Buying A Car In Canada Non Resident - If you're looking for a car at a dealership in another province, it's up to the dealer to sell it to you or not. Vasils Dolmatov/iStockPhoto/Getty Images
I live in Ontario and the new car I want is not currently available here. I was wondering if I could buy it from a car dealer in Quebec or British Columbia. Are there any rules against it? If I do, do I have to pay provincial sales tax in both provinces - both here and there? - Ken, Mississauga
Buying A Car In Canada Non Resident
If you're looking for a car at a dealership in another province, it's up to the dealer to sell it to you or not.
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"There's no regulatory requirement that they can't," says Viraf Baliwalla, a car broker in Toronto. "Most dealers want to sell vehicles and don't care where you live, but having said that, some dealers don't want to put in the extra effort."
Andy Tan, general manager of OpenRoad VW in Burnaby, B.C., says out-of-province buyers are looking for used cars. At least until this year, buyers were able to purchase most new car models in their home province.
Traditionally, he says, Thana's dealership sold one to two used cars a month to out-of-province buyers. But that number has risen to three or four a month, Tan says, as a shortage of computer chips has reduced new car production and increased demand for used cars.
What about new cars? If certain new models are in short supply, will the dealer sell to an out-of-state buyer?
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"It depends on the dealer — we're all franchises and we do things differently," Dan says. "[Some dealers] may want to reserve that limited inventory for customers with ongoing service claims, while [other dealers] may be concerned with sales."
“I had many clients in B.C. I was looking for a RAV4 Prime and I was able to get them here in Ontario, but they couldn't find them,” says Ballywalla.
In some provinces, some vehicles sell out quickly, while others do not. Also, some new models are not shipped to every province. For example, when automakers introduce new electric vehicles (EVs), they often come in B.C. Quebec before other provinces.
This applies to Volkswagen's new ID. 4 electric SUVs. The first models available are Quebec and B.C. They'll be coming to Ontario next year, and Volkswagen hopes to sell them nationally next year.
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If you're buying a new EV from an out-of-province dealer, check to see if your local dealer can service it, says Dan.
For example, Volkswagen dealers require special equipment and training to service and repair the new ID. 4s because "electric vehicles are a bit more complicated with high-voltage protection," says Dan.
“Ontario is on the list to get these licenses [in Service Id. 4s],” says Don. "[But] that vehicle purchased in Quebec may not have a dealer in Ontario that can service it if something goes wrong in the future."
Wherever you buy, you have to pay 5 percent GST. But if you buy from a dealer in another province (for example, if you live in Ontario and buy in Quebec), do you have to pay that province's sales tax as well as your home province's sales tax?
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While the rules vary from province to province, if you have a car that's shipped between provinces, you usually only have to pay tax in the destination province, says Ballywalla. While some provinces make you pay provincial tax when buying from a dealer, Quebec allows you to wait until you register the vehicle.
"If you buy from a dealer, you have to pay GST on the product, but you don't have to pay Quebec sales tax (QST)," says Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec spokeswoman Sophie Roy. (SAAQ). "When you register your car in Ontario, you have to pay provincial tax there."
On a new car, you avoid the 9.9975 per cent QST and pay Ontario's 7 per cent tax. This applies to both new and used cars as long as you buy from a dealer.
Roy says that if you buy from an individual at a private sale, you must pay Quebec sales tax on the spot. Pay Ontario sales tax when you check-in at home. It is 13 percent for used cars.
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Unless you registered the car in the province where you bought it, you can reclaim the out-of-province tax. "You can apply for a refund in the province where you bought it," says Ballywalla. "It could take a long time."
B.C. Buyers usually pay Provincial Sales Tax (PST) to the dealer. But if you are an out-of-province buyer, you can apply for the exemption as long as you buy from a dealer and not through a private sale.
If you're not exempt, you'll have to pay PST — which ranges from 7 percent on vehicles worth less than $55,000 to 20 percent on vehicles worth $150,000 or more — and then get a refund when you get home.
To make it even easier, the dealer can collect local provincial sales tax for you and add it to the purchase price if you provide proof of residency, says Tan.
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Taxes won't be your only expense. Transportation fees range from $600 to $750 to cross the next province, $1,500 to $2,000 or more to cross the country.
"During Covid-19, shipping is very expensive," says Ballywalla. "I shipped a used vehicle from Ontario to Nunavut last summer and it was probably in the $2,500 range."
If you're considering picking up the car and flying it out to drive it back, do the math to see if shipping makes more sense, advises Ballywalla.
"When you get on a plane and pay for lodging, it adds up. Even if you can drive both ways, it costs you some time and money.
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