Shipping rented or leased goods? Get clear on the specifics and keep your goods moving
An accurate value
As a company shipping goods around the world, you don’t need us to remind you of the millions of details your team faces daily. In the swirl of many moving parts, from valuation to tariff classification, it’s understandable that mistakes will happen. In this post, we'll unpack the details around rented or leased goods so you can keep your goods moving seamlessly.
Any trade situation is already complex, and risks becoming more complex when introducing rented or leased commercial goods—anything from tools to equipment and beyond—into the mix. When you rent or lease commercial goods, or tools to manufacture your goods for shipping, it makes it more challenging to land on the most accurate value of those goods. This is why many importers are unaware that rented or leased goods need to have the Fair Market Value (FMV) declared, not the rental or lease cost itself.
The benefits of FMV lease agreements
As an importer dealing with a constantly changing economic environment, it’s understandable you want to keep your costs low. Renting or leasing goods, materials and services may often be more cost-effective than purchasing the same goods, materials and services at full value.
Understanding that your rented or leased goods will need to have the FMV declared, some importers opt to work with FMV lease agreements for the goods or services they wish to rent. A FMV lease is one wherein you have the option to purchase the goods at fair market value at the end of the agreement. Generally, the price is determined at the end of the lease.
Often importers choose a FMV lease agreement for benefits such as the reduction of their initial overhead expenses. The option to walk away from materials or equipment post-lease is also attractive, as you can avoid any of the disposal or depreciation costs commonly associated with commercial goods.
There are also tax benefits that may apply when you expense lease payments as operating costs. However, it’s important to be aware that you can still be hit with the full Goods and Services Tax (GST) at the time of importation on FMV of commercial goods and equipment. Many companies have made the mistake of calculating import costs associated with the lease or rental value only.
Impacts of inaccurate reporting
As you may expect, under the Customs Act, the use of certain goods that have been leased, rented or bought must be specified by the importer at the time of reporting commercial goods.
Examples of certain goods that are rented or leased include equipment used for projects in Canada, like mobile generators, excavators, cranes, etc. Usually, these goods are considered as specialty equipment that may not be available in Canada and thus must be sourced from outside of Canada. Equipment like this might be used in capital projects that have an end date, which means that ultimately the good has a limited time span for use in Canada. In examples like this, there are evident cost benefits to leasing as opposed to purchasing.
Regardless of whether goods are rented or leased, the commercial value or FMV must be declared at the time of import. If the good is to be used in Canada, declaring the commercial value of the good—not the rental or lease cost—is required. Although there may be contingencies for partial or full duty relief, GST is payable in full for the commercial value of the good.
Failure to declare an accurate commercial value of your rented or leased goods could result in customs clearance delays. Border services officers are astute when it comes to the valuation of equipment and are aware of the difference between a lease or rental price versus the commercial value of a good.
False declarations could also lead to penalties being imposed by the CBSA if a verification reveals the goods have been undervalued. Ultimately, it is your responsibility as the importer to ensure that all declarations made to the CBSA are true and accurate. This includes statements that speak to whether a good is being sold, leased or rented.
Partner with the knowledge you need
The customs brokers at Cole International are standing by and ready to assist with any international or cross-border cost analysis to help you find the most effective method for shipping and importing your leased or rented commercial goods. Our customs brokers help you avoid unnecessary costs associated with the valuation and declaration part of the clearance process while also help you through the maze of regulations. Connect with us today.
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