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      10-29-2012, 11:23 PM   #174
Chartered Accountant
shaginwagon13's Avatar

Drives: BMW 335i Coupe
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Toronto

iTrader: (4)

Ok so a member asked me these questions and I thought they could benefit everyone so I'll answer them here:

1) How are you handling the warranty/service? I'm in Buffalo regularly and have planned to get service there but wanted to know if I need immediate warranty work done, will it be done/covered here in Toronto?

The only way BMW Canada will honor an existing warranty from an imported vehicle is if you purchase the recall letter from them ($500). In addition to this, they MAY make you change the instrument cluster (approx. $2500) and have day-time running lights.

They will tell you the ONLY way to register the BMW after importing with the RIV (registrar of imported vehicle) is with the purchase of the recall letter. This is not true. The RIV will accept EITHER the recall letter from BMW or a Vehicle Warranty Inquiry which can be obtained from any dealership if you purchase your car from them. I have and kept a copy of my vehicle warranty inquiry and if I sent it to you guys, you would see how much of a joke BMW is for trying to charge you $500 for it.

In addition, BMW will tell you it is mandatory for you to change the instrument cluster to Km/h. Also not true. The Ministry of Transportation allows a vehicle to have MP/h as long as it also has KM/h which cars from the US have. Only the Canadian cars have only KM/h so BMW can say what they like, if the ministry does not require the change, they cannot make you do it.

Lastly, you have your daytime running lights. I have I-drive so I manually turned on my daytime lights (there is the option to do it on the screen). If you car is not equipped with I-drive, you might have to get it done at a shop. I am not sure how complicated it is to do (I would assume its easy) but I am not sure and hopefully someone can chime in that knows how the daytime lights can be turned on without I-drive.

2) Did you buy new or used? I'm looking at used with less than 15K miles and wondered what sort of criteria you came up with?

I bought my car used and I did not have any warranty remaining on the car. I would suggest that unless you plan to buy the car from a BMW dealership, get the car taken to a BMW dealership and get whats called a 'Pre-sale Inspection'. It cost me $120 I believe and BMW will give a full inspection of the car to ensure everything is the way it should be and functioning properly.

3) Why did you decide to purchase in business name and what sort of pros/cons come with that? I'm assuming your GST recoup is simply based on in/out? I own a business but have never actually purchased a vehicle in the companies name.

Importing a vehicle with your own company allows you to apply to get your HST back after you pay the taxes at the border once you cross into Canada. If you import it using your company and want to sell the car its easier to explain rather than having your personal name come up in the ownership and then your company (you can import it personally and then transfer it) but you have to pay additional fees so do it right the frst time.

One thing they DO NOT tell you before you get to the Canadian side customs is that if you are importing the car threw your company, to pay the duties (HST is paid at the MTO office when you get plates) they only accept up to $500 on VISA/MasterCard and from what I can remember $300-400 cash. Why? I have no idea and this makes absolutely no sense but thats what they told me. I bought my car for 25k and from what I remember the duties were around $2300. Since they don't let you pay for the full amount on credit card or with cash, hire a broker to do the paperwork for you and they will also take care of paying the duties. There is also some paperwork to be filled out and to be honest if your doing this for the first time like I was, you have no idea what codes/sections/categories your car is under. They have brokers right there in the Canadian customs building and they charge around $150 which is nothing really. They have all the paperwork done for you, and they take care of paying for the Duties (they are allowed to use VISA for some reason) so you just pay them what you owe for the duties + the $150 for their services and its all squared away. Sorry if this is confusing, I can clarify better if need-be just ask me.

You also need to have with you the following documents:

1) Articles of Incorporation
2) HST Number
3) RIN Number (you can find this on the first page of the Articles of Incorporation)
4) Title
5) Bill of Sale (of the car was bought off an individual)

They will ask you if you are the President, Officer or Director of the company and you say yes (obviously). If you say no, they will not let you import. Obviously if its your company you will say yes, bit they will ask you


When I was at the US export office (you have to go here before your allowed to cross into Canada with the car, the FIRST thing they do is make sure you either have a temporary plate that is still valid from the state you bought the vehicle from, or you are trucking the car across via a trailer. It does not matter if the only road you can drive on is the bridge to Canada, they will not let you drive. When I was there, someone was importing a car and slapped on his old plates. They called the state trooper who wrote him $600 is fines, and then made him call a tow-truck to bring it across and I don't even wanna know what that bill turned out to be. DO NOT BE THAT GUY. When you buy your car from the dealership, tell them you want a temp thrown in for free and they will do it. That will allow you to legally drive the car across the border without any hassle.

Now this is where things get funny. Once you get the title stamped at the US export office, you get your paperwork (via the broker) and pay the Duties on the Canadian side. Now what? Well now you have to go to Canadian Tire and get them to stamp what they call 'FORM 1' which they will provide you with at the Canadian customs when you pay for everything. You cannot get temp plates in Canada until you at least have that stamped by Canadian Tire. Once you have that stamped, head down to the MTO office, and get a temp plate. From that point, you have if I remember correctly 14 days to get:

1) Emissions test
2) Safety test

Just throwing it out there, Canadian tire can do the emissions and safety as well. Just get all of it done in one shot and get it over with. When you go to the MTO office again you will need to bring:

1) Articles of Incorporation
2) HST Number
3) RIN Number (you can find this on the first page of the Articles of Incorporation)
4) Title
5) Bill of Sale (of the car was bought off an individual)
6) The receipt from the duties you paid at the border

Last edited by shaginwagon13; 10-29-2012 at 11:36 PM.