have Bill of Sale and Canadian registration papers for the boat but this will not mention anything I will have in the trailer.
Or this is normal and people do that all the time without any issues and I over-complicate the process?
Contact CPB and ask for clarification. Get it in writing or a copy of the applicable regulations and follow it. Keep records of everything.
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Old 11-12-2018, 04:53 PM   #18
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My broker was away, I'll try to talk to him next week. Will update my findings in case somebody else will be in the same situation.

Nope, nope and nope... a boat broker sells boats, a border broker deals in taxes and fees and procedures at the border. Ask him which border broker they use, and if he's happy with them.



After all this scary stuff... don't go cramping your style, you aren't doing anything wrong, hauling your "stuff" down there to help with the passage home.


One trip, as big a load as you need, do not make things inconvenient because of an internet forum.



Ahead of time, you need PROFESSIONAL ADVICE as to how to not screw up. Some documentation of your stuff, the order you pack it in, availability for inspection by BOTH border authorities as you leave and enter... keeping track of where all your "stuff" is as you come home, in the boat, in the car, etc... Pack expecting to have everything inspected, both sides, both directions, and you will have a happy time.



Organized people make for boring enforcement action...



Employ a border broker to tell you just how EASY it is to stay out of trouble, if you do things in good order.
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Old 11-12-2018, 05:16 PM   #19
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Thanks Roamer Blue.

Guys,

A related question:
can somebody recommend a good border/customs broker to clear the boat with Canadian customs as well as help with that equipment in transit question? i discussed it with one guy who my friend used before but he disappeared and not replying for a few weeks now. not a type of broker i would want to work with.
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Old 11-12-2018, 05:19 PM   #20
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Importing boat

I did this 4 years ago without a broker Stopped on the way down with documentation
When i brought Waterview home stopped in Niagara on the Lake , called customs they arrived , we went over bkill of sale plus improvements
convertd to us dollars and agreed on tax bill Paid with Visa
Its not rocket science
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