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.
Are you a returning former resident of Canada? If so, this post is to help with the customs process in bringing your stuff back to Canada.
1. They are former residents that were absent at least 1 year or were resident of another country for at least 1 year.
2. They have owned, possessed and used the goods for at least 6 months. (the only exception for this rule is for former residents who have been away at least 5 years, goods should still be used though)
For any new goods your are entitled to the same exemptions as if you had been out of Canada for at least 7 days. $750 CAD worth of goods duty and tax free, with limitations on Alcohol and tobacco that I wont repeat as many people cover this topic…but for those of you that don’t know here is a link to CBSA’s website post on the subject.
*Please note to qualify for this exemption you do have to prove your former resident status in Canada with Canadian Passport or Permanent Resident Card or landing papers and you have to prove that you were out of the Country for over a year or were a resident of another country.
Some examples of acceptable proof is for residency abroad are a letter from your employer, employment contract, utility bills showing dates, lease/rental agreement, bank statements for the period etc.
Your passport or residence visa or driving licence in another country is not prima facia evidence of residency abroad as passports are not always stamped and some people have more than one, and visas and driver’s licences can be issued and the person leave that country.
High value goods – Goods over $10,000 CAD will be charged duties applicable and taxes over the $10,000 threshold. I.e. if you bring back a $15,000 CAD vehicle from the US, you will have to pay on $5000 CAD. Jewellery and other high value items should be carefully documented with details, accompanying invoices/receipts if available, gemologist appraisal/certification, serial numbers and photos if possible. Declaring “1 gold watch” is not acceptable, rather 1 rolex submariner watch, 14k gold, serial #6875213, mens value $15000 CAD” is fine.
The first step a returning resident should complete Form B4 linked here in pdf format, if you run out of lines listing your goods you can continue on Form B4a linked here. If not completed in advance, this should then be completed at the time of declaration or arrival back in Canada. The important thing is that a list of goods returning be submitted to customs upon return to be validated (stamped). This indicates that you have delcared these goods. Once you have these lists stamped you can make the actual declaration later on if you wish when the goods actually arrive. Once your declaration has been fully processed, Customs will document this on Form B15 and give you a copy.
Very Important! Do not lose any documents or copies of paperwork Customs gives you! This is your proof that you declared and are entitled to the exemption. People that are not prepared to make this declaration upon arrival back in Canada should report to the nearest Customs office inland that offers commercial services to make their declaration.
Customs Brokers cannot do this for you as they are not allowed to clear personal effects. Some freight forwarding services will help you through the process and even accompany you to the Customs office – this service is usually included with the more reputable companies.
If you’re bringing back any animals, plants or food items there may be additional requirements and you will need to check with CFIA Canadian Food Inspection Agency. i.e some dairy products are not admissible. Here is a link to CFIA’s import polices and here is one for food.
Pet dogs and Cats other than the US will have to be inspected by a CFIA vet to certify health and there is a service charge associated. Make sure you have a record of your pets vaccinations. Here is a link to CFIA’s website for importing pets.
FYI. There are other items that are inadmissble such at used mattresses due to health concerns.
If you have any further questions please feel free to post.
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