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Customs questions anyone?

 

 

July 21st 2010

The idea of starting this blog came to me after trying to figure out something to do in my spare time that would help people, educate myself, and enter the online world.
I realized that over the years, in my line of work I have amassed a lot of information or knowledge of how to obtain the information in regards to Customs related topics.
Such topics would include:

Commercial Importing
Personal Importations
Vehicle Importation
Personal Exemptions
International Travel
Duties and Taxes
Some basic Immigration knowledge as well

However, I didn’t know where to begin.

I don’t want to just start writing blogs on different subjects…rather I would like to open up my blog to the general public and ask “is there anything you would like to know? Do you have any questions related to Customs?”

I am happy to answer questions in regards to the customs process that is available to the public. Most of the time the information is public….just not always easily found. Many people complain that the Canada Border Services Agency website www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca is horrible to navigate, and I couldn’t agree more. However, faced with redesigning the website I would have no idea where to begin. So who am I to judge? I just know there are a lot of people out there who need answers and are just not getting them…

So thats where I come in.

I will endeavour to answer all your questions the best that I can…with the disclaimer that I can only provide what I know or the public has access to. Think of me as a navigator…

So without further ado…

ask me a question.

Cheers.

Customs Info

103 Responses to Customs questions anyone?

  • Anonymous says:

    Ok I went thru the government documents concerning duties and I'm completely lost, maybe you can help me out a bit.

    This is my situation.

    I'm was born in Canada, now living in Hong Kong for four and a half years, with the Right to Land (pretty much a National if they had such a status). Recently, I decided I want to move back to Toronto. I am aware that if I move back to Toronto I have a 10,000 CAD exemption on my personal effects.

    Problem is my two heftiest pieces of electronics aren't 6 months old yet. I'm trying to decide if I want to pay the full duty or stay another month and a half until they reach 1/2 year mark.

    My question is

    **1** How much duty(%wise) would I have to pay for a personal camcorder and an iMac.

    **2** I have a "pro-sumer" camcorder that is well over 3 years old. Does that count towards PROFESSION equipment (which they tax) or Personal?

    **3** I've live in Hong Kong for 4 1/2 years but I regularly visit Toronto, and it hasn't been 1 year since my last visit. Does that disqualifies me as a returning Canadian? To complicate things even more, I actually pay taxes on both sides, but I do have proof of Hong Kong Residence such as utility bills and such.

    **4**
    Way off the track but, is it possible that I return to Toronto as a visitor and live there indefinitely because I fly around often on different projects.

    Any help/suggestions would be most appreciated!

  • Customs info says:

    Hi thanks for taking the time to read my blog and post your question.

    Firstly your 10k exemption is per item just to be clear. Yes you are correct that you need to have owned them for 6 months. The only exceptions are when their part of a bride's trousseu, wedding gifts, or purchased as replacement goods as the result of fire, theft,or accident or as the result of an unforseen circumstance. So figure out if your newer items fall under any of those categories.

    The good news is that electronics for the most part have no duty associated so at most you would be paying HST or GST and PST depending on the province you will be moving back to.

    Goods are deemed commercial or personal based on use and obviously partly description…e.g.a piece of industrial machinery would not be determined to be personal. However in the example you gave a camcorder could be reasonable determined to be for personal use.

    no duty on Camcorders or computers so you're looking at just HST or GST/PST if you have to pay.

    Visiting or pay tax in Canada is fine so long as you have set up residence outside of Canada for over 1 year and have proof. So just bring your HK tax return or rental/lease agreement, utility bills, bank statements for the period and you will be fine.

    If you have any further questions feel free to ask. I hope I have been of some help.

    Cheers and welcome home in the near future!

    Customs Info

  • Anonymous says:

    "Firstly your 10k exemption is per item just to be clear."

    I'm sorry does this mean:

    a. I can bring in many items that add to up a limit of 10K

    b. I can bring in X amount of items each itself having a limit of 10K. eg. bringing in 10 pieces of furniture @ $9999 each.

    c. I can only choose one item that can be eligible for exemption.

    Thanks

  • Customs Info says:

    a. No you can bring in as many items as you like worth under 10k duty and tax free. any amount over 10k is possibly subject to duty and taxes on the amount exceeding 10k. So if your furniture is 15k cad then you are taxed on 5k.
    b. 10k and lower there is no limit to the number of pieces of furniture at 9999 each tax free.
    c. You can choose as any number of items.

    No there is no limit on the number of items.

    I hope this clears it up! :)

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes it does thank you!

  • Anonymous says:

    Ok another question.

    I have two items which are a month and a half away from 6 months after purchase. Can I move back first and have my family members send it to me say in mid Dec and still qualify for the exemption?

  • Customs info says:

    To be honest I've never encountered that scenario. I think it would technically not qualify as you would not have met the use and possession provision of 6 months. You have to have owned, possessed and used the goods. Having said that, I would declare all your goods upon your arrival by completing the forms at Customs. Provide a list in duplicate to be stamped with the corresponding value in CAD and hope for the best. Only if you are asked to prove ownership, possession and use will you have to pay the taxes on those 2 items. Unless documentation or other evidence is found showing the goods to be owned, possessed and used by you less than 6 months I would not be concerned.
    Most of us here are understanding and not here to nickel and dime Canadians. Just don't lie. For me a month and half is not a big deal on 2 items…what you want to avoid is buying something brand new in anticipation of your move and then not declare it. If we find it, penalties will apply.
    Worse case scenario you pay the taxes…

  • Anonymous says:

    Hehehe nobody wants to lie at border, but everybody wants to dodge taxes legally. Thanks for the advice you've been great help! = )

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been outside of Canada in the US for a few years – when I am moving back, do I need to declare value on all of my possessions (clothes, pictures, bed, blankets, etc? ) I don't have receipts for all of those things and many are years old now. I do, however, have receipts for my TV's, camera, and XBox 360 – although receipts are missing for the Wii, all of my DVD's, tv receiver equipment (the receiver is not high value and several years old).

  • Anonymous says:

    Good Day,
    I'm planning a trip to Florida for Christmas with my family. I have the opportunity to buy tickets for Disney World and Universal Studios at a substantial savings but have to drive down to the US to pick them up. If I buy them in advance, and bring the tickets back into Canada prior to departing for Florida, am I required to pay any duty or taxes on them even though the products are tickets for an activity that will be "consumed" in the US?

  • Customs info says:

    yes you do need to declare the value of your possessions when you move back. You don't receipts. You just need to give everything a reasonable value…. You will not be taxed on anything you have owned, used and possessed for at least 6 months that is valued under 10k. I hope this helps and sorry for the late reply

  • Customs info says:

    Hi Florida trip guy,

    Thanks for visiting my blog and posting your question. Tickets are not subject to any duties or taxes. Customs is only interest in physical commodities. At worst the value of the paper they are printed on is the only thing taxable lol.

    Have fun at Disney

    CI

  • Customs Info says:

    Ok so I received a question via email as follows:

    "Hi there,

    It was a relief to have your blog appear in my chaotic search for direction in relating to CBSA. I've "skimmed" alot of basic info, but am still unsure of the process as this is my first time. I know my learning curve will be extreme after I go through the process once, but I'd like to feel a bit more confident before embarking on my first CBSA adventure.

    It's probably best to explain my situation:

    I have purchased non-woven 100% Australian wool felt from a Chinese manufacturer. The tariff item is 5602.21. I am using it in an artwork. The cost of the goods is about $1100 CAD. The felt is being shipped by air. I do not believe I am in the import-export business. While I do import materials from outside Canada for my projects, I do it infrequently and have up until now used full service couriers like UPS and Fedex. I do not have a BN. In other words, I wouldn't really consider this a commercial import though perhaps I'm not the one to judge?

    As the manufacturer will only agree to send the felt to YYZ port and as I am close by, I hope to clear and pick-up the goods myself.

    Please advise. Let me know if you need any more info."

    Here is my answer:

    I am not a commodity specialist but I think the your goods should be classified under HS code 5602219900 described in the Customs Tariff as Felt, Other Felt, not impregnated, coated, covered, or laminated, of wool or fine animal hair, other. This commodity has duty rate of 10% associated to it.
    As your goods are estimated at 1100 cad, then duty would be 110 cad, GST would be 60.50 cad for a total owing of 170.50 cad at time of release.
    Yes this would be deemed commercial, even if it is not your main means of employment. It is very simple to register a BN number. Just call 1-800-959-5525 during office hours and tell them you want to register to import.
    If you import as a personal shipment you will be subject to HST instead of the GST and if your shipment is examined and deemed to be commercial you can face penalties and further agravations. Either way your goods can be subject to inspection so its always best to be prepared.
    Ok so then when you are notified that your goods have arrived you need to go to the warehouse and pick up the cargo control documents (2 copies) and then bring them, invoice and ID to the CBSA office at 2720 britannia rd E. They are open 24 hours a day. Once there you need to fill out a Commercial declaration via a form B3. Here you will have to declare your name and BN number, the vendors info, how your goods were shipped, where from, what you are importing (use the HS code)etc…if you need help, ask for assistance.
    Then present all your paperwork (all affixed with a barcode transaction sticker given to you by an officer) to an officer.
    If your shipment is not selected for inspection then you will just pay what is owing and receive a stamped copy of the cargo control document which you return to the warehouse to gain release of your goods. If your shipment is selected for examination you will have to wait a few days, and then call to see if you can come pick up the paperwork.
    Anymore questions? just ask…

    thanks
    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi CI,

    Thanks for the run-through. It's very mystery-dissolving.

    I will have another look at the Customs Tariff Schedule, but you are probably correct about the HS code.

    I hear proper and detailed documents prepared by the exporter will facilitate customs clearance. Can you give a checklist of what would be required?

    Thanks for the BN advice. I will apply for one at once.

  • Customs Info says:

    Well, you should ask for a statement from the exporter stating that goods were made in China. In the situation that I am wrong in my classification, the statement of origin may provide you with a preferred duty rate.
    The invoice should be as detailed as possible and in English or French. If there is not enough information on the invoice you may be required to complete a Canada Customs Commercial Invoice as well.
    Thats pretty much all you need from them.
    You need your ID and 2 copies of the Cargo control Document showing yourself as the consignee.
    Thats it for your the goods you are importing.
    Just be prepared that there is always a possibility of inspection so you may not pick up your goods right away.
    Good luck and let me know if you have any further questions.

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi CI,

    I just got a Commercial Invoice from the seller and it does include that information. They do alot of export business, so I suppose they would know the ropes…

    They have included shipping charges into the cost of the goods. Is it better to have it itemized separately? Also, the felt is "made up". In other words, it has been cut to my specifications for an additional fee. Should that be itemized separately as well? Or is it okay for that to be part of the price of the goods?

    By the way, I got my BN with an import account. I tried doing it online, but was having trouble. So I called instead. You were right. Dead easy. I've never known "red-tape" to be so. The headaches are yet to come, right?

    Also, I found a great site while researching HS codes: http://www.faqs.org/rulings/index.html
    You can look up rulings on HS code disputes in the US. I was browsing through them with great interest. It's a whole different world, but surely one that shapes the one we live in…

    I'm expecting arrival of my shipment in a couple of weeks. I'll post how it goes then.

    Thanks for all your help.

  • Customs Info says:

    direct Shipping charges – meaning from the foreign port directly to Canada should be shown as a separate charge as they can be deducted from the Value for Duty.
    As for the extra charge for the cutting, this would be included in the value for duty so there is no need to have a separate line.

  • Matt says:

    Hi – I am moving to Canada from the US on a 36 month work Visa. My wife is Canadian.
    The moving company tells me that they need copies of our passports before they can move our personal effects into Ontario.

    is this actually the case? I don't like giving our personal information out to anyone other than government officials since there are so many instances of identity theft nowadays.

    Is it possible that I can supply the moving company with something else instead?

    Thank you for your help !

  • Soori says:

    I am visitor to Canada, My brother staying at US and he sent me a Laptop to my office address since I Don't have any permanent address.
    Now Canada Customs charged me GST amount, Is there any way to get amount refund

  • Customs Info says:

    Hi Soori,

    Thanks for visting my blog and for your post. Yes you can submit form B2G request for adjustment here http://cbsa.gc.ca/publications/forms-formulaires/b2g.pdf
    If this is a new laptop that your brother sent you as a gift then you may not get a refund. Gifts cannot be sent to commercial addresses.
    If this is your personal laptop from before then you will have to provide proof of that.
    I hope this helps.

    CI

  • Customs Info says:

    Hi Matt,

    As far as I know, there is no law requiring you to submit your passport info to a moving company. This is probably an internal policy to expedite the customs process. However, we are trying to implement a program called emanifest where highway cargo will have to be reported to us prior to arriving at the border. This is not fully implemented yet. So the only thing I can think of is that they are trying to report your goods ahead of time to minimize any hassle at the border. You should ask them how they intend to process your goods. like are they moving them in bond to whichever city you are moving to? Or are they planning on clearing them right at the border?
    Also are you paying them to assist you in customs clearance or only to move your goods? If they are not a licenced customs broker than they cannot clear your personal effects. Licenced brokers can only clear your personal goods if you have already made a declaration to customs that has been validated.
    Lots to know…I know…lol.
    Anyway, the answer is I dont know for sure…but I don't think its a big deal to provide your info to reputable movers who are licensed etc…ultimately its up to you.
    I hope I have helped.

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank-you so much for having this blog it really clears up a lot of things, and I've gain a lot of knowledge.

    Here it goes…

    I live in Edmonton, Alberta and I'm going to Vegas for Christmas for about 5 days. I am planning to bring some of my designer purses, but unfortunately I've lost the receipts for them and unable to get duplicates. But, I do have a record of my transaction on
    Paypal.

    * My question is if I print my transaction details from Paypal is that a valid proof that I bought the purse in Canada?

    I'm scared that the agency will
    give me a hard time because I don't have the original receipt and I'll be cutting it
    pretty close for my flight so I won't be able to do CBSA free service to get documents
    proving I had the item before leaving.

    Thanks for your time,

  • Customs info says:

    Hi, thanks for your post, I understand your trepidation. A paypal receipt may or may not suffice as proof. The best thing is to stop at customs on the way out and document the bags on form Y38. You can even go anytime before you leave…just find your local CBSA office and go there and get a Y38 validated. You will have to bring the bags to show. This is your best bet.

    The other option is to take pictures of them and have them stamped on the back by Customs.

    I hope this helps…

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    just to clarify, I am able to pack my purse in my luggage for check in and just have a photo of it to show to custom to get it stamped on the back?

    I also bought a bag off kijiji and asked the seller if he's able to make an invoice for me b/c he doesn't have the original receipt, is that sufficient enough?

    I'm asking these questions because I heard horror stores on how custom agency is able to tax everything if they wanted if I'm not able to provide proof.

    Thanks,
    Amy

  • Customs Info says:

    well that depends on the officer. Some will want to physically see it. I would take out the bags to show them.
    Technically the person from Kijiji can give you any kind of invoice…but to avoid any hassle I would use the y38.
    Yes you can be taxed, however you can also put in for a refund on form B2G if you can provide proof that the goods are Canadian duty paid. You could take pictures with the bags infront of a recognizable landmark with a newspaper showing the date lol and that would be proof that you had possession of the bags…but the original receipts or the Y38 is definitive proof.
    Just go get a y38 then you have nothing to be concerned about.

  • Anonymous says:

    hi there,
    we are canadian citizens and have moved and working in Hong Kong for three years now. However, we have not filed taxes on our overseas income or declared as non residents, as we didn't know that we needed to until now. We thought we are automatically declared non-residents if we are outside of Canada for over one year. As such, we recently decided to move back to Toronto, so filing for Non resident is not relevant at this point. We would like to know if we ship our mattress, TV, TV stand and a few boxes of personal belongings (i.e. clothes, shoes, brand name bags, books and small kitchen appliances, lap top, camera and lenses), would we have to pay any duties or HST, PST, GST (taxes???? and at what rate). All of these furnitures, electronics, personal goods were all bought over a year now. Also, will we have any problems about the income earned overseas? What's the best way we should handle this. Your comments are much appreciated.

    Thank you!
    Bu

  • Customs Info says:

    To the person who posted a question about moving back from Hong Kong.
    I dont know what happened to your comment but its missing somehow…I'm not all that web savy so who knows…lol.
    As returning residents you can bring your personal household goods free of any taxes so long as they qualify…which you attest that they do. All you have to do is make your declaration at Customs upon your return and provide a list with the corresponding values.
    As for income earned overseas that should not be an issue. I assume you paid income taxes in Hong Kong. If you are not a resident of Canada then you have the option to file a nil tax return here. CRA will probably want proof that you did not live here or earn any income in Canada…which you can do with your tax returns from Hong Kong…Bringing back the income to Canada is fine too. Just remember that if you bring any cash you must declare any amount over 10k CAD.
    I hope this is helpful.
    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the response on jan 2. Please clarify is it ok to not file for "non resident" status and still earn overseas income. Yes, I do have proof of HK tax return and utility bills for the HK property we purchased. For 2008's canadian income tax return we had filed no income. Is this ok? Or should I notify CCRA now to advise them that I'm no longer in Canada as of 2007 and living overseas since then? I'm not sure what to do, as I will be leaving HK in a month and want to ensure I don't get in trouble with CCRA when I return. I had review this article on the CCRA site: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tp/it221r3-consolid/it221r3-consolid-e.html#P72_3780
    regarding non resident status, and I do qualify, but I didn't know I had to declare, as I thought it would be automatic.
    thank you for your help!
    BU

  • Customs Info says:

    Again your comment is missing…hmmm I wonder why?
    I cannot confirm anything as I do not work for CRA…but in principle I am quite certain this type of scenario happens all the time. If you did not earn income in Canada at all and you lived elsewhere and can prove it…and you own no property, investmenst etc…then I dont see any issue or any reason to worry. I'm sure people declare after the fact all the time.
    Maybe call them anonymously and inquire about the process?

  • Anonymous says:

    I am so glad to have found your blog… I have been searching in darkness…

    I read on the CCBA website that we need to declare if we carry over 10K of cash/money order/cheque when entering into Canada, so my questions are:
    **1** what is the consequence after the declaration? Will I be charged with duties and tax? or is this just for filing?
    **2** if I need to pay duty tax, what is the rate? Is it only for the amt beyond the $10K?

  • Customs info says:

    Hi thanks for reading my blog. There are no issues with declaring over 10k. You just have to declare. No tax. It's an anti money laundering and terrorism financing legislation. You can import as much money as you like so long as you declare.

  • Anonymous says:

    thank you so much! great help!

  • Anonymous says:

    Sorry I have another question.

    I am going to land in Canada as new immigrant, and I know that I am allowed to bring some personal effects with me when landing.

    If I bring some NEW furniture, not used, but I am going to use them (not selling) when I come to Canada, do I have to pay for the import tax? If yes, where can I find the tariff rate?

    Again, thank you so much for taking the time!

  • Customs Info says:

    Yes you will have to pay duty on new furniture. you can find the duty rates in the Customs Tariff chapter 94 for furniture at http://cbsa.gc.ca/trade-commerce/tariff-tarif/2011/01-99/ch94-t2011-eng.pdf or call from outside Canada – Service in English:
    204-983-3500
    506-636-5064

  • Karen says:

    Hi there,

    I was wondering what the customs policy on used goods is like. I am interested in purchasing a used pair of boots from eBay which are around $90. Will I need to pay duties? I am pretty sure I will be paying provincial taxes.

    Thanks for your help!
    Karen

  • Customs info says:

    Hi Karen,
    It depends on where the boots are made and can you describe the boots…material, make etc…

    CI

  • Karen says:

    Hi there,

    The boots are leather and made in Peru. They will be shipping from the United States. You helped me some time ago with a similar pair of boots, and I didn't need to pay duty for those. I was just wondering if duties still apply for used goods.

    Thanks again,
    Karen

  • Customs Info says:

    Hi Karen,
    There shouldn't be any duty on the boots if they are from Peru…used or new. And yes duty does still apply for used goods.

    cheers
    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I am a landed immigrant with used personal effects (goods to follow) coming in through Pearson. I was told by the local agent that I need to go to 2720 Britannia Rd E. with the list of items to follow (stamped by customs at landing) to clear the shipment at Canada Border Services before they can pick up the items and deliver at my address. I have three questions for you: (1) Is this the right place to obtain the clearance? Isn't this location just for commercial goods) (2) Are they really open 24 hours? and (3) I don't have a vehicle. Is it safe to walk from Dixon Road to the CBSA if done in daylight hours? Or should I spend to get there by taxi?

    All the best,
    Johanna

    P.S. You do an amazing job helping people on your blog.

  • Customs info says:

    Thanks for the kind words Johanna.
    Yes, sometimes customs at the airport will refer you to another office to another office for clearance of imported goods whether personal or commercial.
    The office at 2720 Britannia Rd E is designated for commercial services but unless your personal goods are accompanying you on the plane then this is would be where you go…and yes they are listed as 24 hours.
    I looked up Dixon rd on Google maps and regardless of where you are on Dixon it appears that it maybe too far to walk. Go to Google maps and put in your address on Dixon Rd and then the the custom's office address and they can even tell you how long it will take walking if you click directions and then the little man icon at the top.
    As for the safety, I am not familiar with the neighbourhood so I would call the office there and ask. call 1-800-461-9999 and you will hear an automated system…just keep pushing zero until you get a live person and ask to be connected to the office port 4973 at 2720 Britannia rd.
    Keep in mind that your goods can be selected for examination and that you may have to return in a few days to get the release if everything is ok.

    I hope this helps.
    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow, what a quick response, thanks!

    I hope you don't mind, I have one other question. I was wondering about the timeframe from arrival of the shipment until the time I should present myself with all the documents at the CBSA. If the shipment, for example, is expected to arrive on a flight this afternoon, can I go to CBSA as early as tomorrow? What if I only go on Monday, after the weekend? In previous posts, you mention that I can only go to customs after the goods arrive at the port. What about after the shipment arrives, how long do I have to start release procedures?

    I will try and give that 1-800 number a call to ask about how to get to their offices. I really appreciate the tips.

    All the best,
    Johanna

  • Customs info says:

    You can go clear your goods whenever you are notified that the goods are in Canada. You have to go get the paperwork first and bring it to be stamped by customs.
    But be aware that the warehouse holding your goods can charge you storage charges if you wait too long. They usually give you a few free days of storage.

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    You were right, they gave me 3 working days until storage charges kicked in. As well, I had to pay an additional port fee of $55. I just wanted to warn all newcomer landed immigrants that when clearing goods to follow, you will need to present to customs the documentation and IDs of the entire group who landed, not just the main applicants, as well as the list of items that came with you at the port of entry AND that were sent to follow. I made the mistake of not bringing my family's IDs which delayed the entire process. They didn't flag me for inspection so after all the papers were submitted, my stuff was cleared.

    Thanks for clarifying issues for me. I hope this helps others in the same boat.

    All the best,
    Johanna

  • Anonymous says:

    My son is going on a 2 week European trip with his school. We want to send our camera with him so he can take pictures and video. We purchased this camera for $300.00 Canadian. Do we have to fill something out for Customs so he doesn't get charged for duty when he returns. Thanks for your help.

  • Customs info says:

    Yes you need to fill out form Y38. its a little green card. You can get one at the customs office at the airport. They will want to see the camera any receipt if you have one and mark down the serial number on the card and stamp it. That is your proof. So when he returns he will not get charged anything for the camera.

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Great information on here!
    My question is my wife and I are Canadian citizens living in the US on TN visas. We purchased a new car about 1 year ago. We are going to be moving back to Canada in the near future. Can we both claim the $10K personal exemption on the value of the car so we only pay on the value above $20K?

  • Customs Info says:

    Hi thanks for the compliment.
    Unfortunately, exemptions cannot be combined. Only either you or your wife can claim the vehicle and apply the 10k.

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow, that was quick, thanks.
    How is the value of the vehicle determined? It's a year old and was in a minor accident that required one of the fenders to be replaced so it has lost a significant amount of book value. Should I get an appraisal done by my insurance company?

  • Anonymous says:

    There is my big question!
    I am canadian, I study music in france. I need to send one of my musical instrument back to my parent place in canada (an instrument that I bought in canada a few years ago).
    Its worth 5000$, would my parents have to pay taxes on it when they receive it? because i already pay the taxes on it when i bough it…
    let me know!

  • Customs info says:

    To the guy with the car,
    you can get an appraisal done for sure. If customs disputes they have the right to use the Canadian Red Book.

    CI

  • Customs info says:

    To the guy in France,
    Your parents may have to pay duties and taxes if Customs believes that it is not Canadian goods returning. You can always claim back the money if you can provide proof that you bought it in Canada.

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I just stumbled upon this blog by chance and am impressed with the information you are able to provide. My situation is interesting to say the least. I hope you will be able to shed some light on where I stand. I am a native Canadian. I have lived in the Middle-East for the past 16 years. Before arriving here, I bought a house which I rent at arm's lenght. I file my taxes every year. I am a deemed non-resident of Canada. Over the past year I have had a house built in my home province. I am married to a French national. We plan to use our new house for seasonal visits and have no intention of ever living in Canada full-time. I am just about to start a new job which provides a fully-furnished house. I want to send my personal furniture and some personal belongings back to Canada which will help us furnish the new 'seasonal dwelling'. Do i have the right to send my furniture back to Canada? I do have receipts for most of the furniture. Do you have any idea if this shipment will affect my residence status?
    I look forward to getting your input!
    Thank you,
    Lynn

  • Customs info says:

    Hi Lynn, Yes you have the right to send your furniture. As a non-resident you are entitled to a one time exemption for seasonal residents under tariff 9829. The details are here in the Customs D memorandum D2-2-3 here http://cbsa.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d2/d2-2-3-eng.pdf
    And no it will not affect your residence status.

    I hope this helps

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I have learned a lot from your blog, thanks. Here is my own question: what kind of proof will a Custom officer ask for in order to prove that one has been away from Canada for over a year or one is actually qualified as a non-resident?

    Thanks. Tony

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey there,

    Nice blog! Certainly more informative to the layperson than GoC websites.

    I have a question about gifted used furniture. My wife's parents in Netherlands have given us a leather couch and loveseat they've had for a number of years(10 or so?). We'd like to bring them into Canada, but do not know if there will be any additional duties or costs. They basically gave them to us last year, but we haven't had time to make arrangements to get them moved or even look into the regulations. Do you know what we can/need to do with them or what documents are necessary for import?
    Thanks!

  • Customs info says:

    Hi, thanks for the compliment. Unless your wife's parents gifted you the furniture in anticipation of death then the only exemption you would qualify for is tariff 9816 for gifts. 9816 will reduce the value for duty by $60 per item. Duties and taxes would apply to the remainder.
    The documents you will need is letter from your wife's parents stating they are giving you the furniture for free. Then you will need a declared value of what the furniture is actually worth. The rest of the documents will be provided by your freight forwarder or warehouse once the goods arrive.

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I have a quick question. I do some mystery shopping for a U.S. company and they want to send me some video equipment (on loan) to do some assignments here in Canada (I'm Canadian.) They want to send by U.S. Priority Post and I'm just concerned if I'm going to end up with customs charges added on even though it's just used equipment being sent on loan (and will be returned later on.) Can you please advise?

  • Customs info says:

    Hi, I would not recommend sending the equipment via post. I would advise using a courier like ups or fedex and then either use their customs brokerage dept to clear the equipment on a form e29b temporary admission permit. That way if you must pay any duties and taxes you can get a refund once the equipment is exported and the e29b is closed off.

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    This is an awesome info site. I have learned a lot from reading posts and info. I do have a question:

    My son ordered clothing from China and was being shipped via post. We obtained a tracking number from supplier and checked on Canada post website for tracking info and it stated "International item arrived in Canada and will be reviewed by Customs". It has been close to 30 days since it has been there. What actions should I rake or do I need to take to follow up on clearance? I am concerned that there could be a copyright issue with the goods. Shame on me for not looking into closer prior to ordering. Any advice is appreciated.

  • Customs info says:

    Thanks for compliment, its nice to get positive feedback. I'm sure it doesn't make sense to some people…its like I'm still working when I'm off. I guess I just perceived there was a need for clarity given the complexity of some of the policies and procedure in relation to Customs.

    As for your son, I wouldn't be too concerned. Yes we see counterfeit products all the time. It becomes an issue when its in commercial quantities or could possibly do harm to the public. i.e. Electrical goods that are not CSA approved.

    Enforcement of intellectual property rights should be given more resources but unfortunately we do not have the man power or budget to chase down every fake dvd or knock off handbag.

    Unless there is an issue with the exporter sending large quantities of counterfeit goods generally speaking I doubt anything will come of it. Having said that 30 days is a long time but not unheard of. If you like you can contact Customs at the International Mail Centre depending on where you live. There is one in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Keep in mind too that as I write this I saw in the news that Canada Post may be going on rotating strikes so this could slow down any mail processing as well.

    Anyway, once you figure out which postal centre has your son's package, call 1-800-461-9999 and ask for the number to the Custom office situated there. You can then call and provide your tracking number and they can search there records to see if there is any issue or if its just waiting to be processed.

    I hope this helps

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi,

    I lived in Canada for five years as foreign student. I purchased a Canadian vehicle in 2006 when living in Ontario. Vehicle was registered in Toronto, ON, and under my name. In 2011, I moved to Detroit and brought the vehicle with me.

    I've successfully imported the vehicle into the United States. I completed and submitted the paper work, and am getting the Michigan license plate. So, anything that deals with the importation and US Custom is done.

    Now, do I have to inform Canada Custom that I exported a used Canadian vehicle (2000 Nissan Pathfinder) out of Canada and into the United States? Do I have to pay any duty/tax?

    Reason I'm asking is because I crossed the Windsor/Detroit border. There's no Canada custom on the way to Detroit. You only find one on the way to Windsor (from Detroit).

    Thanks,

    Andrew

  • Anonymous says:

    And now, I've a valid Canadian tourist visa with multiple entry – if that will help. I travel to Canada quite often and do not wish to be at the wrong side of the law.

    Thanks,

    Andrew

  • Customs info says:

    Hi Andrew, you are fine. Personal and Household goods are exempt from export reporting requirements. As this is your personal vehicle, you do not need to report it to Customs in Canada.

    If you owe any duties or taxes that will be for US customs and I would check with them.

    I hope this helps
    CI

  • Lawrence says:

    Great site.
    We ordered a piece of jewelry from China for a grad present.
    It came into Canada on May 17th to Vancouver.
    We tracked it and its still there according to Canada post web site, (may be now not updated as the strike).
    When reaching for some answer we were told to phone (# given) they sent us back to (# given) who sent us back to the original # given.
    It is now 6 weeks and counting, grads are over and still no idea as to the location of the item. With the strike could we pick the item up from Vancouver or just have to wait?

  • Customs info says:

    Hi Lawrence,
    Thanks for the question. No there is no public access to the Canada Post Mail facilities. Right now with the strike even the workers are locked out. Six weeks seems long but with the strike I am not surprised. Mail from China can take a long time and now with the strike everything is on hold. I think you will just have to wait. Eventually you should receive it. In the future avoid regular post if you can, try and use a courier if you want it by a specific date. There's never any guarantee but you are more likely to receive it 99 times out of a 100.

    good luck
    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Great Site-full of valuable information.
    My question; I travel a lot to the U.S. Typically I do just a day trip to Buffalo. I'm honest about the amount of money that I have spent for the day. My friends and I always end up going inside to pay taxes on goods. Why are we then asked to show the yellow form to the officers on the way out and then our car is searched? Is this a new tactic- pay and then search the car to see if we have something that is not on a receipt? What are the repercussions if they find goods that you didn't declare? (not alcohol as I never bring that across)
    Thanks, EP

  • Customs info says:

    Hi EP,

    Thanks for the compliment. I'm trying…and its nice to hear that you find my site useful.

    The yellow form is standard when you have to go into Customs Secondary. I don't believe its a new tactic. Customs always has to give you every opportunity to make your legal declaration. If you were found to have not declared something you the penalty depends on what the commodity is and how much and of course the value of duty/taxes evaded. Also if you have a history of not reporting goods that would count against you. The penalty can range from a warning to criminal charges in serious evasion or non-report of prohibited items. Also you would then be flagged for inspection every time you cross the border. I hope this helps.

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    FromEP, thanks for the response. The yellow form I understand. What I don't understand is the search? Is the searching of a car random? Under what circumstances do the customs officers decide to search people?

    Thanks EP

  • Customs info says:

    Yes the search can be random or not. Customs can search whenever they have reasonable ground to suspect non-compliance or to just verify a declaration, or officer and public safety etc…
    Read section 98 and 99 of the Customs Act

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello,

    I really appreciate your site. My issue is as follows: my parents purchased carpets from a gallery in turkey which they spent quite a bit of money. The gallery misled them by promising that their price included all shipping, duties and taxes. The goods have arrived in Canada by major carrier but apparently the goods were grossly undervalued. The carrier informed my parents and requested a proof of purchase. All they had was visa statement for total amount so the carrier asked them to complete a power of attorney and informed them that because they did not have a detailed invoice they would have to pay duty and taxes on the total amount appearing on the visa statement. They complied just to get the goods effectively paying for duties twice. The worst part is that the goods have still not been released. Any advice would be much appreciated. Should they bypass the carrier's broker and go directly to customs to self clear? Thanks,

  • Customs info says:

    Wow that's a bad break for your parents. Yes I would tell them to self clear. Tell them to go to Customs and explain what happened. Tell them to make the declaration that they purchased a rug. Ask for a Canada Custom invoice or print one off the link on my post on forms. Fill out the invoice and declare how much they actually paid for the rug, how much the shipping charges were. The total should equal what visa statement says is. Duties and taxes are not charged on shipping from the direct foreign point of export to Canada. Secondly if the rug is hand knotted and not machine knotted there is no duty on the rug. They should only pay GST/HST/Provincial sales tax depending on province of residence. Furthermore, if they did not use up their $750 exemption after being away from Canada on vacation then they could have declared goods to follow on form E24 at the airport. So lets say they brought back $250 worth of stuff each in their luggage, they are entitled to the remaining $500 on their exemption. If they did not know they could do this then they should fill out the form on the CBSA website here http://cbsa.gc.ca/contact/com-eng.html#a1 and give the dates of travel, where the left and returned to Canada and explain they were not afforded the full exemption and would like to do so and apply it to the rug. The exemption cannot be combined but say your mum has $500 left she can take this off the taxable amount of the rug. This will save them a few bucks.

    Once they self clear and pay anything outstanding they will be issued a form b15 which they can then send to the carrier and request a refund. when you say carrier do you mean courier? like UPS? UPS would be both courier and carrier. But some smaller companies are only carriers. They don't usually clear goods for people through customs so I am thinking they must be a courier. Couriers usually, at least the reputable ones will refund all customs charges if you prove you paid it yourself. I would call them too and explain what you plan to do so they are not out even more money. If the courier refuses the I would ask for the paperwork showing customs clearance and how much the duties and taxes were…a break down of all charges and the transaction number or reference number for customs. Then you can complete form B2G for a refund of any incorrect amounts paid. Send it in with the canada customs invoice, copy of the visa statement, and a cover letter explaining the situation. They should get some money back if they were charged incorrectly.

    I hope this helps

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much for the info CI. This is really invaluable work that you do. The carpets were finally released by Customs and delivered by DHL. We will now try to claim back all the duties as per your email below because these are handmade carpets. Could you point me to the exact regulation or tariff guideline that says no duty on handmade carpets. Cheers.

  • Customs info says:

    Carpets manufactured in Turkey qualify for GPT or general preferential tariff treatment. If you look at the Customs Tariff Chapter 57 (http://cbsa.gc.ca/trade-commerce/tariff-tarif/2011/01-99/ch57-t2011-eng.pdf)Hand knotted wool carpets fall under the classification code 5701.10.90.00 for Carpets and other textile floor coverings, knotted, whether or not made up,of wool or fine animal hair, other. Normally this would attract 6.5% duty but then when you look in the right hand column it shows GPT: free. Hence, no duty. And as for proving origin to qualify for GPT…As per Customs D Memorandum D11-4-2 paragraph 4(4) (http://cbsa.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d11/d11-4-2-eng.pdf)
    (4) The importer and owner of casual goods are
    exempt from the requirements of subsection 35.1(1) of the Act if
    (a) there is no evidence that the goods originate in a country other than a beneficiary country;
    (b) the goods are imported in a traveller's baggage or consigned from an individual in the beneficiary country to an individual in Canada; and
    (c) the goods are declared at the time of importation as not intended for resale.

    I wish your parents the best of luck.

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    hi i am going shopping for one night in pennsylvania and will buy mostly clothes and toys and a gps and camera how much duty will be charged on the goods or will i have to pay just gst and hst pls reply thanks

  • Customs info says:

    Hi, if you are not away at least 24 hours you will not be entitled to any exemption. Electronic devices and toys usually are duty free, but HST will apply. If the clothes are not made in the US, Mexico or another country Canada has a free trade agreement with then duty will be approx 18% and then on top of that HST will apply.

    CI

  • Sameh says:

    Hi, I am new comer to canada and i did my first landing in 23rd of July,2010 and no one direct me to list my belongings in personal effect accounting document form the immigration office so i left without filling that document. i spent in canada 2 weeks till 5th of August,2010 and i left back to Saudi Arabia. Now i am back to canada in 24th of July,2011 and expect my Shipment to arrive in 3 weeks what shall i do to still get exempted. Appreciate your feedback

  • Customs info says:

    You should go to an inland customs office and explain your situation and claim your exemption. Present your list of goods with values, passport and landing papers and explain you were not afforded the settler's exemption when you first arrived in Canada.

    CI

  • Sameh says:

    Thanks CI, may you advise the location of inland customs office in Mississauga, i am currently in Square one Area so what would be the nearest office to me.
    Many thanks for your prompt response

  • Customs info says:

    Yes there is one at 5425 Dixie Road open Monday to Friday and one at 2720 Britannia Rd East open 24 hours a day.

  • George Chung says:

    Hi,

    We are moving back to Canada after being away for 15 years. We pretty much have everything sorted but with one question unanswered.

    We are shipping only personal items from Costa Rica and the question is do we need to use a customs broker or can we do it ourselves?

    I am thinking about doing it ourselves but could you explain what would that entail? When we land we will have two full list of items we are bring in (one for things we are carrying and another one for the shipped items) and present them to the CBS agents.

    If you think that the best way to go is to use a custom broker, are there any you recommend?

    Thanks ahead of time!

    Regards,

    George

  • Customs info says:

    Hi George,

    You must claim any exemption and make any declaration yourself. A broker cannot do this for you. They can however proceed with clearance after the aforementioned is complete.

    You never need a customs broker but it is advised on complex commercial importations. For personal effects I think its unecessary. Hopefully you have arranged for a mover to pick up your goods from the sufferance warehouse your goods will be stored in once they arrive in Canada. Please read my other posts on importing personal goods and settlers and returning resident. If you have any further questions feel free to ask.

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    hi! im a filipino and canadian resident card holder.im planning to visit philippines for more than 3 months. my issues is im bringing my dslr cam that i bought in bestbuy four months ago. it for personal use, should i still need to declare it? when i coming back to canada it will be 9 months old already. and is there any fees if i declared something?thanks so much

  • Customs info says:

    Just stop at Customs Info before you check in and ask to document the camera on a form y38. This will be your proof when you return and you will not have to pay anything.

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Good day,

    Does your site anticipate any in depth discussion on Customs topics(such as CITT rulings or explanatory notes, etc.) ?

    Regards,
    RT

  • Customs info says:

    Hi RT,

    I was thinking about that but was wondering if anyone would be interested in that. Maybe I will add a forum to my site. What do you think? Think people are interested in that?

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi! I will be arriving to Canada (Montreal) on a wrok permit for 24 months. Am I entitled to import my personal effects without paying duty? If not, how much duty will be applicable on used items such as furniture, LCD, kids toys and cloths. I would really want to avoid the hassle of selling everything and again buying. Thanks

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi CI,

    I just had a question for you. I had sent a package back to Canada that contained personal items and a case of cigarettes as gifts for different family members and friends since they are very cheap to purchase here. The package was inspected and the cigarettes I assume were confiscated by Customs. Will this cause me any issues like being flagged when traveling back home? Or any other actions as a result?

    Thanks DD

  • Customs info says:

    To the person moving to montreal on a work permit,

    yes you can import all your household effects duty and tax free under tariff 9803 for temporary importations of baggage and conveyances. But you will have to export all your goods by the end of your permit unless it is extended.

    I hope you enjoy your stay.

    CI

  • Customs info says:

    To the guy who had the cigarettes confiscated,

    I cannot comment really on this. I would need all the details and again there are some subjects I cannot write about due to the oath of privacy that I took. If you are concerned about it I would proactively contact the CBSA and explain the you wish to discuss the situation and explain your side of the story. Don't wait till you are travelling. You can call the Border Info Line and ask the operator to direct your call to someone that can look into your situation. 1-800-461-9999 and press "0" for the operator.

    Good luck

    CI

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi,

    Thank you for such a wonderful and useful site.

    I applied for extension of my visitor visa online (inside Canada) and the current processing time is 81 days. I don't want to wait for another 2 months as I am on implied status and can't travel outside the country.

    My question is -> Can I go to local cic office in toronto (st clair) and ask them to issue me my visitor visa? What should I say to convince them that this is urgent? Do I need to fill the change in conditions form again, and if yes, will it be considered a restoration? Or will the officer just check my online application and process that application?

    Thank you very much.

  • Customs info says:

    Hi,

    I really don't know the answer to your question. I would suggest that you call a local CIC office and pose your question there.

    Sorry and best of luck
    CI

  • Mel says:

    Hi just reading over ur blog wondering if u could help I am currently on vacation in Thailand and have done some shopping and now regretting all my purchases cause they are counterfeit i just couldnt resist the low price. I moving back to Canada from living in Australia for 9 months and have spent a week in Bali and Thailand on the way back. I have three "designers" knockoff purses and some DVDs for myself and as a gift for my mom. Will I get in trouble or get it confiscated . Also while living and working in Australia I bought an iPad will I have to pay tax? Thanks so much!

  • Customs info says:

    Hi Mel,

    Chances are your knockoff purses wouldn't be seized. Customs is more interested in those that are imported for resale in Canada. The iPad would be subject to HST/PST/GST Sales tax depending on province of residence but not Duty.

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi CI,
    I recently moved from Ireland and sent a container over with my personal effects. The Shipping agent has said the container has arrived in CP Obico Toronto and the container is waiting to be customs cleared but no one is able to tell me where I need to go to give in the paperwork to clear customs except for saying its the airport customs office. Is it the Britannia Road office that I should go to? Is that office open 24/7 to the public? I need to get this resolved as the Shipping Agent have said they are going to charge me very soon if the container is not returned. No one seems to be able to help which is my frustration for shipment of a personal container.
    If you have any info it would be most welcome.
    Thanks,
    KP

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi
    I'm posting a single bottle of liquor to canada from the UK. Less than 1Litre, and low alcohol content. Labelled as a Gift because it is a gift. Will this item make it's way through customs?

  • Customs Info says:

    Hi KP,

    Yes you need to go to the customs office that handles commercial services. There a few offices that offer commercial services but to be sure which one you should be going to call our info line 1-800-461-9999 and keep pressing 0 for the operator. Then ask for the number to the customs office to clear a container in Toronto. Your shipping agent should have given you this information.

    good luck,

    CI

  • Customs Info says:

    As to the alcohol from the UK, I doubt it will make it through but anything is possible.

    :)

    CI

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for replying CI, at the moment it's waiting for clearance at Customs.
    If they are to return it, will they notify me first or will they return it with a return fee to be paid. I am having trouble finding a contact number for customs.
    (re liquor post from UK to Canada)

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this site, I have found so many answers here,

    I however am in need of so me help.

    I'm looking for the hs code for dvd instruction manuals, as well as excersise manuals and owners guides, i would think they fall under the same chapter, but not quite sure. Thanks for again for your help. Shipped from US to Canada.

  • Customs Info says:

    Re: the liquor in the post, Alcohol is technically classified as non-mailable goods so it won't be returned if found…and no you won't have to pay for it.

    CI

  • Customs Info says:

    Re: the dvd manuals etc, in my opinion it would fall under the hs code 4901.99.00.99 for Printed books, brochures, leaflets and similar printed matter, whether or not in single sheets, other, other, other.

    CI

  • Doug says:

    I am moving from Ontario to Alberta, with household goods in a uhaul truck and car on the trailer. I would like to drive through the US to save $$ on gas and easier driving on interstate.

    How do I document my furniture, clothes etc? as I will be entering the states and re-entering Canada?

    I have no intention of buying any items in the states, is there a way Canada customs can seal the truck to make re-entering canada easier?

    Thanks
    Doug

  • Doug says:

    I am moving from Ontario to Alberta, I would like to drive through the states to save gas money and time as well as have an easier drive on the interstates.

    I will have household items, furniture, electronics and clothes in a uhaul truck towing my car behind. I have a current passport for me, how do I document my items properly so I can enter the states and then re-enter Canada without and duties or hassles?

    I don’t intend to purchase anything while driving through the states, is there a way for customs to seal the truck to make re-entry easier ?

    Thanks Doug

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