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.



  1. We run a boat business and need a storage unit to keep boats until summer comes. Tell me something about Self storage in Rothwell.

  2. Sorry to hear that all those expensive yacht owners have to pay taxes in Canada but form what I saw at those plush marinas around Cape Breton and Baddeck they can well afford to pay their share of government cost as most of them are members of the 1% but I guess some are obsessed with that great American disease called Greed.

  3. well, anonymous, when the Americans introduced a luxury tax, it didn't affect the 1%. They just went somewhere else. It mightily affected the poor schmucks in service industries. It nearly destroyed the American Yacht Industry. In this case, the 1% will just move their boats and the casualties will be the guys working in the boatyard, one of the few decent occupations in those parts

  4. Anything new on the winter storage issue? I am one of those who have had my boat stored for years in Nova Scotia, paying 15% HST on my yard bills ( and actually glad to do it since this is a rational way to pay for your universal health coverage, which I hope we will get one of these years). But the prospect of having to pay an import duty IN ADDITION is just too much! With great regret, we will be sailing back to the US this summer. Your comments on the luxury tax are absolutely correct. In Florida alone, about 65,000 jobs were lost and the tax generated no revenue. I suspect the same will happen in Canada, but there is no reasoning with bureaucrats and politicians.

    1. you are absolutely right, I don't think it has changed. I can't get any information out of revenue Canada, and it is easier to get an audience with the Queen than get anything in writing out of these people