Shopping Discussion

Taxation on US -> Canada Border Shopping - A Follow Up

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  • Mar 10th, 2018 12:51 am
[OP]
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May 27, 2008
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Thornhill

Taxation on US -> Canada Border Shopping - A Follow Up

Hi All:

A follow up to an old thread that I started / locked:
Old Thread on Tax for Cross Border Shopping

So long story short, yesterday I manage to go across and get the item, the story unfolded as follow:
The Canadian custom ask me how long have I been gone for, then followed by the amount of item I purchase ($500 USD from getting a mailbox item).
A yellow slip came out and I know I was going inside to pay; after the payment, I look at the receipt, I notice they taxed me $430 CAD and not the converstion of 500 USD.
In my mind... wow that's a bonus cause 500 USD would have been tax on $626 CAD.

The few questions I have are as follow:
1) Does the Canadian custom know how long you were gone for base on their computer record? It doesn't seem like he knows?
2) The taxation agent, do they write down whatever amount they want to charge you on tax or did I just get lucky?

Thanks again
31 replies
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Oct 1, 2011
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I don't know the answer to 1), but for 2) I would believe he gave you a break.

When you went into the building to pay, didn't you have to show your receipt? So someone should have seen the discrepancy.
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May 31, 2008
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1- yes they know
2- you got lucky
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loopholez wrote: 1) Does the Canadian custom know how long you were gone for base on their computer record? It doesn't seem like he knows?
They know. They're seeing if you're going to be honest with them.
2) The taxation agent, do they write down whatever amount they want to charge you on tax or did I just get lucky?
You got lucky. Part of that is because you were honest.
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Aug 2, 2004
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East Gwillimbury
1. When you cross the border, while US customs is looking at your passport, a camera takes a picture of your licence plate and it is time and date stamped. They know how long you were in the US. Never lie.
2. As others have already stated, you got lucky.
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loopholez wrote: 1) Does the Canadian custom know how long you were gone for base on their computer record? It doesn't seem like he knows?
If you are a Canadian citizen entering the USA and returning to Canada on your Canadian passport, CBSA doesn't know how long you've been away for. Entry information collected by the USA on Canadian citizens is not shared with CBSA.

https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/agency-agen ... v-eng.html
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TomLafinsky wrote: I can assure you that the info provided to US agents when driving across the border is shared with its Canadian equivalent. I've always known that. And as a further proof, two years ago I crossed the border for a special reason, let's called it X. When I drove back into Canada, I told the agent it was because of reason X, he then looked at his monitor and said, ' yes reason X that's correct".

As someone else said, asking you how long you've been out of the country is the first question used to evaluate you honesty.
So the CBSA link I posted is wrong?
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Sep 19, 2005
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Kiraly wrote: So the CBSA link I posted is wrong?
Yes, the link you posted is outdated. It was last updated in August, 2016.

While the CBSA is not currently allowed to collect exit information on Canadian travellers, CBSA agents have access to US land border entry records that include the traveller’s name, nationality, date of birth and gender, the country that issued their travel document and the time, date and location of their crossing.
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retrothing wrote: Yes, the link you posted is outdated. It was last updated in August, 2016.

While the CBSA is not currently allowed to collect exit information on Canadian travellers, CBSA agents have access to US land border entry records that include the traveller’s name, nationality, date of birth and gender, the country that issued their travel document and the time, date and location of their crossing.
I'm confused about where the distinction lies between "collect exit information" and "have access to [exit information]." I guess they can't make a copy of it and save it for their records but they can check in real time to see how long you've been gone?
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Its 2018 - your being tracked any which way...questioning that this time of day is just plain absurd

Moral - “Be honest - all will be fine”
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jvnanu wrote: I'm confused about where the distinction lies between "collect exit information" and "have access to [exit information]." I guess they can't make a copy of it and save it for their records but they can check in real time to see how long you've been gone?
CBS agents do not yet have the legal authority to collect routine biographic information on persons leaving Canada (by land, air, marine or rail).

An amendment to the Customs Act has passed second reading in Parliament as Bill C-21 that will give the CBS the authority to collect information on persons leaving by land and air. See https://openparliament.ca/bills/42-1/C-21/ for a summary.
[OP]
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Guys - thank you for all the comment and I appreciate all the feedback too.

Was busy so never had time to check back.

I guess I was lucky this time eh?
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jvnanu wrote: I'm confused about where the distinction lies between "collect exit information" and "have access to [exit information]." I guess they can't make a copy of it and save it for their records but they can check in real time to see how long you've been gone?
You'll notice, for example, when you fly out of YVR, there are no Canadian exit control checkpoints. Unlike some other countries where they track you when you're leaving as well as when you arrive, Canada doesn't really care who's coming or going, as long as they pay any departure taxes. :) This is the collection of exit information.

Now, as for having access to the information...there's nothing wrong with them saying "hey, Mr. American border guard, can you please give me details on anyone who has entered the USA from Canada at the Peace Arch crossing?" or "hey, Mrs. American border guard, thank you very much for delivering me this wonderful collection of information you have gathered from people who entered the USA at the Pre-Clearance points at the airport..."

See the difference now? :)
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Sep 14, 2005
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Happened to me once
Declared 500 USD same day return, the CBSA staff gave me a break at the counter. Only considered it was 500 CAD, she specifically told me she's giving me a break.
Sr. Member
Jul 25, 2015
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The worst is when they charge you tax on the shipping and on top of the US tax.
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Sep 28, 2017
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you are allowed $200 max on a daily trip (under 24hrs) so it sounds like what they did was take the amount you paid MINUS the daily allowance of $200 and taxed that. most people forget you get a break on the first $200 as long as it's within the requirements. and no i'm not talking out of my azz... this is exactly what i was told by cbsa on the canadian side when i was flagged for inspection not long ago. plus i work for a company that does a lot of internal moves for the border services and i've heard that same thing from multiple sources.
no matter where you go, there you are.
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Feb 7, 2017
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peytonpeanut2017 wrote: you are allowed $200 max on a daily trip (under 24hrs) so it sounds like what they did was take the amount you paid MINUS the daily allowance of $200 and taxed that. most people forget you get a break on the first $200 as long as it's within the requirements. and no i'm not talking out of my azz... this is exactly what i was told by cbsa on the canadian side when i was flagged for inspection not long ago. plus i work for a company that does a lot of internal moves for the border services and i've heard that same thing from multiple sources.
WRONG.

Under 24 Hours and one has a $ 0 Personal Exemption *

https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voya ... e-eng.html

24 to 48 Hours you get $ 200 CDN as your Personal Exemption *

48+ Hours you get $ 800 CDN as your Personal Exemption

Seriously man... you need to read up and know The Rules.

* And CBSA does count hours & minutes when they apply the full extent of the Customs Act
Sr. Member
Jul 25, 2015
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TomLafinsky wrote: I would say the worst is when you are caught lying... They are supposed to charge tax on top of US tax and shipping as it becomes part of the cost of the goods brought back into Canada. Overall, I find the Canadian border agents to be very nice. I wish I could say the same about the American border agents...
Well obviously if you lie, then you get whats coming.

I also have the complete opposite experience with US Border agents compared to CBSA. I met a couple nice CBSA guys but most of my interactions with them they appear to be grumpy and only out to collect taxes.
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Feb 7, 2017
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TomLafinsky wrote: Don't you lose your $200 exemption if you are out of the country more than 24 hours but less than 48 hours and you bring back more than $200 taxable?
Yes you do.

If you go over $ 200 Cdn between 24 & 48 Hours, then it is not just the overage you pay taxes & duty on... but the entire amount.
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peytonpeanut2017 wrote: you are allowed $200 max on a daily trip (under 24hrs)
LOL so wrong, you have 0, absolutely 0. I got to NY state 10 minutes to grab a $100 parcel at a warehouse and believe me, when I enter Canada, I pay duties+taxes on it!
Stop posting BS.

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