Importing a car from the USA to

A reader sent the following and points out the fact that it just is not
worth the hassle and possible consequences of trying to lie or change the
value of a US purchase.  For the record, if you do score a special deal and
get a $12,000 car for $2,500, the value of the car entering the car is the
Black or Blue book value, not necessarily what you actually paid for the
vehicle (or television, or piano).
In addition, if you were to go to Mexico with your $3,000 rusty 57 Chevy and
had $5,000 worth of restoration rebuilding done that increased the value to
$35,000, you could be forced to pay duty on the $35,000 value (including the
original $5,000 value) not just the $5,000 restoration, because it was not
"emergency" repairs which are actually duty free.
The same situation applies to anything.  For instance, taking some old
jewellery for remanufacturing by a jewellery "artist" in the US means you
pay duty on the new appraised retail value when you bring it back to Canada.
On Sept 21, 2005 I was bringing an 88 Jeep Grand Wagoneer across the border
and two brothers were being given the third degree because they were
bringing back 2005 Mercedes 500SL sports cars which were selling just about
new for $100,000 Canadian.
The Canadian Customs guys were baffled by the price until the brothers
showed them that the cars were Hurricane Katrina Flood Damaged cars that had
been written off by an Insurance Company and needed a lot of work to bring
back to snuff.  Not so with the following story sent by a reader.
Hi David,
When my wife moved to Canada from the US on Thanksgiving weekend 3 yrs ago
we also had to bring her car. Unfortunately as you noted the Douglas
crossing is only available for export Monday to Friday. The nice people at
the truck stop on the south side will "store" your car for a tiny fee, as we
found out. Then you can cross on a weekday and get the car.
Anyway the point of my story is the people behind us in line. First you have
to stop at the Little shack on the US side and head in to do the export with
the US folks. Well the people behind us were quite chatty and told us they
paid some $12000 for the car they were bringing across (apparently a good
deal) We thought nothing of it till we got to the Canadian side and
overheard them tell the agent it was a gift from his brother! The border
guard politely explained the penalties for lying and then asked if he would
like to restate the price he paid. The guy lied again!! He said he paid
$3000 for it. The border guard then says " SIR! You are already going to be
paying a large fine (I believe she mentioned $8000)for lying the first time,
would you also like to spend some time in a JAIL CELL?
By this time my wife and I are staring wide eyed in amazement with our jaws
about on the floor. Our customs agent looked at us rolled his eyes and said
this happens all the time. When we left, the guy was still raising his voice
and arguing with the agents. I think he was about to be taken back to "the
room"  nobody wants to go to.
So anyway the point here is that if you send in your paperwork and are
honest about things the whole process is a breeze, tell a lie and things can
get ugly really quick! If the car is a great deal you wont need to lie to
save a few bucks anyway right!


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