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"Canadian Customs Trigger Level?" Topic

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Panfilov15 May 2013 11:47 p.m. PST

So, could someone PLEASE clarify what the actuall US$ level is to (Potentially) trigger a look by Canadian customs at small packages moving from the US?

Before the receont postal rate increase, I was doing at least One sale a week to Canada. mostly little suff (Less than $10 USD), but last week I did a combined shipment of $30 USD; SHould I have left that one as two separate packages?

I do like the new on line postal customs form, no more multiple carbons. But I wish there was an "Under $10 USD" or something exemption for the nickel and dime sales on ebay, you almost have to use a 7x5 box or padded mailer so there is room for the customs form.

Personal logo Doms Decals Sponsoring Member of TMP16 May 2013 1:42 a.m. PST

The Threshhold's $20.00 USD CDN, so no, I'd not have combined into a $30 USD package.

(Section 2.2.2)

Rorschach16 May 2013 7:43 a.m. PST

The $20 USD threshold is for customs, duties and taxes.

According to that same document at the Canada Post website;
"CBSA officers may open and inspect all incoming mail, except letters weighing less than 30 g, without permission from either the sender or the addressee."

So there is no dollar value. ANY package can trigger a look from the customs agents on a whim.

Also, keep in mind if you are splitting it to keep the value low;
"The CBSA does not consider items to be of low value in cases where a single transaction is split into smaller shipments to keep the value below $20 USDCDN."

It's obviously harder for them to catch, but if they do they will ding it with taxes and duty fees.

Personal logo optional field Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2013 8:29 a.m. PST

I would have thought NAFTA would have eliminated customs on packages to Canada. I'm just curious, but how exactly is this legally justified in light of that?

Personal logo Doms Decals Sponsoring Member of TMP16 May 2013 8:50 a.m. PST

It's sales tax (which applies to both domestic and imported goods), not customs duty (which is exclusively levied on imports) so nothing to do with NAFTA, which removes the latter. If you have a sales tax and don't charge it on imports, you're effectively penalising local production over imports (precisely why most US states are trying to get sales tax applied on out of state purchases) so in theory charging it on imports is simply levelling the playing field, not penalising imports.

In practice it tends to be a bit of a ballache, since the cost of collecting the tax outweighs the tax itself on low value consignments, so it's something of a barrier to trade at the retail level…. (VAT on imports into the EU has exactly the same issue if you're spending a few hundred the admin charge is insignificant, but it makes you think twice before spending a few tens of pounds / Euros; you either want to stay under the threshold, or go over it massively….)

TodCreasey Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2013 9:38 a.m. PST

Truth be told it is totally random, sometime they don't bother with packages that should be and sometimes they ding you for ones that should be exempt.

I would not split as the higher postage will offset fees in most cases.

Personal logo optional field Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2013 12:27 p.m. PST

It seems, for those who buy enough imported models, a US Post Office Box in a town along the border could be a worthwhile investment…

PJ Parent16 May 2013 3:04 p.m. PST

or this link just across the border from where I am

PJ Parent16 May 2013 3:04 p.m. PST

Sorry – its a UPS store that will recieve packages for you.

boy wundyr x16 May 2013 6:27 p.m. PST

I agree with Tod. I order a lot from the US and a fair bit from the UK. I think I've only had one shipment from the UK ever get hit by customs, and my UK orders are often $100 USD-350 (thanks Dom, Brigade UK, GZG, Irregular). Even shipments from the US aren't hit that often, and most of mine are $50 USD-100.

I've probably now jinxed myself though.

Panfilov17 May 2013 9:11 a.m. PST

Thanks Dom and Others; It must have gone through OK, Positive Feedback posted last night…

And I have not even refunded his overpayment on Postage.

(This afternoon, OK?)

wrgmr117 May 2013 8:22 p.m. PST

I found that anything under $75.00 USD usually goes through no problem. Over that and it is a hit or miss.

Henry Martini23 Jul 2013 9:43 p.m. PST

Gloat: $1,000 USD threshold here in Oz.

Henry Martini23 Jul 2013 9:44 p.m. PST

Ignore the automated insert; that's AUS$1000.

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