Ok. This topic has come up several times on this forum in the past year and I want to set things straight. From my point of view.
I'm reading lots of hearsay and speculation from individuals who may have never imported a US car, or haven't imported the e90 chassis.
I just finished importing a "brand new" 2011 M3.
To answer OP original question:
at the border
** Most important document is the recall clearance letter or vehicle service history. RIV Canada now accepts a print out from dealer service history. Getting this piece of paper(from US) will save you $500 from Canadian dealer. There is a guy offering this service in Canada for $375.
1. USD sale price converted to CAN, using that days exchange rate.
2. 6.1 % duty on CAN price
3. 5 % GST. (I'm in NS and paid remaining 10% upon registering locally)
4. RIV fee $195 (you can choose not to pay at border, you have 30 days upon entering Canada) If you have recall letter or service history, CBSA will fax to RIV for you with $195 proof of payment.
5. Air Conditioner fee $100
*You pay the 6.1% duty on CAN value only. the 5% gst includes CAN value + 6.1% + AC fee.
*Assuming you are importing vehicle yourself and not hiring a company or shipping to your place. Otherwise, you'll have to pay RIV fee up front.
THAT'S IT, at the border!
After you have your M3 at home. You wait for RIV to send you inspection form. I received mine 24 hours after crossing the border via EMAIL. I printed it off and took it to local Canadian tire for RIV inspection, which is FREE.
once Canadian tire stamps your import form and signs off on DTRL and VIN numbers match...... you can go register your vehicle.
I saved $20 000 before tax and duties. I haven't done the calculation on after tax spread. I got the same car, paid less for it and paid less tax to our greedy NS government