Can I buy a car in Alberta if I live in British Columbia?

Yes, you can purchase a vehicle in Alberta if you live in British Columbia, but it will be more difficult than buying one in your home province. You’ll have to go or hire a third party to check the car. You’ll also need to account for the price of moving your car back to your house and changing the title and registration.

As we have mentioned, it is absolutely possible to buy a car in Alberta if you live in British Columbia. Just keep in mind that you will not be saving any money by doing that. In fact, you might even incur more costs.

Many people buy their cars out of the province for different reasons. Either they could only find the car they wanted in a different province, or they are trying to avoid paying high car sales taxes. 

When it comes to significant expenditures like a vehicle, paying the tax man is extremely unpleasant. Depending on the province you live in, it might be as much as 15% off the retail price. If you’re buying a premium vehicle, it might be as much as 20%. This has a big impact on your purchasing power.

The tax rate on a motor vehicle purchase, regardless of whether you pay GST, HST, PST, or RST, will vary according to province. Is it possible to get a good bargain on a car by buying it in a region with lower taxes? We’ll take a look at this idea to see if it’s a viable approach to avoid paying an excessive amount of automobile sales tax.

It’s also crucial to understand the requirements in each province, as they differ. It’s essential to be diligent and do your research before buying any new or used vehicle to ensure it’s worth the investment.

Buying a car out of province in simple steps

1. Schedule an inspection

If at all feasible, you should check and test drive the automobile you’re considering purchasing in person. If you can’t go in person, you might want to spend a little more to have a third-party check from a licensed shop done before you buy to ensure the car you desire is in good working condition.

A comprehensive assessment will reveal the condition of the vehicle as well as the likelihood of it holding up over time.

2. Verify the car’s title

Check the title of your new car with the Department of Motor Vehicles in your area to ensure that it belongs to the person who is selling it to you. As a general guideline, the car you buy should have a clear title and not be tagged for salvage or rebuilding. 

If you don’t double-check this information, you could have problems registering your vehicle later.

3. Do a background check

To learn more about your vehicle’s history, you might need to use a service like CARFAX. This can reveal important details such as if your potential vehicle has been in a crash, is reported as stolen, or is linked to any outstanding leases or loans. It will also provide you with a complete sales history for the vehicle as well as an exact odometer reading. You may also check the status of your new car by running a VIN check with the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

4. Making the purchase

When you’re ready to complete the transaction, you have two alternatives for acquiring your car. You may either pay cash for it or shop around for auto loans from several lenders to acquire the finance you need to buy a car out of province. If your financial position allows it, you may also acquire a personal loan to pay for your car.

5. Temporarily registering and insuring it

After purchasing a vehicle, you’ll almost always have to drive it back home. Just keep in mind that you won’t be allowed to drive the automobile until you get it registered and insured on a temporary basis. This entails going to an insurance agency in the province where the car was purchased.

They’ll offer you a temporary license plate, registration sticker, and insurance (typically for a few days) so you can bring the car home and insure it in your home province. If you have your automobile delivered or the vendor drives it over for you, you may skip this step.

6. In your own province, get insurance and registration

You’ll need to transfer the title and register your vehicle where you reside after purchasing a car out of province. Each province will have its own set of standards that you must meet in order to register your car.

In British Columbia, for example, your car must pass a thorough inspection and an emissions test. If any element of the inspection fails, you will be required to pay for repairs or modifications before your car may be registered in your home province.

7. Picking up or shipping your car

Make plans to pick up your automobile after you have done your due diligence and certified that everything is in order. If you are unable to pick it up in person, the vehicle can be transported to you; however, be aware of the additional charges.

Once you’ve bought a car, there are a few options for getting it home. After purchasing temporary insurance, many people will naturally drive it home. You could also request that the seller drive it over to you. If you’re willing to pay for the service, you can also have your vehicle professionally transported.

8. Buying in Alberta as a tax haven

When comparing private purchases to dealership sales in British Columbia, sales tax becomes a little more complicated. You won’t have to pay the 5% GST that you would at a dealership if you buy a car privately, but you will have to pay extra in PST (12%) for any vehicle under $125,000. To compensate for the additional 5% GST, you’ll only pay 7% PST at a dealership on vehicles under $55,000.

Alberta, on the other hand, is the big favorite on the tax front, with no provincial sales tax. This has been dubbed the “Alberta Advantage,” and it’s easy to see why when comparing other provinces. Saskatchewan, its next-door neighbor, has the second-lowest tax rate, at 11% when coupled with the GST.

So, is going all the way to Alberta to buy a car worth it? No, it’s not. Like I’ve mentioned earlier before you can drive your vehicle, it must be registered and insured. So, if you purchase a car in Alberta and live in BC, you’ll have to register and insure it there first before driving it home, and then you’ll have to go through this again in your home province. Furthermore, it’ll very certainly need to pass a British Columbia inspection.

In conclusion, unless you have your heart set on a particular car that is only available in Alberta, purchase your vehicle in your home province.

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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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