My mother spends six months of the year in Florida. We want to ship her car from Florida back to Ontario for her use while here for the other six months, and then back to Florida. An article in The Globe indicated she would face onerous duties and taxes. But that does not jibe with what we were told by a shipping company, who said she would be able to avoid taxes and fees. The quote to ship my mother's Ford Fusion from Naples, Fla., to St. Thomas, Ont., is $1,175, and the shipping company says my mother only needs to show proof her car will be returning to Florida, a copy of her Naples tax bill and a utility bill, presumably as proof of U.S. residence. She would be able to pick up her car at a bonded warehouse in London, Ont., after paying a "bond fee." We wish to comply with all regulations but are confused by these conflicting statements. Can you clarify the situation? - Darlene
Section 7(1)(b) of the federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA), says a person visiting Canada may bring a motor vehicle into the country temporarily without it having to comply with Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations, "if it is to be used exclusively by a person entering Canada as a visitor or a person passing through Canada to another country."
The MVSA defines a visitor as "a person who is not a resident or a temporary resident." The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) says Canadian residents who spend months outside of Canada are still considered residents of Canada and must declare all goods acquired outside of the country, including any vehicles purchased outside of Canada.
Because your mother does not qualify as a visitor, she must abide by rules pertaining to a resident wishing to bring a vehicle into Canada that was not purchased in this country.
If a Canadian citizen wishes to bring a vehicle from the United States into Canada, "they are required to go through the Registrar of Imported Vehicles [RIV] program, regardless of the length of time the vehicle is staying in Canada," a spokesman for the Canada Revenue Agency says.
Should you decide to import the vehicle into Canada, after meeting all provisions of the RIV program, duties and taxes payable on the value of the vehicle will be assessed. Proof of insurance will also be required.
Further information is available from the RIV at 1-888-848-8240, or through CBSA.
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