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This question was raised that we as Canadians do not have to pay duty on U.S. goods because of the Free Trade Agreement know the facts before you have anything shipped in from the U.S.
Fact Sheet
This document is also available in PDF (79 Kb)
May 2006

Visiting friends or relatives outside Canada? Proper planning can help ensure you have a worry-free cross-border trip. Whether you've been gone for only a few hours, or for several days, returning to Canada means a stop at a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) office. Here are a few tips to get you on your way.

Bring Identification
Make sure you carry the proper identification for yourself and any children travelling with you, including any documents the country you intend to visit requires, such as passports, birth certificates, and visas. Proper identification includes birth certificates, baptismal certificates, passports, citizenship cards, records of landing, permanent resident cards and certificates of Indian status. These will help prove your citizenship and residency when you return to Canada.

Travelling with Children
Our officers watch for missing children and may ask detailed questions about the children who are travelling with you. If you have legal custody of the child(ren) or if you share custody, have copies of relevant legal documents, such as custody rights. If you are not the custodial parent or not the parent or legal guardian of the child(ren), carry a letter of permission or authorization for you to have custody when entering Canada. A letter would also facilitate entry for any one parent travelling with their child(ren). This permission should contain contact telephone numbers for the parent or legal guardian. If you are travelling as part of a group of vehicles, be sure that you are in the same vehicle as your child(ren) when you arrive at the border.

Check Border Wait Times
Check our border wait times () for the latest waiting time of the border crossing along your route. Border wait times are updated every hour.

What can I bring back with me?
When you return to Canada, you may qualify for a personal exemption. Personal exemptions allow you to bring goods of a certain value into the country without paying the regular duties. If you have been outside Canada for:

24 hours or more, you can bring in CAN$50 worth of goods free of duty and tax;
48 hours or more, you can bring in CAN$200 worth of goods free of duty and tax;
7 days or more, you can bring in CAN$750 worth of goods free of duty and tax.
Alcohol and Tobacco - Restrictions apply to the amount of alcohol and tobacco you can bring into Canada under your exemption. If you have been outside Canada for at least 48 hours and are of legal age, you can bring in these amounts of alcohol and tobacco products free of duty and tax as part of your personal exemption:

Alcoholic beverages:

1.14 L (40 oz.) of liquor; or
1.5 L of wine; or
24 X 355 ml (12 oz.) containers of beer.
Tobacco products (all of the following):

200 cigarettes;
50 cigars or cigarillos;
200 tobacco sticks; and
200 g (7 oz.) of manufactured tobacco.
If you bring in more than the free allowance of alcohol or tobacco, you will be required to pay the applicable duties and taxes.

As of October 1, 2001, if you include cigarettes, tobacco sticks, or loose tobacco in your personal exemption allowance, only a partial exemption will apply. You will have to pay a minimum duty on these products unless they are marked "CANADA - DUTY PAID - DROIT ACQUITTÉ." You will find Canadian-made products sold at a duty-free shop marked this way. You can speed up your clearance by having your tobacco products available for inspection when you arrive.

What if I want to bring back more alcohol and tobacco?
Except for restricted items, you can bring back any amount of goods as long as you are willing to pay the duties and any provincial and territorial assessments that may apply.

Restricted items / Prohibited Items
Handguns and weapons like mace and pepper spray are prohibited from entering Canada. Also, some fruits, vegetables, meats and plants from other countries cannot be brought into Canada. Review our travellers’ frequently asked questions for more information.

What if I'm away for only a few hours?
If you don't qualify for a personal exemption, you can still bring back any amount of goods - except for restricted items - as long as you are willing to pay the duties and any provincial and territorial assessments that may apply.

Keep all your receipts handy
CBSA officers may ask you to show receipts for the goods you've purchased while out of the country. They may also ask to see your hotel receipts to verify the length of your stay outside Canada. Keeping these items all together and readily accessible will help to avoid unnecessary delays.

Make a full declaration
If you are not sure what to declare when you arrive in Canada, declare all items first and then discuss them with the officer.
 

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This is good stuff Satim, but these are just the personal exemptions for when you are physically in the States. There are certain items that are exempt from duty when importing.We should track these down and post them so everyone has the info. Must be available somewhere.
 

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Nothing to do with shipping guitars

That's helpful but it has nothing to do with shipping guitars.

Here is the pdf for musical instruments.
 

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I had a baaaad experience in last month. I ordered a tutorial dvd form US and it was almost 25 USD after shipping. When I recieved the item I had to pay 10CAD as custom tax. Can you believe that? Almost %50 additional amount. Gosh after this I really gave up to buy things online from US. If you guys know more effective ways, I am happy to hear them indeed.
 

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I have on many occasions ordered from the US. Usually have to pay a large amount in customs fees. This however is not exactly true as Agent fees would me a more appropriate term. Of course some of the cost is in fact customs and PST but the carriers often get a good chunk of your money. I got to the point that I wouldn't order less than $300. at a time to keep the charges down to an acceptable percentage. I travel to the US regulary on business so when I am going to be somewhere for a week or more I almost always have an order shipped to my hotel. I then claim it as a personal exemption when I come back. I also live less than an hour from Port Huron MI. I found out about a parcel service for Canadians there. Now I simply have everything shipped to Port Huron. This service costs me $4.00 per package and they notify me by telephone when a package comes in. Since my shipments are usually parts or tools I try to keep the orders down to under $200. I always declare the true value of my goods as to get caught doing otherwise is just not worth the consequences. However, I have never been asked to pay any duty when bringing the package back. I just tell the Customs Agent that I make guitars as a hobby and that I have some parts/ tools valued at the actual amount. They always say have a nice day and wave me on. Since I drive a pickup truck with a 128 liter tank, I usually go across the border with less than a quarter of a tank. Gasoline is considerably cheaper on the other side of the border so I fill up. The savings on gas usually covers the cost of gas there & back $5.00 in bridge tolls and the $4.00 package fee. I'm usually back home within two hours of leaving and it is all very convienient. Especially if you have included in your order a substance that cannot be shipped into Canada i.e. glues or finishing products.
Another point to be aware of is if you order any of the fine products from Carvin they will ship it to Canada and cover all of the customs & duty for double the normal shipping fee. This is very cost effective unless you want to overnight something from them then it gets expensive as it is double the overnight fee. BTW I think that Carvin has great products both guitars & good selection of parts at reasonable prices. I have also noticed unless you are just ordering a single item that it usually worth the cost to have them shipped from the states as prices are much lower. I would love to buy every item I purchase in Canada but to be honest we just get too badly gouged on most items ( if you can even get them). You can get many items online for close to half the price from the US as you will find them in Canada (online or otherwise) I have a friend who owns a couple of music stores. When I can I try to buy parts through him. The truth of the matter is that I can usually get guitar parts on line for less than his dealer cost. :smilie_flagge17:
 

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cbh747 said:
That's helpful but it has nothing to do with shipping guitars.

Here is the pdf for musical instruments.
Okay I may have misread this and I am not an importer, but is this correct?
I just read the PDF you linked to and it says on page 92.3 under heading 9207.90.10 subsection 10 that electric guitars are chargable by 6% under the MNF tariff and another 3% under Applicable Preferential tariff.
Is that correct?
I have bought and brought in a lot of used guitars from the USA and I always have been charged duties.

Pete
 

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Yep

faracaster said:
Okay I may have misread this and I am not an importer, but is this correct?
I just read the PDF you linked to and it says on page 92.3 under heading 9207.90.10 subsection 10 that electric guitars are chargable by 6% under the MNF tariff and another 3% under Applicable Preferential tariff.
Is that correct?
I have bought and brought in a lot of used guitars from the USA and I always have been charged duties.

Pete
Yes, but I thought it was just 6 percent. You may be right (6 and 3). I paid $40 on the last Strat that I got about 6 months ago. That was through USPS. If I had gone through UPS it probably would have cost a couple of hundred in "brokerage fees"

The savings were significant.
 

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cbh747 said:
Yes, but I thought it was just 6 percent. You may be right (6 and 3). I paid $40 on the last Strat that I got about 6 months ago. That was through USPS. If I had gone through UPS it probably would have cost a couple of hundred in "brokerage fees"

The savings were significant.
you nailed it on the head... it really does depend on who the shipper is...ALWAYS specify USPS opposed to Fedex or UPS , the post office doesnt' mail you for customs clearance fees like the other couriers.
 

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If you buy a guitar that is made in Japan or Korea from the US you will get nailed with duty. If you buy a guitar made in the US from the US you will not pay duty. If you use UPS or Fedex you will ALWAYS get nailed with heavy brokerage fees that have no set amount. If you use USPS you will only pay a $5 brokerage fee on ANY item.

The only gray area seems to be taxes. I have bought a few used guitars from the States and had them shipped USPS and not paid a dime of tax on them. One example is a made in USA Gibson Melody Maker. Sometimes things just get through tax free for some reason. When they you you can really clean up. I got the Melody Maker for $299 + $35 shipping US. No duty, no taxes, no brokerage fees. I have bought other items though and been nailed big time for taxes.

It takes awhile to learn all this stuff 'the hard way', as I am sure others can attest.

There is one other important point though. While UPS is a rip off, they are also very quick to settle insurance issues if an item is damaged. I have heard from people who ship from the US that USPS is really bad with dealing with claims. They have said it's almost impossible to collect from them. That is why some retailers/sellers insisit on using UPS for international transaction. I have never had an item damaged by USPS/Canada Post so I can't verify that.
 

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torndownunit said:
There is one other important point though. While UPS is a rip off, they are also very quick to settle insurance issues if an item is damaged. I have heard from people who ship from the US that USPS is really bad with dealing with claims. They have said it's almost impossible to collect from them. That is why some retailers/sellers insisit on using UPS for international transaction. I have never had an item damaged by USPS/Canada Post so I can't verify that.
Sorry, I have to take issue with that. I am in year two of trying to collect on a $2000. amp that UPS lost while it was on the truck 10 blocks from being delivered. They have "misplaced" my claim twice and I have had nothing but a runaround from them.
Fed Ex is no better. A friend had a $5000 guitar completely mangled in transit from the manufacturer (McNaught). And after 18 months gave him $500 dollars.
cheers
Pete
 

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There are tons of horror stories out there. I think they encompass just about every carrier out there too. With the amount of good's being shipped now with the emergence of on-line auctions it's going to happen. You will notice that a lot of these eBay sellers insist on the extra insurance now, which can be pretty expensive. So far I guess I have been lucky. I have gotten at least 10-12 guitars and 3-4 amps through the mail and so far so good. Knock on wood.
 

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faracaster said:
Sorry, I have to take issue with that. I am in year two of trying to collect on a $2000. amp that UPS lost while it was on the truck 10 blocks from being delivered. They have "misplaced" my claim twice and I have had nothing but a runaround from them.
Fed Ex is no better. A friend had a $5000 guitar completely mangled in transit from the manufacturer (McNaught). And after 18 months gave him $500 dollars.
cheers
Pete

My input on this only comes from the US sellers I have bought items from. I personally have been lucky. I have ordred a lot of stuff online, and never had any horror stories. But the sellers I have dealt with have told me they have had way more problems getting insurance money from USPS than from UPS. So I am speaking in general terms.
 

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cbh747 said:
Yes, but I thought it was just 6 percent. You may be right (6 and 3). I paid $40 on the last Strat that I got about 6 months ago. That was through USPS. If I had gone through UPS it probably would have cost a couple of hundred in "brokerage fees"

The savings were significant.
I always try to get things sent from the US by USPS. I've has golf clubs sent from Ohio using UPS and got burned for $80 fee. Likewise I've had other golf clubs, big boxes, hobby cards and such through USPS and never had a fee.

JimBo
 

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torndownunit said:
My input on this only comes from the US sellers I have bought items from. I personally have been lucky. I have ordred a lot of stuff online, and never had any horror stories. But the sellers I have dealt with have told me they have had way more problems getting insurance money from USPS than from UPS. So I am speaking in general terms.
See that may be the one downside then of USPS even though we rarely get a tax or fee come time to pick our items up.

JiMBo
 

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As an importer of US-made musical accessories, I have never been charged duty. We all know that US or Mexican-made products are duty-exempt under NAFTA.

Go to Google and download something called a "Certificate Of Origin" and send it along with your money to your US-based vendor and have them sign it and include it with the shipping docs. When Canada Customs sees it, they will know not to charge you duty on your US-made product.

Hopefully this will work.

Apart from that, BUY CANADIAN! SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL RETAILER!:smilie_flagge17:
 

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if you are under $1600 Cdn, you may get it through with the short form but over that lookout.....I've had FedEx charge full duty because a comma was missing or a date was not in the specified yyyy/mm/dd whatever format. If anyone needs the forms, pm me...also note that only the manufacturer is allowed to sign this statement so if you're buying from a dealer or ebay, you may be lucky....or not.

Andy

btw, microphones are duty free from anywhere......makes many things "accessory for exclusive use with microphone":smilie_flagge17:
 

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If you are ordering something worth, I think, $20 or less, it will come in free through the post office.

Other than a guitar, I always try to specify USPS. Canada Post is the cheapest on brokerage. Something like $5 brokerage fee plus GST (and PST for outside of AB). As said above, if it's made in the US, NAFTA will bring it in duty free.

The bad side - I just brought in a few parts for my Hammond, about $50US. The company charged $12 to ship UPS (they won't ship by post). UPS charged about $4 GST, no duty, but $32 brokerage fees. So freight and brokerage costs almost doubled the cost of the items. Needless to say, I only order from these guys when I really have to.

For guitars, I generally bite the bullet and pay the overnight air fee. I'm just bringing in my second guitar bought on the east coast. It costs an extra $150US for freight out of there to Calgary, but it doesn't give the freight co as much time to break the guitar, so I consider it a worth while cost.

As said above, on a US made guitar, there is no duty, just brokerage and GST (and PST).

On the other hand, IF you can find the guitar up here, I don't think you save much by ordering from the US.
 

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Do you have the option of staying over there for any length of time when you pick it up? If you are in the country for at least a weekend you have a certain amount you can bring back. It's more after a week. It would never be as high as $4000 though :D .

Where is the amp made? That will decide if you have to pay duty and taxes, or just taxes.

If I was over there for the weekend, I wouldn't even claim anything guitar related coming back, but that is just me. I'd stick a guitar in the car on the way over so the amp doesn't look out of place on the way back. I'd take my chances. It's not odd to be driving around with guitar gear.
 
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