Border Tip 1 Jan 2014 - Buying Tires in the USA
Buying Tires in the US
So you have decided you need new tires, made a few calls and found a great deal in the US. You head down, have them installed and return back to Canada. You have saved a bundle on the tires and think to yourself ‘ why should I declare them, they are mounted on my vehicle’. You decide that you will drive through a puddle and some dirt to make them look used. You pull up to the booth and the officer asks you about the tires. You deny buying them in the US. The officer asks for proof of purchase, but you say you left the receipt at home. The officer sends you back for a secondary examination. During the examination the officers find a receipt tucked away in your insurance documents that you wanted to keep for warranty purposes. Your vehicle is seized and terms of release include: Paying a fine for a level of concealment in this case 30% of the cost of the tires, + the taxes on the total amount including the 30%. In addition your name and vehicle is flagged in the database for the next 7 years, so every time you cross the officer in the booth will be notified of the seizure. All to save the taxes on a set of tires you already are getting for a bargain.
The story I just gave as an example is so common I felt it was necessary to mention. Officers are very aware of what new tires look like on a vehicle. And thinking they will not figure it out as you roll up is foolish. Remember is the traveller that is responsible to prove where they purchased them not the officer. Even if the officers in the above scenario did not find the receipts your vehicle can be seized and held until you provide proof of purchase if the officer requires it. I also recommend if you purchase tires in Canada prior to entering the US you keep a copy of the installation receipt in you vehicle just in case you are questioned on your new tires.
Remember always declare everything, even items you purchased and have had mounted. It is not worth the risk to save the local taxes you would have paid on the purchase.