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The Used Car Dealers Association of Ontario

416-231-2600 or 1-800-268-2598 or fax 416-232-0775

Used Car Dealers Association of Ontario   



A “house” bill of lading is a document, created “in-house” by a carrier, intended to serve as a receipt to confirm a vehicle has been left with them for shipment overseas.


Some dealers are accepting these documents as “proof” a vehicle is leaving Canada, but is it really?

For example, if a carrier in Mississauga or Toronto issues such a document, it could serve as “proof” the vehicle was given to them, it might even serve as evidence of an “intention” to export the vehicle overseas if it says that ... but is it “proof” the vehicle left Canada?

Where is the bill of lading establishing the vehicle was actually put on a boat in Montreal or Halifax bound for Russia, Africa or Europe? Nowhere.


We have seen dealers accept “house” bills of lading BEFORE they have even given up possession of the vehicle or in cases where they have delivered possession, not to the carrier as required, but to the purchaser directly, which is not permitted to claim a tax exemption.

A “house” bill of lading is just a piece of paper. Anyone could create such a document. Put yourself in the position of an auditor whose job is to find missing tax, confronted with a sale where no tax was collected and remitted because the vehicle was “exported” out of the country. If the ONLY proof of export you are shown is a document issued by a carrier telling a story about a vehicle that may (or may not) have ever been shipped overseas, would you accept it?

Knowing, as we do, how picky tax auditors can be, this would be like shooting fish in a barrel! And dealers know, when an auditor finds unremitted tax, who will be asked to pay it!


The other issue is curbsiding, when the “exporter” tells the dealer they know how it works because they “do it all the time”. If they do, they are required to be registered as exporters with OMVIC. We know one dealer who is presently before OMVIC’s Discipline Panel, potentially facing thousands of dollars in fines, for selling several vehicles to just such an operator, accused of “knowingly” supplying a curbsider with vehicles for export.


The easiest way to sell vehicles that are apparently going to be exported is to charge the HST as usual. Let the “exporter” claim the tax back from CRA.


But, if you want to sell a vehicle as tax exempt, because it is being exported, make sure you always deliver the vehicle to an exporting carrier and get the bill of lading from the Port where the vehicle is loaded on a boat and shipped. This is the “real” bill of lading. Keep it in the vehicle file as proof of the HST exemption. If the buyer appears to be someone in the “business” of buying vehicles for export, ask for their OMVIC registration. If they aren’t registered, refer them to OMVIC and decline the sale.