Shopping Discussion

FAQ About Cross Border Shopping / CBSA

Sr. Member
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Jun 3, 2010
716 posts
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Richmond Hill
pentiumvi wrote:
Apr 7th, 2012 4:00 pm
Unsure if this the right place to ask, but I understand that if I leave Canada for more than 48 hours I'm entitled to a limited amount of duty free tobacco and alcohol.

Now what if I didn't go to the states for more than 48 hours and I want to purchase duty free products anyways? Am I allowed if I'm willing to pay duty+tax?

Anyone know what the duty + tax rate on a carton of cigarettes/bottle of alcohol is?

As CWB27 also noted, you can buy whatever you want...you just have to pay duty on it (where applicable) when you come back into Canada. As for what is the rate...The duty is different on different items. I think in general items (non alcohol and tobacco) the rate is not anything major. Just don't bring in an excessive amount that makes it look like you are importing goods for sale. As long as you have low quantities, you will not be overly charged.

Alcohol and Tobacco are a different matter. Those items have very high duty slapped on them if you go over. The savings that you gained buying duty-free will not only disappear, but you will have to pay more on top of that - from everything I have read...a LOT more. It is definitely not a good idea to bring back more than your allowance of alcohol and tobacco.
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May 9, 2009
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pentiumvi wrote:
Apr 7th, 2012 4:00 pm
Unsure if this the right place to ask, but I understand that if I leave Canada for more than 48 hours I'm entitled to a limited amount of duty free tobacco and alcohol.

Now what if I didn't go to the states for more than 48 hours and I want to purchase duty free products anyways? Am I allowed if I'm willing to pay duty+tax?

Anyone know what the duty + tax rate on a carton of cigarettes/bottle of alcohol is?

Appendix A & B of this document will tell you the rates for each province:
http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications ... -6-eng.pdf

For cigarettes in BC, there is a tax of $0.185 per cigarette along with HST.

There is a 150% markup on spirits in BC (minimum markup of $13.19/L and maximum markup of $40/L). The markup is applied after HST is calculated on the bottle.
Member
Mar 9, 2010
228 posts
19 upvotes
Lets say you go on a trip for 10 days in the US and the two of us have $400 in exemptions. What if we buy something online while we are in the US, declare it when we come back. But the goods are shipped to a border town since we are flying and they are too large to carry on the plane. We then go on a day trip to retrieve these goods.

How would this be handled at the land crossing?
Member
Dec 25, 2005
217 posts
5 upvotes
pinkcar wrote:
Apr 11th, 2012 10:44 pm
Lets say you go on a trip for 10 days in the US and the two of us have $400 in exemptions. What if we buy something online while we are in the US, declare it when we come back. But the goods are shipped to a border town since we are flying and they are too large to carry on the plane. We then go on a day trip to retrieve these goods.

How would this be handled at the land crossing?

I think i can answer this. You can declare "goods to follow" when you returning to canada. You will be given a form to fill out. The rule is only applicable for absence of more than 7 days. You can't use that for 48 hrs or 24 hrs of absence. You can use the stamped/approved form to import the "goods" you said "to be followed" either in person or by mail.
Newbie
Dec 4, 2009
78 posts
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British Columbia: Bringing back beer.

I brought back 48 bottles of beer last night ($45 at Costco Bellingham). Paid an additional $39 at the border --> which was 12% HST, plus 55% Liquor Mark-up, plus about 12 cents per bottle Duty (31.8 cents per litre?).

Note that the mark-up is based on the total retail price; including taxes.

So, I paid a total of $84 ($45+$39) for 48 bottles of beer. Quite similar to B.C. prices.
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Jun 28, 2003
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Ottawa
On a slightly related note, the Fed is chopping over 1,000 positions for CBSA. The following list has more details

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/health/Job ... story.html

I don't know if this means longer wait times due to reduced staff (front or back-end) or what have you. Apparently, the Union President representing border officers are supposed to make a statement today so stay tuned i guess.

If anyone else has more info on this or know people who are *affected*, please post. It has certainly been a pretty *down* week here in the National Capital Region as departments are beginning to dole out letters to affected staff, part of the overall budget savings.
Please contact for $-saving tips prior to purchasing Mattamy/Monarch homes in Ottawa.
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Jul 18, 2009
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^ so that's 1,137 fewer uniformed pickpockets at the border. Hopefully, with the (Jun 01) increase in personal exemptions, this will lead to relaxing the revenue mandate and focusing more on security :)

The border crossings are going to get very busy from June 1st :lol:
Jr. Member
Nov 10, 2010
153 posts
9 upvotes
I am purchasing an outdoor grill from an online vendor in the USA. It will be shipped from California and I need to pick it up at the Niagara Falls, NY warehouse. I will need to borrow my neighbor's utility trailer since it weighs close to 600 lbs. What documents do I need for the trailer (if any) since I am not the owner to cross into the US, pick up the grill and return back to Canada? I assume I will not have to pay duty because the grill is manufactured in California, just HST which will run me around $850.00. :eek:
Member
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Nov 24, 2007
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Kaon
I need to purchase spray paint and was hoping to grab it cheaper in the states. Does anyone know if you can or not?
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May 5, 2007
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denaliman wrote:
Apr 14th, 2012 10:04 pm
I am purchasing an outdoor grill from an online vendor in the USA. It will be shipped from California and I need to pick it up at the Niagara Falls, NY warehouse. I will need to borrow my neighbor's utility trailer since it weighs close to 600 lbs. What documents do I need for the trailer (if any) since I am not the owner to cross into the US, pick up the grill and return back to Canada? I assume I will not have to pay duty because the grill is manufactured in California, just HST which will run me around $850.00. :eek:

You won't need any special documents for the trailer assuming it has a valid provincial (Ontario in your case?) license plate. However, make sure you bring proof that the grill is mad in the USA.

And you've somehow made me hungry.

Happy Grilling!
Jr. Member
Nov 10, 2010
153 posts
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MikeyMadness wrote:
Apr 15th, 2012 9:33 am
You won't need any special documents for the trailer assuming it has a valid provincial (Ontario in your case?) license plate. However, make sure you bring proof that the grill is mad in the USA.

And you've somehow made me hungry.

Happy Grilling!
Thank you. So i would not need a statement from my neighbor giving me permission to cross the border with the trailer? would I need the ownership of the trailer?
Member
May 31, 2008
362 posts
58 upvotes
Toronto
apn64 wrote:
Apr 12th, 2012 9:53 am
^ so that's 1,137 fewer uniformed pickpockets at the border. Hopefully, with the (Jun 01) increase in personal exemptions, this will lead to relaxing the revenue mandate and focusing more on security :)

The border crossings are going to get very busy from June 1st :lol:
Actually, I see the exact opposite. I see them still having long lines (to justify maintaing their jobs or hiring more people) and dinging folks in more (we bring in xxxxxx amount of revenue).
Sr. Member
Mar 25, 2011
708 posts
30 upvotes
Guelph
canabiz wrote:
Apr 12th, 2012 6:28 am
On a slightly related note, the Fed is chopping over 1,000 positions for CBSA. The following list has more details

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/health/Job ... story.html

I don't know if this means longer wait times due to reduced staff (front or back-end) or what have you. Apparently, the Union President representing border officers are supposed to make a statement today so stay tuned i guess.

If anyone else has more info on this or know people who are *affected*, please post. It has certainly been a pretty *down* week here in the National Capital Region as departments are beginning to dole out letters to affected staff, part of the overall budget savings.

Weren't they just hiring a month ago? Now they're downsizing?
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Apr 24, 2006
6531 posts
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Toronto
O1IN85 wrote:
Apr 16th, 2012 9:12 pm
Weren't they just hiring a month ago? Now they're downsizing?

The Federal Budget changes lots of things. It's not really the CBSA's choice.
I Declare - The official guide to your Customs exemptions and item restrictions when returning to Canada from abroad.
Newbie
Mar 31, 2011
7 posts
Hamilton
Recently came back from the u.s. with mostly groceries, toiletries and about $40 in brake rotors. In we go for tax payment. Ok no problem. She assessed me almost $15 of tax on toiletries and the brake rotors. When I tally up everything afterwords I can clearly see that she overcharged the tax on about $25 of items that are clearly not taxable.

I had this happen once before on books, --so wasn't going to bring it up and have an issue in the office-- with them trying to charge me 13% as opposed to the correct 5%. When I brought it the officers attention he got belligerent, sent me out to itemize each item. When I came back he was gone and the next officer charged me about $3.00 in tax which was then correct. Why do they have to act that way when politely challenged.

Back to the first paragraph--what should I do and how to go about it to have the correct tax amount charged on groceries. Sometimes they seem so lazy--they just lump everything into one category even if it is not correct. Is it a difficult process to have this corrected. Thanks
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