Heraldic Shield

CBSA Coat of Arms

Our new Coat of Arms

Current CBSA Badge

Heraldic Badge

Our new heraldic Flashes

Canada Customs Exemptions

Canada Customs Tips for the Holiday Season

Christmas is around the corner, and many of you will be sending and receiving gifts to and from abroad. Some of you will also be travelling to visit friends and family in other countries. So here are some tips for the holiday season.

1. If your Aunt Hilda wants to send you a gift basket in the mail or via courier from Europe, let her know not to send bottles of alcohol (wine etc), meat products (i.e. sausages) and dairy (i.e. cheese). These items are not allowed and often spoil en route. Also any flammable items such as perfume are also considered non-mailable.

2. If Uncle Hubert wants to send you gift, tell him to declare it as a gift and have him remove tags and wrap it. If your shipment is examined and there is no indication that it is a gift, i.e. no card, no wrapping then the exemption provided by tariff 9816 may not be applied.

3. If Cousin Habib is sending you a care package for Eid, make sure you know what the contents are exactly and how much everything is worth in Canadian dollars. You will have to make a full declaration to Customs as to the contents and the value in order to obtain release of the shipment. Also if you are claiming it is a gift you will need to provide some kind of evidence to have tariff 9816 applied to any of the items. i.e. a letter from your Cousin to that effect.

4. If you travel abroad to visit family or friends for the holiday season and take your brand spanking new Canon digital camera with you, be prepared to show proof of Canadian origin upon your return. This can be done by showing the receipt showing purchased in Canada or by documenting the Camera on Form Y38. Form Y38 can be completed at any inland Customs office or at the airport Customs info counter before you check in. On this form they will document your camera, note the serial number or affix a sticker with a unique number on it. When you return to Canada, and you pass through customs and there is any question just produce the Form Y38 and Bob’s your uncle. 

5. If you despise your extended relatives and decide to go away for the Christmas break somewhere warm and exotic like Thailand and you end up coming across a giant carving of a Buddha you really really like, you can have it shipped home. Then upon your return just let the customs officer now that you have goods you purchased abroad that are not accompanying you and are being shipped. The officer can then issue you a form E24 to apply your personal exemption under tariff 9804 and remove whatever amount is remaining when the buddha arrives. i.e. After being in Thailand for a 10 days you return to Canada and you only bring a bottle of scotch with you in your luggage that you bought from the duty free for $50 CAD. So the remaining $700 on your exemption will noted on form E24 and can be taken off whatever you paid for the statue before duty and taxes are assessed.

6. For all you residents of Canada who will be travelling for the holidays be sure to read my post on Canada Customs Limits, especially the part titled 9 Tips with regards to Canada Customs Limits or Allowances with regards to your Personal Exemption. There is also a post on the $60 gift exemption you might find useful.

If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe via RSS or join my email newsletter here -> Subscribe

A “like” on facebook or Google+ would also be appreciated. Thanks!

All about the $60 Gift exemption under Tariff 9816


With the Xmas season around the corner, Do you know what qualifies as a “Gift” for Canada Customs?



Today’s topic is one that is commonly misunderstood by the general public and it is to do with the $60 gift exemption under tariff 9816. So here are 8 facts associated to tariff 9816:


1. This tariff 9816 applies only to casual donations sent by non-residents of Canada to a  resident of Canada. A common mistake is that some residents of Canada returning from a trip or holiday purchase gifts for friends and family and believe that these items will qualify under 9816. They do not. These types of gifts retired to fall under tariff 9804 to be imported duty and tax-free as part of their personal exemption.


2. Gifts under tariff 9816 may not be considered advertising matter, or the alcohol or tobacco.


3. If the value of the gift under tariff 9816 exceeds the $60 amount, then the taxable amount will be reduced by $60. For example, your uncle from Poland brings you a sweater valued at $100 Canadian, then tariff 9816 would be applied by taking off $60 and leaving $40 is the amount duties and taxes would be applied to.

4. An association, organization, company, or business of any kind does not qualify as eligible recipient under tariff 9816.


5. In order to qualify under tariff 9816 for duty and tax free importation, no individual item/gift can be valued at more than $60 Canadian, notwithstanding the number of joint recipients. For example, a gift valued at $180 cannot be divided equally by 3 family members.


6. There are no limits to the number of gifts that can be imported free under tariff 9816 so long as they are under $60 Canadian and for different individual who is a resident of Canada.


7. In order to qualify for tariff 9816, items should be clearly marked and identified as a gift. For example, they should be a card or gift to be wrapped.


8. Gifts can be sent by nonresident Canada directly from a third-party such as an online store and qualify for tariff 9816 so long as the customs officer is satisfied that the gift was unsolicited and bona fide.


9. Lastly, tariff 9816 cannot be combined with the postal imports remissions order or the courier imports remissions order for free importation for goods valued at not exceeding $20 Canadian.


If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe via RSS or join my email newsletter here -> Subscribe