Canadas customs/duty

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by jerry_pfile|3, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. Hi,

    Could some of forum members from the Great White North, help me out
    a bit.

    Through the LHSA catalog, I have sold (tentavilly I guess) a Leitz
    lens to one of our neighbors to the North.

    The money is on the way he says, but when calling he asked if I
    would identify it only as a "...old photographic lens, with a value
    of only $50-75 USD when shipping. When I noted to him that I didn't
    think I could insure it for the full face value if I under declared
    it, he said not to worry, he'd take the risk.

    Not to sound like a Boy Scout here, but am a little troubled with
    such a risk as I don't want the RCMP headed my way6. Stopped by the
    PO today and explained situation. Besides telling me not to do it,
    they indicated that, if caught, not only is he at risk, but so am I
    equally for fines, etc.

    I decided not to do it, and will declare full sale value for
    insurance purposes, but am curious if others may have had "cross
    border" sales experience, along with just how much Canada would
    charge him on a value of $450 USD?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Yes.

    I sold a Contax Circular Polarizing Filter to a chap up in the upper left hand corner somewhere (in case either gov't is eavesdropping). Asked me to label it "Gift", which I did.

    Took 3 weeks instead of 3 days. Package was delivered, but obviously had been opened and reseald.

    He had already paid me and I called him every other day to see if it arrived. He seemed unconcerned and was happy to receive the filter.

    As to the charge, thing to do is to call Canada Customs or a Customs Broker and ask. I can't imagine it's a whole lotta bucks.

    Bob (One Of Many Bobs)
  3. "just how much Canada would charge him on a value of $450 USD?"

    It depends on where in Canada he is, e.g. if he is in ON, he will be charged 15% (GST: 7% PST: 8%) of $450. Look here for more details (GST is 7%). I think they also charge Can$6 handling fee.
  4. There probably won't be any 'duty' on used photo equipment (I haven't paid any on many purchases from US sellers), but the Canadian purchaser should expect to pay federal sales tax (GST-8%) on the declared value + shipping, and possibly provincial sales tax (PST-depends on province). If the item is sent by UPS, they will charge an exorbitant amount to handle customs and collect sales taxes. Do not ship by UPS to Canada! If it is sent USPS, Canada Post will deliver it and collect $10.00 for their tax collection services. The buyer is trying to dodge the sales taxes.
  5. On the other hand, they charged me on many occations (and didn't on many others). It seems like it depends on the mood of the officer who is sitting there when your item goes through the custom ;-).
  6. Jerry:

    Skip the Boy Scout part - it's simply not worth it to you as a seller - he has everything to gain/save & you have nothing to gain beyond the sale & can only stand to lose.

    As an example - I sold a used Nikkor lens to a guy in Switzerland & I claimed & insured the full amount & on the customs form put $780.USD - the Swiss customs people insisted to him that the lens was worth over 1400. & wanted a lot more for the duties/tax - I emailed him a copy of the receipt stating the sale price & only then did he get his lens without the extra fees. I could have bought a new lens here in the USA for about 950. - Problem is that prices vary wildly around the world.

    I previously considered doing the gift or reduced price aspect for people & after this experience I will not be left holding the bag.

    By the way - it does not matter what any country charges the recipient as it's not your problem. Otherwise let them buy it in their own country - of course for a higher price.
  7. From my own experiences, it's random, but rarely do I have to pay duty. Only twice on
    about 10-15 packages coming from the USA.

    The price you put on the little green custom tag doesn't really matter. I'm sure the officers
    who check the packages know it's always under estimated. I assume they use a generic
    value of the iten and charge 7.5% (fed tax) and 5$ for "handling". (Others mention 8% and
    6$) Then again, it's better to under estimate than the opposite!

    I'm sure they duty charge as many items of great value as possible, a brand new laptop for
    example, but a used lense, your buyer will propably get it "duty free".
  8. Re: The Great White North and customs et al this is the definitive answer. Firstly there is no duty on camera equipment entering from the United States. This is because of NAFTA or the North America Free Trade Agreement. However the commie pinko government here still has to get its pound of flesh. There the logic they apply is that since it is a purchase (even though made in the the US) it is subject to GST (Goods and Services Tax of 7%). Depending on which province you live in there can be additional Provincial sales tax. In Ontario this is 8% and 0% if you live in Alberta. Lastly there is a the matter of processing fee for the aforementioned taxes. Canada Post tacks on an additional $5.00 and if received via UPS of FEDEX they add whatever the feel like for a processing fee. This should put the cap on the whole issue and let us all drink a beer (Canadian of course).
  9. Whenever I take a piece of registered/tracked mail for Canada to the post office, I am told "are you sure that this is what you want? it'll be faster to send as regular mail because it won't be held up by customs".
  10. In my experience, no matter what you decide to do about declared value, make sure the package is clearly labled "used camera lens" again make sure they know it's used this might make a big difference. Then send by U.S. mail don't use any of that UPS stuff as to my knowledge, which is by no means definitive, they always put somekind of fee on things coming in. And if you send it priority mail, Canada Post will deliver it to the door and leave it on the step - which can be un-desirable if you live in the city. Standard mail is the way to go.
  11. I'm a Canadian who has purchased hundreds of pieces of camera gear from the U.S. and many other countries. I've never been charged duty. I live in the Yukon where there is no provincial sales tax. I am always charged 7% Federal Goods and Services Tax, plus a handling fee of $5-$10 by Canada Post.

    Regarding "gifts", there is a very low limit on the tax-free value of goods so designated. I think it's less than $100.

    Insurance is always the problem - if you want it insured for its real value, then you have to pay the tax on the full value. If you're willing to take a chance and the seller is willing to undervalue the item, then you can save money on the GST and PST - as long as Customs doesn't choose to question the declared value. I've usually insured for full value and the few times I haven't, there have never been any questions.

    As for the seller's liability for underdeclaring the value, I find it highly unlikely that anyone would ever bother you. Customs is interested in the importer (who lives in their jurisdiction), not the exporter (who lives in an entirely different jurisdiction). The hassles of prosecuting someone in another country are huge. Not worth it for the average person.

    In other words, if a Canadian asks you to undervalue an item, and he/she is willing to under-insure, then I wouldn't worry about it. Of course, some people are into blindly following the rules, no matter how stupid they may be.

    A caveat though - I have had two expensive items lost between the U.S. and Canada. One was a lens worth US$700 and another was an M6 worth US$1200. The first was insured by Adorama (an empty box arrived) and I eventually got my money back. The M6 was not insured (in spite of my request to do so), and never arrived, and I waited a year (and spent a lot of time at the computer) to recover most of my money from the sender.

    Things DO disappear in the mail. Stangely enough, I've had no problem with shipping from Europe, Asia and Australia. Only the U.S.

    And the exorbitant "handling & brokerage fees" from UPS and FedEx are only applied to "ground" shipping. Don't ship "ground" internationally.
  12. A previous poster suggested that everyone should avoid UPS as they charge exorbitant fees. This is no longer the case !!

    As long as you use Expedited Air or Express Air you will only have to pay your PST and GST.

    If you use UPS ground, this is a different matter.

    I have had lots of heavy and expensive stuff sent up from B&H and have never been dinged with the exorbitant fees. This wasn't the case a couple of years ago ...

    USPS is the cheapest (EMS) but can take between a week and two weeks. UPS is a little pricier but will arrive in two days.

    From a US shippers point of view, I would hope that you'd use a trackable service and that you insure the package. As a Canadian, I wouldn't expect you to under-value the package, it's not the right thing to do. We save enough money buying something south of the border, there's no need to skimp on 15% taxes.

    The other interesting point ... if the package enters Canada in Toronto, I'll have to pay PST and GST (I live in Ontario). If it entered in Vancouver, I just pay GST.

  13. Dirk,

    For the record, Small Packet Airmail worked wonderfully getting 30.5m of film to Canada quickly and inexpensively.

    Thanks; you'll be hearing from me again.
  14. camera lens is free trade under NAFTA agreement.
  15. Its only free if the Canadian chaps think it is. Often usa sellers fail to properly identify whats inside; what country the item was made; what type of item it is; what the items age is. Its Canadian customs that has the set of rules; the giant matrix. NAFTA is for items made in north america; its not a free way for skirting canadian customs. Send the item via ups and item gets to canada; but buyers often get nicked with duties. Send the item via the USPS and the item often goes into a black hole but rarely are their wrong duties applied. Be prepared for the transit time thats suppose to be less than 2 weeks to be say a month or two; or sometimes never. Its like the items drop into the Canadian postal system and the sit on items with no way to track them for weeks on end. Thus UPS often gets Canadian buyers ticked off duties; USPS gets folks ticked off by all this waiting on hockey season or fishing; or the postal chaps are using the items for a month. For Canadian shipments we mostly use USPS and DOUBLE or TRIPLE the transit times to ward off a zillion emails about where is my package. Its a mess; one sale will involve more emails than 100 USA sales. Here I have had properly marked USPS packages to have duty added for photographic items to Canada sometimes; one can then get blasted with a neutral or negative. Canadians should consult their own customs system for rules; the USPS is not the tax chaps. One can take the same item to the USPS and they will always be changing what customs form is required; they dont always know what they are doing; sometimes they remove proper forms. Just using the term "gift" on a customs form means one is a party to tax evasion; and you assume all the risk.
  16. When I buy good from US, I always refuse to accept anything shipped by
    UPS, they charge horrendous "brokerage fee". UPS is good, Canada Post handles the brokerage, and charge minium fee. UPS can be tracked
    as well.
  17. Martin,

    Don't you mean that USPS is good?

    I have had good luck sending items to Canada via USPS. I have also had good luck sending to about 20 different countries. It has been both reliable and timely.
  18. Marc, sorry, typo <P>
    USPS is good ya !<P>
    When I buy from US I always specify: No UPS, NO FEDEX, NO DHL <p>

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