Shopping Discussion

Have you ever had to pay taxes at the border?

  • Last Updated:
  • Mar 8th, 2012 1:40 am
[OP]
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Mar 12, 2005
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CSK'sMom wrote: If you lie and get caught several things can happen. From a warning and paying to confiscating the goods to taking the vehicle. It's just not worth it. If paying the Canadian taxes due make it a cold deal you shouldn't have bought the item(s) IMO. ;)

brunes, you'll be happy to know we got pulled last week on a measly $200US with 4 of us. The $400 in groceries don't count. :cheesygri First time since Black Friday. A young buck BSO who was literally pulling everyone. The car behind us got pulled for $35 with 2 of them! The guys at secondary were just shaking their heads and called a supervisor out who went over to his booth as we were leaving.
oh..i had no idea that groceries don't count towards the exemption! sweet! we always stop by the walmart supercenter and pick up some food. are there any exceptions as to what type of groceries cannot be brought back in?
[OP]
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Mar 12, 2005
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Hunter316 wrote: We go down every couple of months and will sometimes spend over $1000 in a day. We always add all the items together for one total including food. As soon as we tell the BSO the full total they always ask us what we bought and when they hear food in amongst the other items they usually send us on our way. We have only been asked to go in once that I remember and that was when one item was over $500 so we expected it.
this is good to know! thanks!
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Jul 10, 2003
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sumrandomguy wrote: oh..i had no idea that groceries don't count towards the exemption! sweet! we always stop by the walmart supercenter and pick up some food. are there any exceptions as to what type of groceries cannot be brought back in?
Pretty much anything that is produced in the United States. There are some limits though, which are listed here. The limits are so high that most people wouldn't exceed them.
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Oct 26, 2008
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LNahid2000 wrote: The limits are so high that most people wouldn't exceed them.
I find it easy to go over $20 on cheese and butter!

There are set limits on the quantity and/or dollar value of certain food products you can bring into Canada duty-free or that you can include in your personal exemption.
If you exceed your personal exemption limits, you will have to pay duty based on a rate ranging from 150% to 300% of the value of the goods.


My interpretation is that foodstuffs that you bought for your next meal or so back home don't count,
but anything more than that you declare as part of your personal exemption.

If your length of stay hasn't qualified you for an exemption, then you are pushing your luck.
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Oct 27, 2004
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macnut wrote: I find it easy to go over $20 on cheese and butter!
LOL! I don't know why, but this almost made me spit water all over the screen!

From my experience (and a personal tutorial from a border agent who wanted to go on coffee break) answer their questions truthfully, and with a yes or no answer where applicable. Don't provide extra information, 'cause they'll just think that you're nervous. Keep it easy for them, it'll be easy for you.

I have declared over my personal limit with alcohol several times, and never been called in to pay. Lucky? Maybe.

Probably not worth their time and effort for a few dollars more likely.
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Aug 22, 2003
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Usually the only food limit they enforce is turkeys and only at Thanksgiving. We routinely buy a minimum of 6 gallons of milk at a time, cheese, yogurts, cream cheese, etc and have never, ever been asked anything regarding dairy limits or been charged duties on any food products. We, like dirkpitt, also routinely declare beer bought with the groceries on an hr trip over. 30 beers and under they have never bothered us, over 30 beers and it's iffy. We've been pulled over to pay some times and other times waved through...
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For beer, are they the same bottles as the ones in Ontario? Would it be possible to get 10 cents at the Beer Store for them?
:lol:
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Feb 26, 2003
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Tahsis
The dairy limits are enforced at the crossings in the GVA somewhat regularily.
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Hairball wrote: For beer, are they the same bottles as the ones in Ontario? Would it be possible to get 10 cents at the Beer Store for them?
We take them back to the US. We pay a bottle/can (pop too) deposit on them there so we get it back there for use instantly in the grocery store.
Thinking seriously about the 4 S's...Sun, Sand, Surf and ... Booked for Sept in Mexico and booked Samana DR for Jan!
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Sep 17, 2003
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At 10am, there was a huge line to the border on last weekend but since we had the nexus card the line is very smooth. We just went to ferndale for grocery shopping at Haggen & Wallgreen. Milk was only $2 / gallon, egg $.88 / dozen. gas is $3 / gallon.

after 2 hours with $50, sometimes $100 if going to costco, no tax need to pay.
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Dec 30, 2005
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hulkmania wrote: At 10am, there was a huge line to the border on last weekend but since we had the nexus card the line is very smooth. We just went to ferndale for grocery shopping at Haggen & Wallgreen. Milk was only $2 / gallon, egg $.88 / dozen. gas is $3 / gallon.

after 2 hours with $50, sometimes $100 if going to costco, no tax need to pay.
Did you cross back using the regular lines? Or did you come back using Nexus?
Banned
Feb 25, 2010
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Went shopping last week, bought $500 between the girlfriend and I, and picked up roller-blades we had ordered prior. Went to the boarder with all the receipts.
He firstly asked me if I went shopping.. I sold yes, we bought $538.76 worth of stuff and had receipts in my hand.
He asked me what we do? I said we're both students.
He then said, okay, have a nice day!

Paid nothing. lol
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Nov 18, 2005
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Just crossed the border yesterday at Lewiston (Niagara Falls) and returned a few hours later. Brought back a $300 kitchen sink (actually made in Canada but WAY cheaper in the US) and $150 of clothes.

Had to pay PST and GST on the lot but didn't have to pay duty on the clothes (would have been 18% according to the chart above which is very handy).
Newbie
May 30, 2006
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no exemption if you leave country for under 24 hours
$50 exemption per person if you stay outside Canada between 24 to 48 hours
$400 exemption per person if stay outside Canada more than 48 hours

Duty charges is depend on where the item is made, and Tax is basically PST + GST.

I have paid taxes at the border in Jan this year, I went to Seattle's Premium Outlet and got myself a nice Sony TV and paid both the duty and taxes on the TV I brought back. I am still happy since Sony Canada is not selling that TV anywhere, you can only get it in States. In my personal opinion, I don't suggest to lie to custom as well, just be honest and upfront, I have seen BSO pull of an old lady and taking every parts off of her car and and she can only sit there and watch. So I always declare everything I bought.

Hope this helps

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