Purchasing a used boat registered in Washington that is mow in Canada - SailNet Community

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Old 08-18-2010
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Purchasing a used boat registered in Washington that is now in Canada

Hi All - hoping for some advice.

We have the opportunity to purchase a boat at a good price here in Canada. Now as we are progressing with the deal, found out that the boat is still registered in WA and that the current owners couldn't afford to "register" it in Canada.

Waiting to hear from them, but I am getting the feeling that they never cleared customs with the boat.

I am hoping that someone can let me know what the ramifications are if we continue with this deal.

I have been searching the internet tonight trying to figure out how this can work or if it can at all. So far I have found nothing that makes me say yes or no 100%. I am having serious misgivings and ready to pull the plug on the deal but thought that I would try to get some outside information.

Thanks for any and all input to this query!

Last edited by DancingPanda; 08-18-2010 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 08-19-2010
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Question sounds a bit fishy...

It's been many years since I purchased a Canadian boat up in BC and sailed it to a port of entry where I paid US import duty, and then sailed it home to Oregon and created a title.
I do recall that sailors up there pay a BC sales tax, and it used to be around 8%, IIRC.
Chances are that your seller is trying to cheat the BC govt out of their taxes and could be even be trying stay one step ahead of having it chained up for non payment.

As to the legal "ramifications" you really need to speak to your WA registration folks directly. You can get helpful/interesting personal stories from strangers on the 'net, but nothing that will ever help you in court....

If you really like the boat and the price, one possible outcome might be to pay and take delivery in Washington waters. Then just change the title and regis. (if Washington now titles boats.)

I would wonder if that might still leave you with a tax liability if you ever come under RMCP jurisdiction, though.

While this is not quite the same as being offered 'stolen property' there is still liability attached, IMHO. Something like a tax lien is never going away.

Note also, that it's hard to know how much trust to grant the seller, knowing that he is already a potential criminal in Canada.

Risky Business, on the whole, and at the end you will not get Rebecca De Mornay to sail away with you...
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Old 08-19-2010
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I don't think the seller would be a "criminal" as he had to clear customs when entering, as a visitor. Instead of importing the boat he kept his US registration. When you purchase the boat and register it in Canada you will pay 12% tax - 5% gst and 7% pst combined and now called HST - assuming you are in BC. If the boat is made in the US or Canada there is no duty.
Living aboard in Victoria Harbour
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