Are cars cheaper in Alberta than in BC?

Getting a car is no longer a luxury. However, like most things in life, you want to pay a fair price for your purchase. In turn, you just might be wondering, are cars cheaper in Alberta than in BC to help you save money?

The parity in provincial systems gives a clear indication that it’s cheaper to buy a car in Alberta than in BC. This is because you pay more provincial sales tax, insurance, and goods and services tax in BC than in Alberta. This is why you would find many people going from BC to Alberta to buy cars.

Still, you need to know what to consider when buying a car in any of these provinces. In this article, we discuss whether cars are cheaper in Alberta than in British Columbia and every other thing you need to know.

Is buying a car in Alberta cheaper?

Buying a car in Alberta is relatively cheaper than in British Columbia. This is because while there are no cash payments on provincial sales tax in Alberta, you pay it in BC. For example, you only have to pay a compulsory 5% federal goods and services tax in Alberta. While in British Columbia, you need to pay a 12% provincial sales tax on every car you buy. 

So, to some extent, buying a car in Alberta helps you manage your budget. You can save considerably and still meet your car needs. However, if you’re living in BC and looking to get a car in Alberta, there are factors you need to consider before proceeding. 

Buying A Car in Alberta

Generally, buying a car in Alberta is cheap because the province doesn’t charge any sales tax. This means that whatever deal you make in Alberta, you can avoid PST, RST, and QST. However, you can only avoid this payment if the car is gotten from a private salesman.

Additionally, for you to fully enjoy what many people call the “Alberta Advantage,” you must ensure you complete a standard bill of sale. Generally, this provides you with the necessary information for full ownership of the car you’re buying.

An important thing to note about registration in Alberta is that, except you live there, there’s no point insuring or registering your car there. It would help if you did that at your province of residency. Also, remember that while the tax and insurance might be lower, it doesn’t automatically mean you would get a good car deal there.

Buying a Car in British Columbia

Buying a car in Canada’s westernmost province can be upscale. Whether you live here or want to purchase from another province, you might want to find other options. The taxes on car deals are very high. There’s a 7% tax paid for every car under a $55k valuation and a compulsory 5% federal GST in BC.

You can only boycott paying the 5% Goods and Services Tax in a private transaction. But you’ll have to pay it in a sale made with a dealer. This has caused so much controversy, but if the government stops residents from buying cars from tax-free provinces like Alberta, that could be detrimental for the province’s economy. So, people still buy here, and despite the harsh tax on cars, the province recorded a 4% increase in sales towards the end of 2020 despite the global pandemic, which affected many provinces’ car sales.

Now that you know the implications of buying cars in both provinces, and you’ve decided to buy in Alberta, ensure you take extra caution before you sign and deposit. Ask more questions for clarity, and go over the contract as much as you can so you can identify loopholes or terms that aren’t favorable. 

Things to Consider When Buying a Car in Another Province

If you’re considering going to Alberta from British Columbia to get a car, some factors are vital. Below are some of the things you need to consider before you buy a car in another province:

1. Time and Effort

Getting a car from another province requires necessary research on the dealers or the seller you’re buying from. You also need to understand the provincial regulations where you’re buying from and what your province says about importation. All these take time and effort, so you might need to consider if all these are worth it.

2. Provincial Requirement and Registration

Closing the deal on a car is not the end of owning it. First, you’ll need to visit an insurance agency in the province where you made your purchase. Here, you’ll set up temporary insurance and registration, which allows you to drive it to your destination. The requirements vary for each province. So, you need to confirm all these. 

3. Tax Payment

All tax commitments vary from one province to another. GST, PST, HST, or RST are some of the taxes you might have to pay, and they aren’t fixed. It’s possible to buy a car in a province and get a fair tax, while in some other places, you get to pay excessive amounts.

4. Vehicle Registration Authority

It’s essential you also visit your province Vehicle Registration Authority before you do the paperwork of any car purchase. They’ll supply you with the necessary information you’d need for your purchase and how to register in any Canadian province.

5. Additional information

Buying a car in a province where you’re not a resident requires you to submit additional information while doing your registration. You’ll need to show proof for the car’s insurance, out-of-province ownership document, and so much more. As much as this is delicate, you would need to give it in.

In Conclusion

Getting a car from Alberta rather than British Columbia is usually a better idea. This is because cars are cheaper in Alberta compared to BC. However, you’ll need to remember that there are so many things involved in buying a car, more so, buying from another province. So, understanding these things puts you in the right spot to getting a good deal and making the best decision.

Thais R

I moved to Canada in 2016. This was the best decision that I ever made. I created this website to share what I’ve learned with anyone who’s thinking of moving or travelling to Canada.

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