Saturday, September 7, 2013

Winter storage of foreign boats in Nova Scotia

Our media have been much vexed on this subject for the last couple of weeks. It has long been the law that boats imported into the country have been subject to taxes. (15% on assessed value in this province).
This is what my book has to say about it, and it has not changed much since the 1996 first edition.

The cruising permit is good for six months. If a boat is kept in Nova Scotia for longer than this, it will be assessed for HST, a tax loathed by Canadians, and which currently stands at 15% of the value of the boat. If you wish to keep a boat over a winter here, you can avoid this, and extend your permit by getting a work order from a boatyard. Overwinter storage and painting the bottom will satisfy the Federal Government's leeches.

I suspect they won't like this if you try this two years in a row. The official form for this is #E99 and is available on line from the revenue men.( will get you there eventually

The revenue men have ignored this for decades. It may be that someone in the head office has woken from their slumbers and realised this legislation was actually on the books and could gather more shekels for their insatiable maw. They are planning to enforce this, and they consider things like bottom painting routine maintenance and not eligible for exemption. Safety issues WILL exempt you from the tax,( problems with the rigging, transmission or electrical problems, noise from the prop shaft, leaking, etc.) but don't try this for years in a row. It is almost impossible to get advance rulings from these creatures in writing, so  you, ( and us) are at their mercy). You can appeal their decisions, but I can tell you from personal experience , the playing field is very much tipped in their favour. Some U.S. states ( Georgia for one) have similar legislation, though it is not often enforced.

The Cape Breton Boatyard in Baddeck, home to a dozen expensive American boats, some of which have been there for 20 years is incensed by this action. Some of the boats have decided to leave, and this will adversely affect employment in the yard, some of the few well paying non-government jobs in a depressed rural area .If  you own Canadian property, the rate is reduced to 5%. This is likely to loose more revenue than it gains, but these guys are not known for clear thinking.