I wander what all is involved in getting one into the states.
I live in Canada and have gone to the U.S. to bring back four garden tractors over the past year or so and have found that it isn't a big deal at all. I would imagine that the reverse would be a similar story (picking something up in Canada and bringing it back to the U.S.).
In my experience, in every case, the tractor needs to be clean, without any soil on it. I also make sure that I have a printout of the e-mails or texts that I have with the seller to show our conversation. I also make sure that I have a hand written bill of sale from the seller. When I get to the border, sometimes they ask to see the paperwork, sometimes they do not (two out of four tractors I had to show it, the other two I did not). For two of the tractors I was charged 13% sales tax (the sales tax here in Ontario) on the purchase price of the tractors. The other two tractors, they didn't charge me anything, just waved me on through. I think the border guards have a lot of wiggle room to use their discretion with old garden tractors. My hunch is that there isn't a hard and fast rule with them, given the fact that they are antiques (at least mine are) and that they don't have ownership papers and what not (unlike snowmobiles and what not).
I have also delivered a couple of garden tractors to the U.S. this year. In one case, someone from Wisconsin bought one of my garden tractors and I delivered it to them (he paid me for the gas money). In the other case, I found a tractor just down the road from my place that I knew a collector friend of mine in Illinois had been looking for for years. I bought it for him, he sent me the money, and I delivered it to Illinois for him (he paid me what it would have cost him to have it delivered professionally. As usual, I printed out appropriate e-mails to back up my story, e-mails between myself and the new owners. Anyway, in both these cases where I was just delivering the tractor, I was just waved on through. I was asked a few questions, but never had to pay a fee or a tax or anything.
I'm sure that sooner or later I'll get a real hassle at the border, given the law of averages and the number of times I've run across the border (and likely will in the future on garden tractor missions). My current theory is that if I make sure that tractors are clean, and if I make sure that I have printouts of e-mails/texts and/or bills of sales, and if I have a good attitude at the border, and if I make sure that I haven't fudged anything (e.g. the purchase price in order to pay less tax), then things should go fine. I like crossing the border with a clean conscience, knowing that I haven't tried to pull a fast one.
Is that helpful? That's just my experience anyway. I'm sure that I'll run into grief at some point, probably a random search or something, but so far my experience has been positive. I cannot complain. I would imagine that it would be a similar process/experience in bringing stuff from Canada to the U.S., other than your sales tax would be different, I would think (depending on the state).
Edited by jtrojek, October 08, 2014 - 11:09 AM.