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Taxes at canadian border

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Taxes at canadian border

I will be staying in Windsor at Beginning of December with my daughter who lives there. I want to go over into Detroit to do some Xmas shopping, will I have to pay tax on my shopping when we pass back through the canadian border

1. Re: Taxes at canadian border

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Removed on: 22 November 2011, 20:39
Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Taxes at canadian border

Matt ~ I bow in awe at the expertise you share on many forums.

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3. Re: Taxes at canadian border

If your first port of call to North America is Canada, you are deemed "Canadian Resident" for tax exemption purpose if you go shopping in the US, subject to the same 24/48 hrs and 7 day limits as Canadian residents.

In recent years, they haven't been too keen on collecting taxes for cross border shopping trips. We always declared a few hundred $ per person (no alcohol/tobacco) on same day trips and were always waved through.

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4. Re: Taxes at canadian border

We just went down to Watertown in NY State on Saturday. Spent $340 on various items [no alcohol or cigarettes], were only gone for about 5 hours. Got back to the border and it always seem to be hit and miss as to what questions they may ask. If you happen to go to a store like Walmart where they have both groceries and clothing etc. then you should keep the groceries you purchase separate from any other purchases. There are no taxes on food items etc. but they always check my receipt to see if you are trying to claim a non food item among all the others.

Either way we didn't have to pay any taxes coming back. In the last couple of years we have also taken my mum across who was visiting from the UK and never had any issues with her buying items. Though crossing the border into the US she was fingerprinted etc. which resulted in a half hour delay while she was process. This is standard at the border crossings.

But you shouldn't have many problems coming back into Canada. Just be honest with what you have purchased when talking to the Border control and have all your receipts handy


Ottawa, Canada
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5. Re: Taxes at canadian border

Hi Pat-Snelgrove,


And I see that you are Brand NEW to the TA FORUMS... so a BIG Welcome Aboard as well !!

My colleagues make some good points... let me add some more...

As a Citizen of the UK you will have to be processed for an I-94W when you cross by land into the USA... this is what LUCYWESTIE has referred to when mentioning the finger-printing. You will have to fill out a form, be photographed and finger-printed and pay a fee (think it is still aprox $ 6 US)... you'll do it at the Customs Office (Secondary Inspection) and the process usually takes about 30 Minutes.

Can't speak directly to bringing back goods into Canada as a Non-Canadian Visitor... but I do know that it is very important to keep your receipts, and to be very honest with the Canadian Border Agents when you cross back into Canada. As stated by LUCYWESTIE they are usually more forgiving (in regards to taxes due for Canadians anyways) when one is prepared & 100% honest.

Example, in LUCYWESTIE's case above... at least herself as a Canadian Resident was not truly entitled to bring anything back into Canada DUTY FREE from the USA having been out of the country UNDER 24 Hours... (DUTY FREE Allowances = $ 50 CDN each after 24 Hours (NO Alcohol or Tobacco) ... OR $ 400 CDN after 48 Hours*... OR $ 750 CDN after 7 Days)... so being able to come back with $ 340 in goods, and not having to make a Written Declaration or pay any taxes was very generous of the Border Guard she encountered (as with ALL things at the Border... individual Agents can make their own calls on each situation).

For more info suggest that both you and your daughter consult the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) Website… one section pertains to Canadian Residents (and in particular the “I Declare” article)… and another to Visitors to Canada

CBSA = http://www.cbsa.gc.ca/menu-eng.html

*NOTE - By far the best deal going when planning to shop in the USA is the DUTY FREE Allowance of $ 400 CDN given after being out country for 48 Hours.



PS… Also be sure and hand in your I-94W Visa Waiver when you return to Canada… as it is proof to the US Customs & Immigration folks that you have left the country (Very Important if you ever plan to visit the USA again in the future)

Edited: 22 November 2011, 17:28
Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: Taxes at canadian border

Thanks Mufti, except ironically my post above wasn't quite right so I've now pulled it. :)

We get this question often enough, and I couldn't stand the mystery any longer, so I called the Border Information line (800-461-9999, from abroad call +1-204-983-3500). After listening to a rather absurd recording of half a dozen toll free numbers you might rather call ("Renseignements en francais? Appuyez le ... . Calling about a missing package? Call Canada Post at ... . Reporting a border incident? Call ... ."), I was able to press 0 to speak to an agent.

Bibimbob's got it mostly right -- a UK visitor to Canada making a side-trip to the US is subject to tax and duty on US purchases they bring into Canada. However, if their purchases are being taken back to the UK, they can visit the customs desk at their departure airport to obtain "proof of export". With that, they can then apply for a refund of Canadian duties and taxes paid on the goods that did not remain in Canada. (And in practice, I agree there's a good chance border guards wouldn't bother with any of this on smaller amounts -- but that's at their sole discretion, and one should always expect to pay.)

Edited: 22 November 2011, 20:40
7. Re: Taxes at canadian border

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