Shopping Discussion

Shipping from Canada to USA: duty and taxes?

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  • Apr 27th, 2011 8:17 pm
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[OP]
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Sep 27, 2008
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Shipping from Canada to USA: duty and taxes?

At what dollar amount do you have to start worrying about brokerage, taxes, duties etc? I have heard $200. I'd like to to put $200 insurance on this item but dont want to trigger taxes.
8 replies
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Mar 21, 2002
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It's $200 for personal shipments.

The US is so disorganized that they don't have a national sales tax and I'm not sure if they even bother to collect State sales taxes at the border.

That leaves duties which are 0 if the item was made in North America. And maybe brokerage fees if there's something to collect.

I'd put a value of $190. Keep in mind though that if you're shipping insured that the insured value should not be significantly different from the customs valuation.
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Jan 30, 2007
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mtseymourguy wrote:
Apr 26th, 2011 6:47 pm
At what dollar amount do you have to start worrying about brokerage, taxes, duties etc? I have heard $200. I'd like to to put $200 insurance on this item but dont want to trigger taxes.
You insure it for the value. You don't overinsure (you won't get more than the item is worth, and if you try you could be charged with an offence) and you don't underinsure because you're shooting yourself in the foot. If taxes are due, they're due, but you don't want to lose an item and then find out you didn't have enough coverage on it.
[OP]
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Sep 27, 2008
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Good answers, guys :) I notice that the things I buy from India and China come marked as a gift. Its not necessary in this case since I will just say it is worth $190 but I imagine you dont casually mark something as a gift when it is this value since they may very well check to see if it is really a gift. Its just weird that large companies in india and china are marking things as gifts. I think one was around $60 from all day chemicals . they actually shipped it to usa and then private people shipped it to me in canada. the address etc was hand written.
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Mar 21, 2002
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Buyers are always asking sellers to mark things as "gift" thinking it will sneak through customs without being looked at. From what I recall "gift" is only allowed for up to $60 in value coming into Canada. Beyond that customs will not consider it a "gift". And yes, gift or not customs can stop any package they want and assess taxes and duties if applicable. They also don't have to accept the value marked on the package and can do their own estimate.

In any event many small Post Office packages get waved through anyway without being examined probably because Customs simply doesn't have the resources to examine the flood of items Canadians are buying from the US and overseas. UPS items on the other hand will pretty much always get checked if they're over $20. I think this is because UPS wants that brokerage revenue (big profit item to them) and so they make sure every package gets nailed.
Sr. Member
Mar 25, 2011
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Guelph
From what I recall "gift" is only allowed for up to $60 in value coming into Canada. Beyond that customs will not consider it a "gift".
Let me clear up this whole "gift" myth in one sentence: Gift or not, anything above $20 is dutiable/taxable.

and yes, if you're one of "those" people who thinks this "gift" thing works, you just got lucky because there's no way CBSA could go through all the pacakages that's coming into Canada.

Kapish?

For the US, anything below $200 is non-dutiable/taxable. Their personal exemption is more generous.
[OP]
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O1IN85 wrote:
Apr 27th, 2011 12:39 am
Let me clear up this whole "gift" myth in one sentence: Gift or not, anything above $20 is dutiable/taxable.

and yes, if you're one of "those" people who thinks this "gift" thing works, you just got lucky because there's no way CBSA could go through all the pacakages that's coming into Canada.

Kapish?

For the US, anything below $200 is non-dutiable/taxable. Their personal exemption is more generous.

everybody in canada gets the $20 exemption. when i send something to the states, there is a spot to indicate that it is a gift. not sure about canada. isnt the gift limit $60 for canada?
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Mar 21, 2002
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O1IN85 wrote:
Apr 27th, 2011 12:39 am
Let me clear up this whole "gift" myth in one sentence: Gift or not, anything above $20 is dutiable/taxable. and yes, if you're one of "those" people who thinks this "gift" thing works, you just got lucky because there's no way CBSA could go through all the pacakages that's coming into Canada. Kapish?

No. Incorrect.

http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications ... html#s2x15
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Sep 23, 2005
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Burnaby
iamnotamerican.com wrote:
Apr 26th, 2011 9:49 pm
You insure it for the value. You don't overinsure (you won't get more than the item is worth, and if you try you could be charged with an offence) and you don't underinsure because you're shooting yourself in the foot. If taxes are due, they're due, but you don't want to lose an item and then find out you didn't have enough coverage on it.
And beyond that point, if you're shipping via Canada Post the insured value cannot exceed the value declared for customs. It's impossible to insure a parcel for $175 if you indicate a declared value of $50, for example.

As well, if you're shipping goods you sold, say on eBay, to your customer and the package gets lost, Canada Post may only reimburse you your verifiable wholesale cost -- not necessarily what you resold the item for. Their staff seem to have some discretion on this and don't generally quibble on this point for smaller-value goods, but on a big-ticket item you can be sure they're going to work hard to compensate you the bare minimum.
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