Shopping Discussion

Crossing the border to buy a TV?

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  • May 14th, 2019 5:22 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
Jan 11, 2019
72 posts
16 upvotes

Crossing the border to buy a TV?

I'm looking for a 65-75'' inch TV at a good price, and there seems to more deals in the US side.

Since I live near Ottawa, close to the border, what are the complications of crossing the border to buy a TV? What taxes, customs fees (?), etc. would apply?

Say I'm looking at a TV with a 1000$ USD price tag at Costco. What will I end up paying for it, all costs considered?

Appreciate your help.
27 replies
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
27311 posts
13001 upvotes
Taxes. No duty on electronics.

Other than that, there aren't any complications.
Someone's gonna mention warranty, but unless OP gets banned for life from crossing into the US it's also a non issue.
Take it down next time you go, warranty it, pick it up the next next time.
Member
Mar 20, 2011
301 posts
211 upvotes
Langley, BC
You could also consider turning it into a short vacation. Me and my wife used some hotel points and stayed for a couple nights in the US, and brought our current TV back with us after buying it in the States. Didn't have to pay any duty.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
15662 posts
16816 upvotes
Oakville
death_hawk wrote: Taxes. No duty on electronics.

Other than that, there aren't any complications.
Someone's gonna mention warranty, but unless OP gets banned for life from crossing into the US it's also a non issue.
Take it down next time you go, warranty it, pick it up the next next time.
No duty on electronics? I thought there was only no duty if made in North America? Many TVs are made in Mexico, so you should be ok if from there.
Deal Addict
Dec 16, 2017
2541 posts
1037 upvotes
CND Brain & Hear…
many times, CBSA won't enforce duty and taxes given you properly declare what you've purchases and your total come to < $800 CAD on non-alcohol and tobacco LOL
Give me a J. I'm a maniac and an African expert.
Deal Fanatic
Oct 26, 2008
6361 posts
2009 upvotes
BC
dekvitaly wrote: many times, CBSA won't enforce duty and taxes given you properly declare what you've purchases and your total come to < $800 CAD on non-alcohol and tobacco LOL
That is only because they don't have the resources nor the physical space inside to collect the amounts due from everyone.

If you go through a smaller less busy portal you can more or less guarantee that you will be paying up.

Larger busier entry points - best to assume you will be directed inside to pay and just be happy when you don't.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
15475 posts
12670 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
macnut wrote: That is only because they don't have the resources nor the physical space inside to collect the amounts due from everyone.

If you go through a smaller less busy portal you can more or less guarantee that you will be paying up.

Larger busier entry points - best to assume you will be directed inside to pay and just be happy when you don't.
100% This

If one is out of Country, less than 48 Hours
It means that there is no $ 800 CANADIAN Personal Exemption *

So if you make a big purchase like a Tv
Then you can expect to pay Taxes, Duties & Tarriffs applicable on whatever the item is (and where it’s made) ... as well as it’s worth

* NOTE - the 24 Hour Personal Exemption is $ 200 CANADIAN
If you spend more than that ... then that $ 200 Exemption disappears
And you pay on the WHOLE AMOUNT

Same as if you cross over and come back the same day (less than 24 Hours)
When there is $ 0 CANADIAN Personal Exemption

If you are out 48 or more hours
And spend more than $ 800 CANADIAN then only the Taxes, Duties & Tarriffs are applicable on the overage

RE - CBSA Declaration is in CANADIAN DOLLARS
Based at the current days rate of exchange
And the total must include everything all in... including any US Taxes Paid, Shipping Fees etc

So based on today’s exchange rate
$ 1 US = $ 1.34 Cdn
So, $ 800 Cdn = $ 596.28 US with Taxes & Fees

$ 600 isn’t oodles of Tv in my experience
So you probably are going to pay no matter what
(Also note that Personal Exemptions are not combinable, they are Personal... although at most land crossings the CBSA Agent will just be ok with one declaration per family / car. Still though, if any ONE person spent more than $ 800 CANADIAN they should be prepared for the fact that the Customs Act MAY BE applied to the letter of the law)
Sr. Member
Oct 22, 2016
631 posts
537 upvotes
Comox Valley
I am in the habit of going down for a day, every 3 weeks from Vancouver area. Regardless of the personal exemptions been 0 for that time period, in my experience they do not send me in to pay taxes if it is below $300. I will turn of my vehicle in talking to the agent, have all my receipts in an envelope, and discuss what I brought.
Most of where I come across is the truck crossing.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
27311 posts
13001 upvotes
engineered wrote: No duty on electronics? I thought there was only no duty if made in North America? Many TVs are made in Mexico, so you should be ok if from there.
Double check if you want to be certain, but I'm fairly sure that all electronics regardless of origin have zero duty.
It was true a bunch of years ago and I don't think anything has changed.
Member
User avatar
Aug 5, 2005
457 posts
242 upvotes
Lets say something goes bad with it, curious what would you do if you need to have it repair?
If they thumb you down I will up it just because
Deal Addict
Dec 16, 2017
2541 posts
1037 upvotes
CND Brain & Hear…
User452441 wrote: Most of where I come across is the truck crossing.
Pac Hwy? or Lynde? I generally found Lynden ppl somewhat more relaxed LOL.
Give me a J. I'm a maniac and an African expert.
Sr. Member
Oct 22, 2016
631 posts
537 upvotes
Comox Valley
dekvitaly wrote: Pac Hwy? or Lynde? I generally found Lynden ppl somewhat more relaxed LOL.
Pac Hwy. reason for that is using mailbox service in Blaine. Although I did do Lynden one time, coming back with a large $ amount, and he advise me if I knew the rules, I said yes and he just said go, so no duty had to be paid.

Going into the USA, always prefer Lynden, however it is out of the way for me.
Deal Addict
Apr 10, 2009
2009 posts
1370 upvotes
Hamilton
I've personally found that TVs are priced just good enough to buy here.

Saw a TV in the US for $299 in the US. With state tax and 35% exchange it's over $400 US. Same TV is $449 at BB. Savings were just under $100. No ECO fee in Ontario helps.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
27311 posts
13001 upvotes
$n00ker wrote: Lets say something goes bad with it, curious what would you do if you need to have it repair?
-Get it to the US somehow. This is either shoving it in the car and bringing it yourself or using one of those 4th party Canada->US->US Courier companies.
-Get it to the repair depot/store assuming it's within their return policy.
-Wait (if applicable) for a replacement. Probably back at home since this may be a while if it's shipped.
-Go back to the US with documentation stating that you've already paid taxes on the item. If you don't have documentation, visit Customs in Canada before leaving the country to get documentation.
-Pick up the replacement TV you had shipped to (probably) a package receiving place.
-Cram into car.
-Pick up other packages/groceries/gas/etc.
-Drive back to Canada. Present paperwork stating it's a warranty replacement. Pay taxes on everything but the TV (if applicable)
-Go home.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
15475 posts
12670 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
death_hawk wrote: -Get it to the US somehow. This is either shoving it in the car and bringing it yourself or using one of those 4th party Canada->US->US Courier companies.
-Get it to the repair depot/store assuming it's within their return policy.
-Wait (if applicable) for a replacement. Probably back at home since this may be a while if it's shipped.
-Go back to the US with documentation stating that you've already paid taxes on the item. If you don't have documentation, visit Customs in Canada before leaving the country to get documentation.
-Pick up the replacement TV you had shipped to (probably) a package receiving place.
-Cram into car.
-Pick up other packages/groceries/gas/etc.
-Drive back to Canada. Present paperwork stating it's a warranty replacement. Pay taxes on everything but the TV (if applicable)
-Go home.
YES... kind of

These fall under goods being TEMPORARILY EXPORTED OUT OF CANADA, AND THEN RETURNING

https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publication ... 7-eng.html

The IMPORTANT part here is to fill out the proper paperwork with Canada Customs ... BEFORE you leave the country with the tv

Afterwards can be pretty useless in the big scheme of things

For more info, see Section 4
Member
Mar 20, 2009
215 posts
301 upvotes
Out of curiosity,

Do we have to declare gift cards purchases from the usa ?

Do I need to pay taxes?

thank you.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 21, 2010
5483 posts
2290 upvotes
Toronto
mathbes wrote: Out of curiosity,

Do we have to declare gift cards purchases from the usa ?

Do I need to pay taxes?

thank you.
I don't think so, the same way that you don't pay taxes on gift cards when you buy them in Canada. The gift card is not a product, it is a store of value to allow you to purchase a product in the future, at which point that purchase will be taxed. Otherwise let's say you bought a $100 gift card from Amazon.com, brought it back to Canada, paid taxes on it, redeemed it online, bought items from Amazon.com... you would have to pay taxes on those items when they arrive in Canada, so it makes no sense for you to pay double taxes on both the gift card and the items you buy with them.

If you exchanged CAD for USD while over there, and you bring the excess USD back, that's not taxable - same kind of argument. It isn't a product.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 28, 2013
1316 posts
909 upvotes
Orleans, ON
Generally you simply pay the 13% Ontario tax when crossing the border. I've crossed in Ogdesnburgh and Massena at least a dozen times over the last 2 years, and that's always been the case for me anyways.


As for whether it's worth it for a TV.... lets use a Vizio 65" M-series (great mid-level TV) from Costco for an example... (prices taken from Costco .CA and .COM)

USA: $789.99 + 8% tax = $853.19 (~1146 CAD)
$1146 CAD + Ontario sales tax (13%) = $1295 CAD all-in

CAN: $999.99 + 13% = $1130 CAD all-in

Unless you're getting a TV that is hard to find in Canada, or a store-closing type sale, I don't think it's usually worth it to go to the USA for a TV.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
15475 posts
12670 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
Manatus wrote: I don't think so, the same way that you don't pay taxes on gift cards when you buy them in Canada. The gift card is not a product, it is a store of value to allow you to purchase a product in the future, at which point that purchase will be taxed. Otherwise let's say you bought a $100 gift card from Amazon.com, brought it back to Canada, paid taxes on it, redeemed it online, bought items from Amazon.com... you would have to pay taxes on those items when they arrive in Canada, so it makes no sense for you to pay double taxes on both the gift card and the items you buy with them.

If you exchanged CAD for USD while over there, and you bring the excess USD back, that's not taxable - same kind of argument. It isn't a product.
As per the Customs Act ANYTHING you acquire while outside of Canada MUST BE DECLARED

Be it something you bought, got for free, or swapped for

So yes, Gift Cards should be declared

(This is part of the reason so many US Companies don’t ship GCs to Canada ... Although many of these same Cos welcome Cdns to shop in their stores, or buy from them online)

Like anything else you acquire... got or bought... you make your CBSA Customs Declaration
And then it’s up to Customs to determine how to process that item

In the case of GCs, here is how they are viewed by CBSA
https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publication ... 3-eng.html

See Section 4

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