Disposition of personal vehicle upon return to Canada and/or medical coverage

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Disposition of personal vehicle upon return to Canada and/or medical coverage

Post by worryfreeinvestor » Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:20 pm

Married couple both citizens of both Canada and U.S. Been full-time taxable residents of U.S. since 2005. Plan to move back to Canada to become full-time residents of BC in February 2021. We intend to bunk with a friend in Vancouver, BC while looking for a new home. Purpose of bunking with friend is to enrol immediately in BC Medical Services Plan. We intend to leave most personal effects in storage in U.S. until we get our own home.

I understand when we drive across Peace Arch border crossing to establish residence (bunking with friend) if we do not carry personal effects with us we have to nevertheless declare the goods that will follow (on Form BSF186) to avoid any import duty or tax. As we are both previous residents of Canada I will have to pay HST on the value of my personal vehicle over CAD$10,000. Plus there is a bureaucratic process run by the Registrar of Imported Vehicles that appears to be more of a hassle than it is worth for an ordinary, run-of-the mill Toyota RAV4 (what we have).

So, we are likely to decide to sell this car in the U.S. and buy another one in Canada once we have moved. How can we drive our current vehicle into Canada when we establish residence (declaring such to CBCSA at Peace Arch border crossing) while asking CBSA to treat the vehicle (with WA state tags) as the vehicle of a vistor, not a resident? I envision a conversation like this: "We are moving to Vancouver permanently. We plan to buy a new car in Canada within a few weeks and drive this one back to the U.S. and sell it. We are not importing this car to Canada. The car is just visiting." How can we make that argument fly?

(I know what you are thinking: Why don't they just wait until this COVID-19 business is over and then visit their friend in Vancouver for a weekend later this year and ask CBSA at Peace Arch when they drive across as visitors? We will do that too once COVID-19 is lifted!)

Perhaps another way is to apply for BC Medical Services Plan early. That is, I note eligibilty for BC MSP is conditioned on being a legal resident who "must be physically present in B.C. at least six months in a calendar year." So, could we use our friend's address as our "home" for the purpose of applying for MSP coverage on January 4, 2021, even though we would not really be residents for a few weeks. We would definitely be resident in BC for at least six months in 2021.

Grateful for any advice.

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Re: Disposition of personal vehicle upon return to Canada and/or medical coverage

Post by nelsona » Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:26 pm

Putting RIV aside for the moment, you first need to declare your car at the US-side, that you are exporting it. THEN you go to the Cdn side and import. It is unlikely that Canada will let your car in without paying the tax (it has nothing to do with previous residency, all such US cars imported by newcomers must follow this). Your best bet, since you need to advise them that you are coming, is to call them and and ask. You can't just show up on either side. By appointment only.

So, RIV is the way to go, and they explain each step you need to do, in US at borders and in Canada. The Cdn govt has contracted with them for YEARS to manage this process.
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Re: Disposition of personal vehicle upon return to Canada and/or medical coverage

Post by MaggieA » Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:09 pm

In 2016 we moved back to BC after more than a decade in the US. After much debate, we did bring two cars with us. The export (from US) and import (to Canada) process looked very intimidating, but turned out not to be bad. In retrospect I'm happy with the decision. Unless you want to pay a broker to handle the transaction for you, you have to register yourself as an exporter from the US side, and fill out the electronic paperwork. You also need to make an appointment for exporting with your border crossing (Peace Arch in your case). Caution: Peace Arch has limited hours for vehicle exports, at least, it did in 2016. You can't just drive up there and expect service. This website seemed helpful: http://www.kurucz.ca/expatrepat/

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