Travel

Returning to Canada after 7 day trip - how does customs work?

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 10th, 2017 5:16 pm
Deal Fanatic
Oct 26, 2008
5186 posts
1013 upvotes
BC
Talamasca wrote:
Oct 12th, 2017 1:42 pm
I see. What if you bought a sculpture or something like that? How do they determine who it's for?
The onus is not on the Customs Officer to determine who the sculpture is for, it's your responsibility to declare it correctly - personal exemption.

If say the sculpture is being declared by the game-playing teenager in the back seat under his personal exemption, the Customs Officer may choose to call you out on it.

Then you have to waste time inside answering further questions and getting charged tax/duty. Best to understand the spirit of the law if not the fine details.
Sr. Member
Jul 13, 2007
586 posts
158 upvotes
Toronto
hamandcheese wrote:
Oct 12th, 2017 3:50 pm
Miscellaneous stuff can be declared by anyone. My point is that if you bought one item for $900 and there are two people travelling together, you do not get an exemption of $1600 combined between the two of you. One person has to declare the $900 item and they receive an $800 exemption while the other person declares nothing.
I'd try to play the "It's $900 at the store, but loses 30% of its value once it rolls off the lot" card.
It's value that matters, not the price you paid.
Are you sure you wish to carry out this operation? You betcha.
Member
Sep 12, 2012
324 posts
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Toronto/Markham
HammerRFDer wrote:
Oct 13th, 2017 1:21 am
I'd try to play the "It's $900 at the store, but loses 30% of its value once it rolls off the lot" card.
It's value that matters, not the price you paid.
I'm pretty sure customs bases the value of the item on it's purchase price. They charge the tax based on reciepts you provide.
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User avatar
Jan 31, 2006
3407 posts
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Toronto
hamandcheese wrote:
Oct 12th, 2017 3:51 pm
You are correct. If two handbags are bought for $450 each and there are two people travelling together, each person can declare a handbag and be below the $800 exemption limit.
like i said it doesnt matter how you split it as long as you declare what you have. they do not care if a man have handbags or female things. they can be gift for people at home. when i went to Paris, we bought probably $9k worth of stuff. i just declare $1500 and she declare the rest. I did not get tax and she got tax for the big ticketed items only cuz we had too many receipts and some were in euros and some were in pounds. the officer was too tired to calculate everything.
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Sr. Member
Jul 13, 2007
586 posts
158 upvotes
Toronto
hamandcheese wrote:
Oct 13th, 2017 8:25 am
I'm pretty sure customs bases the value of the item on it's purchase price. They charge the tax based on reciepts you provide.
More than I wanted to know here, but looks like if the goods are used, a valuation different than transaction value can be used. I'm sure CBSA has no problems accepting your receipts though.
3. If the requirements of section 48 of the Act are not met, the value for duty must be determined under one of the subsequent methods of valuation applied in sequential order. Attention is drawn to two specific sets of circumstances where section 48 of the Act would not be applicable because a sale for export to Canada would not be considered to have occurred
Section 48 says to use transaction value only when the goods are exported to Canada to a person in Canada.
http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications ... 1-eng.html
Are you sure you wish to carry out this operation? You betcha.
Newbie
Nov 26, 2012
2 posts
1 upvote
Toronto
This is based on a conversation I had once with customs while going through secondary inspection. Personal exemption is based on personal use. I specifically asked if it matters who pays for it and she said no, they don't look at the credit card number, they look at the item itself. I also asked about things like household goods or gifts (e.g. I bought a poster at the Met), she said we should be honest (LOL) but that its up to us to decide. If it is one $900 item, you should report it as one persons spending. If its a bunch of items between two people, then split it based on personal use (e.g. if its a sweater obviously for you then you should claim it). If it is not obvious, like a mug from the Louvre or something, use your judgement on who should claim it...strategically.

Customs is a crapshoot. Depending on who you get and what they ask, you can get away with a lot or get caught out. For example, if you both claim $450 but its a $900 item...what would you say if the agent asks what is the most expensive item you purchased? I once got asked what exchange rate I used..lol. Other times, they only care about booze and cigarettes. No other questions. Even in secondary inspection, its totally random. One time, the agent went through my wallet, looking at every random transit and restaurant receipt trying to find something to catch me for not reporting. But I always claim everything so nothing happened and I didn't even pay tax on the $100 I went over. Another time, I reported 2000 Euro purse (huge once in life splurge), ready to pay any tax and duty but the agent didn't even charge anything or bother looking at the receipts for anything else. He's like, sounds like you had a fun vacation and walked us out.

Just be honest, claim everything, hope for the best and expect the worse (which is usually paying 13% on the over exemption amount). Edit: 13% HST in Ontario...obviously depends on where you are....
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Feb 7, 2017
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niche54 wrote:
Nov 10th, 2017 11:03 am
This is based on a conversation I had once with customs while going through secondary inspection. Personal exemption is based on personal use. I specifically asked if it matters who pays for it and she said no, they don't look at the credit card number, they look at the item itself. I also asked about things like household goods or gifts (e.g. I bought a poster at the Met), she said we should be honest (LOL) but that its up to us to decide. If it is one $900 item, you should report it as one persons spending. If its a bunch of items between two people, then split it based on personal use (e.g. if its a sweater obviously for you then you should claim it). If it is not obvious, like a mug from the Louvre or something, use your judgement on who should claim it...strategically.

Customs is a crapshoot. Depending on who you get and what they ask, you can get away with a lot or get caught out. For example, if you both claim $450 but its a $900 item...what would you say if the agent asks what is the most expensive item you purchased? I once got asked what exchange rate I used..lol. Other times, they only care about booze and cigarettes. No other questions. Even in secondary inspection, its totally random. One time, the agent went through my wallet, looking at every random transit and restaurant receipt trying to find something to catch me for not reporting. But I always claim everything so nothing happened and I didn't even pay tax on the $100 I went over. Another time, I reported 2000 Euro purse (huge once in life splurge), ready to pay any tax and duty but the agent didn't even charge anything or bother looking at the receipts for anything else. He's like, sounds like you had a fun vacation and walked us out.

Just be honest, claim everything, hope for the best and expect the worse (which is usually paying 13% on the over exemption amount). Edit: 13% HST in Ontario...obviously depends on where you are....
Good post.

Said the guy who used to work for Customs.

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