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Buying alcohol on way in to the US

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  • May 17th, 2011 9:45 am
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[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2004
5869 posts
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Buying alcohol on way in to the US

I went to the US, and on the way in I went to the duty free shop for those coming back to Canada and I bought a couple bottles of vodka, though I'm not supposed to and they send the info to customs.
What should I do on the way back home in a few days? Say I didn't know you weren't supposed to buy it? Or say I bought it in the city?
14 replies
Deal Addict
Mar 11, 2008
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Langley
I would answer the questions they ask you honestly and when/if they ask you if you are bringing any alcohol back tell them the truth. If you are over the limit then they will most likely send you in to pay the duty and or tax on the item. It is really not worth the consequences if you get caught not telling the truth.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2004
5869 posts
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Thanks. I'll just tell them I bought it on the way in because they will be closed when I travel back. Though the girl at the counter said you can't buy it on your way in and it is sent to customs. I told her I was on my way home :/
Deal Addict
Feb 24, 2007
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Beamsville
When you cross back into Canada declare the alcohol and have the receipts handy if they ask for them. Chances are if your over for a "few days" they'll let you through with 2 bottles with out hassle.
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Feb 26, 2003
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Tahsis
You violated US law, not Canadian. As long as you declare them on your return you're fine for the Canadian side.
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Nov 17, 2007
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I don't understand what you're saying. When you drive into the US, you can only enter the Duty Free shop that is on the side entering the US, not Canada. When you return to Canada, you can enter the one for entering Canada, two different duty free shops. How did you enter the one going into Canada if you were heading south into the states? I'm going to assume that you entered the one that is for entering the US and you CAN purchase alcohol there and if you stay in the US for over 48 hours, you CAN bring it back into Canada as your allowable amount. I've done it many times. Keep in mind that you cannot then go into the Duty Free shop on the side entering Canada and purchase over and above your allowable amount for returning to Canada (for example, one 24 of beer per person over the age of 19).
Deal Addict
Feb 26, 2003
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Tahsis
There are crossings where it's pretty easy to go to the "other" duty free shop. You're not supposed to (as evidenced by the fact that the OP lied about which way he was crossing) but people do it.

He evaded paying the US taxes/duties on the vodka he bought because he took goods into the US which were "only for export," but if he exports it in the end I know that Canada doesn't care, and I doubt that the US cares much either, although I really can't say.
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May 28, 2009
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Ottawa
baz5 wrote: I went to the US, and on the way in I went to the duty free shop for those coming back to Canada and I bought a couple bottles of vodka,
otherthan the fact this maybe breaking the law youre also paying in US $ as opposed to paying Can $.

When one enters the US you visit the Duty free on the Canadian side and we end up buying stuff there as opposed to buying when returning which is typically a bit busier and we are also tired not to mention the fact that you pay US $ (this was when the US $ was above parity ofcourse). That way if we need booze we can use it and if we dont use it we can bring it back declaring at customs of course. Its one bottle per person and I dont think it matters where you buy it.
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Nov 17, 2007
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rommelrommel wrote: There are crossings where it's pretty easy to go to the "other" duty free shop. You're not supposed to (as evidenced by the fact that the OP lied about which way he was crossing) but people do it.

He evaded paying the US taxes/duties on the vodka he bought because he took goods into the US which were "only for export," but if he exports it in the end I know that Canada doesn't care, and I doubt that the US cares much either, although I really can't say.
I hadn't realized that. So are the prices different in these stores? I'm just not clear on why someone would go to the "wrong" Duty Free shop. I was under the impression that the prices are the same in both but of course I could be wrong.
everylittlecent wrote: otherthan the fact this maybe breaking the law youre also paying in US $ as opposed to paying Can $.

When one enters the US you visit the Duty free on the Canadian side and we end up buying stuff there as opposed to buying when returning which is typically a bit busier and we are also tired not to mention the fact that you pay US $ (this was when the US $ was above parity ofcourse). That way if we need booze we can use it and if we dont use it we can bring it back declaring at customs of course. Its one bottle per person and I dont think it matters where you buy it.
You can pay in either currency. They accept both.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2004
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1512 upvotes
rommelrommel wrote: There are crossings where it's pretty easy to go to the "other" duty free shop. You're not supposed to (as evidenced by the fact that the OP lied about which way he was crossing) but people do it.

He evaded paying the US taxes/duties on the vodka he bought because he took goods into the US which were "only for export," but if he exports it in the end I know that Canada doesn't care, and I doubt that the US cares much either, although I really can't say.
Yeah that's pretty much it, thanks. And we aren't drinking it here, we just weren't going to make it on the way home because they close at 7pm and we'll be cutting it close. So we'll still have the alcohol. I guess the biggest issue is people buying it there and taking into the US to drink.

deltone wrote: I hadn't realized that. So are the prices different in these stores? I'm just not clear on why someone would go to the "wrong" Duty Free shop. I was under the impression that the prices are the same in both but of course I could be wrong.




I didnt even see the other one. It's a really small border crossing. Up until recent, they just had a shack for customs. But they built a new building.
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May 28, 2009
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Ottawa
deltone wrote: I hadn't realized that. So are the prices different in these stores? I'm just not clear on why someone would go to the "wrong" Duty Free shop. I was under the impression that the prices are the same in both but of course I could be wrong.
You can pay in either currency. They accept both.
from what I remember there is a small price difference between the 2 stores. with the greenback always higher until recently it was worthwhile to buy while entering the US than the otherway around.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2004
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made it home!
Was at the border for about 20 seconds and let us go.
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Dec 11, 2005
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deltone wrote: I'm going to assume that you entered the one that is for entering the US and you CAN purchase alcohol there and if you stay in the US for over 48 hours, you CAN bring it back into Canada as your allowable amount. I've done it many times. Keep in mind that you cannot then go into the Duty Free shop on the side entering Canada and purchase over and above your allowable amount for returning to Canada (for example, one 24 of beer per person over the age of 19).

There is a lot of BS being posted in this thread... above is the most correct response.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying alcohol at the tax & duty free on the Canadian side, bringing it into the US, and bringing it back in a few days. In fact it is routine for many people who want to buy their favorite Canadian brands at duty-free pricing.

If you are there more than 48 hours, then you are allowed to return with 1.14L per adult duty free. Any amount over this is not "illegal", it is simply taxed and has normal duty applied.

You should report any and all alcohol returning, and they WILL ask you. It is not worth the $20 saved in duty to risk having a black mark on your record for almost a decade AND all the booze confiscated.
To be nobody but yourself - in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. -- E. E. Cummings
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May 28, 2009
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Ottawa
brunes wrote:
There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying alcohol at the tax & duty free on the Canadian side, bringing it into the US, and bringing it back in a few days. In fact it is routine for many people who want to buy their favorite Canadian brands at duty-free pricing.

.
Thats what i wrote in my first response. I always buy it entering the US.

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