Canada Customs and Duty-Free Information
Canada Customs and Duty-Free Information
If you're like most people, you like to go shopping when you are travelling. But remember: when you bring goods across the border, there are rules to follow -- and usually duty to pay.
If you're a Canadian resident, you're eligible for a personal exemption, which allows you to bring a certain amount of goods into the country without paying any duty.
Personal exemptions are based on the amount of time you've spent outside Canada. These exemptions apply if: you are a Canadian resident returning from a trip abroad; a former resident of Canada returning to live in this country; or a temporary resident of Canada.
For a minimum absence of 24 hours you can claim goods worth up to $50 Canadian (excluding alcohol and tobacco). For 48 hours, it's $200. And for seven days, it's $750. Children and infants are also eligible for personal exemptions; parents or guardians can make the declaration on behalf of the child, as long as the item is for the child's use.
Except for certain restricted items (such as firearms and explosives) you can bring back any amount of goods. But if the amount is more than that of your personal exemption, you'll have to pay duty and any provincial or territorial assessments that apply. And if you don't qualify for a personal exemption, you'll have to pay duty on the entire amount of the goods you bring in.
* Make sure you take into account the foreign currency rates when calculating the amount of your goods.
* You can't combine your exemption amount with another person's or transfer your amount to someone else.
* Generally, your goods must be for personal or household use, gifts or souvenirs. Goods brought in for commercial use or on behalf of another person are subject to full duties.
* Smuggling is an offence that can result in severe penalties and prosecution.
Alcohol and tobacco
There are some special restrictions on tobacco and alcohol. These two goods can be included in your 48-hour or seven-day exemption amount, but not in your 24-hour amount. If you do have these goods, they must accompany you in your hand or checked luggage (i.e. they can't precede or follow you by mail or other means).
Here are Revenue Canada's conditions on tobacco:
If you meet the age requirements set by the province or territory where you enter Canada (in Ontario it's 19), you may bring in:
• up to 200 cigarettes
• 50 cigars or cigarillos
• 400 tobacco sticks
• 400 grams of manufactured tobacco.
If you bring in more than the free allowance, you will have to pay the duties that apply. In some cases, provincial or territorial limits and assessments may also apply.
Revenue Canada's conditions on alcohol
If you meet the age requirements set by the province or territory where you enter Canada (in Ontario it's 19), you can include:
• up to 1.5 litres of wine or 1.14 litres of liquor, or 24 355-ml (12-ounce) cans or bottles (8.5 litres total) of beer or ale.
You may bring in more than the free allowance of alcohol, except in the Northwest Territories. However, the quantities have to be within the limit the province or territory sets and, in most cases, you have to bring the alcoholic beverage with you.
If you bring in more than the free allowance, the cost may be high, since you will have to pay both customs and provincial or territorial assessments. For more information, check with the appropriate provincial or territorial liquor control authority before you leave Canada.
When you return to Canada, you must declare the goods you are bringing back as purchases, gifts, awards or prizes. Don't forget to include any items you bought at the duty-free shop.
If you are arriving in Canada by plane, you will be given a traveller declaration card to fill out. This helps speed up the customs process. Make sure you and any children travelling with you have proper identification, as well as any documents required by the country you visited.
You can pay by cash, traveller's cheques, VISA or MasterCard. Sometimes you can use personal cheques if the amount is less than $2,500.
The source of this information is Revenue Canada's publication "I Declare." For more information on customs and duties, you can find this document at Revenue Canada's website.
By the way...
If you're not a resident of Canada, you may be eligible for tax rebates.
Call or visit your nearest Revenue Canada office
General inquiries: (416) 973-8022, (416) 676-3643 (weekends and holidays)