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Hey Guys,

I know a lot of us me included do a lot of trading and selling of gear. I know most have imported a guitar from the states but has anyone done a trade with someone from the USA? Did you still have to pay the tax man because it was coming across or is there a form or work around to avoid it because you are “exchanging goods.” Not looking for a way to cheat the system just looking for information.

Thanks.
 

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When I lived in the US and I bought Christmas gifts for my family and sent them to Canada I had to declare a value just like a retailer would be required to do. I imagine that gift, trade or whatever would tend to be treated similarly to purchases. Maybe you get dinged, maybe you don't, the chances of getting dinged increasing as the value declared increases.
 

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As long as they're products that are made in north America you should be fine if you fill out of the NAFTA paperwork..... well until trump scraps it at least.
 

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I've done it in the past and did have to pay taxes on the value of the guitar as declared on the insurance form during shipping. NAFTA means you won't have to pay duties on items made in North America, but you still have to pay provincial/federal taxes on anything over 20$ in value. However, it does happen that the item isn't "screened" at customs and you may end up not being charged taxes if your lucky.

In addition, please note that you will have to fill and complete CITES paperwork if the guitar contains rosewood and you ship it instead of crossing the border with the instrument yourself. This applies both ways; so the guy you're exchanging the guitar with will have to do the same on his side for the guitar being sent to you.
 

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A similar topic came up a couple of years ago. Here's my reply from August 2016, which relates to personally bringing the guitar(s) over the border, as opposed to having them shipped:
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I had a very similar situation a couple of years ago when I took a Heritage (U.S. made) guitar from Ontario into Michigan and traded it for another Heritage, then returned to Ontario the same day. It wasn't to be an even trade....I was going to receive $200 USD as well as the guitar in the deal.
On the way to Michigan, I stopped in at the Sarnia/Port Huron Canada Customs building, in order to determine what the HST situation would be when I returned later that day. I knew that no duty would be payable on U.S. made goods so that wasn't a concern. However, the guitar I was bringing back was worth well over $2K CAD at the time, so paying or not paying 13% HST was indeed an issue I wanted resolved.
Spoke to an old battle-axe lady agent there who insisted I would need to pay HST on the value of goods I was bringing into Canada, regardless of what I took over with me, and regardless of whether I made a trade or not. It also didn't matter to her that I was dealing with a private individual, not a store. Pay HST on the value of goods coming in, that's all she could say. And she did, several times.
On my way out of the customs building, one of the younger agents, who had heard the conversation, pulled me aside and said this: Everything is up to the discretion of the agent at the border crossing into Canada. Fully document your transaction(s), and tell the truth about what you're doing.

I took this advice, and on the way back into Ontario later that day, lucked into a very pleasant young lady agent at the border who listened intently to my story, looked at the bill of sale the seller had written at my request (which showed the trade and balance due to me), and just waved me through.
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A gift is only tax free if it is less than 20 CDN
 
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