Canadian Duty and Taxes

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Justin F. Knotzke, Jun 11, 2004.

  1. How are canadian duties and taxes applied to items purchased from
    individuals in the states? If I purchase a used camera or lens from someone
    living in the US, does Canada Customs levy a duty and charge sales taxes on
    the item?

    If not, what must the seller specify on the landing bill to ensure that I
    am not charged? I can never quite figure out how they charge for these things.


    Justin F. Knotzke, Jun 11, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  2. Justin F. Knotzke

    Nick Zentena Guest

    Shipper makes a big difference.

    UPS aka rape and pillage will kill you if you use ground service. OTOH
    some people claim that UPS's higher cost services aren't too bad. I support
    the UPS boycott and urge everybody to boycott UPS. I also boycott sellers
    that only use UPS.

    Fed air you'll get hit by GST and PST. If it's photo equipment I don't
    think anything faces duties so assuming nobody screws up then you'll be
    okay. Fedex ground on the other hand you'll face a handling fee in addition
    to everything else. It's not the killer UPS charges but it could easily
    cover the difference in price for Fedex air.

    USPS/Canada post. You're supposed to be charged a $5 handling fee and
    GST/PST on any package over C$20. Below that it's supposed to be free.
    That's for Airmail or anything slower. The faster service I'm not sure
    but while they charge you more for the faster service when you add in the
    time to clear customs [the faster service will always get stopped it seems]
    the faster service is no faster then the cheaper airmail. Ground isn't worth
    it unless the item is huge. The saving in terms of money is tiny. The
    increase in the time is huge.

    In short use airmail. If you're lucky it'll cost you nothing. At
    worse it'll cost you $5 + PST/GST.

    Nick Zentena, Jun 11, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  3. Justin F. Knotzke

    Doug Payne Guest

    I've never been charged duty on photographic equipment. I do have to pay GST
    and PST on the declared value (converted to CDN$). If it's shipped via the post
    office, they'll collect the taxes and nick you a processing fee (5 bucks as I
    recall). Couriers have varying schemes for this, but I prefer the PO. In the
    one instance where there was no declared value on the package, someone (Canada
    Customs I assume) opened it and applied a sticker with their estimated value.
    It was low, but I didn't complain :) Ask the seller to specify a value, and
    that it's photographic equipment, clearly marked on the outside of the package.
    The only hassle will come if you want to return it; then you have to jump
    through hoops to recover the taxes. But you do get a refund, eventually.
    Doug Payne, Jun 11, 2004
  4. I am confused then (happens often), I was under the impression that
    purchases made from individuals did not incur sales tax. I of course could be
    completely wrong, but whenever I sell or buy anything to/from an individual I
    did not pay or charge sales tax.

    I suppose though that this only applies to Canadian purchases because the
    sales tax has already been paid. In the case of a purchase from an american,
    the sales tax had never been paid.

    Or am I out to lunch?


    Justin F. Knotzke, Jun 11, 2004
  5. Justin F. Knotzke

    Nick Zentena Guest

    You're supposed to pay the PST. I'm not sure about the GST. But no way
    they'll go after every garage sale-) The same rule applies to purchases from
    outside the province. You're supposed to pay but it doesn't make any sense
    for them to spend $10 to collect $1 so nobody even tries. OTOH when the
    broker clears the item for crossing the border it's easy for them to tack on
    the PST/GST.

    Nick Zentena, Jun 11, 2004
  6. So bottom line then if you are trying to skimp on paying taxes is to buy
    from a Canuck.

    Thanks Nick and everyone else.

    Justin F. Knotzke, Jun 11, 2004
  7. Justin F. Knotzke

    Doug Payne Guest

    Hey, I'm no tax expert ;-) But I fail to see how they can make a distinction
    between an "individual" and otherwise.
    I do know that in Ontario, you are required to pay sales tax on used vehicles,
    no matter where you buy them.

    Other provinces may have different rules (and for different items). Your best
    bet is to call or visit Canada Customs and ask them.
    Doug Payne, Jun 11, 2004
  8. Very good point. I don't know why I had that idea running through my head.
    It's the same in Quebec and they nail you when you go to get it plated.

    Justin F. Knotzke, Jun 11, 2004
  9. Justin F. Knotzke

    Doug Payne Guest

    And if they're anything like the Ontario crowd, in a private sale they'll nail
    you the *greater* of what you actually paid and what they think it's worth
    according to their 'book'.

    Ain't life grand?

    For photo stuff, I've found that it pays to do the math for every (major)
    purchase, between local, out-of-province, and out-of-country, new or used.
    Living in Ontario, I sometimes order from Quebec because no PST is charged. But
    as someone else mentioned, when buying out-of-country you're pretty much out of
    luck since Canada Customs will get you no matter what (unless you've got a
    friend that'll do air drops or something :)
    Doug Payne, Jun 11, 2004
  10. My current dilemma is a private sale of a camera for $800USD against a
    local shop that wants $1600CDN.

    Basically a $600CDN before tax difference.

    The only glitch is that I don't know the seller who wants it for $800 and
    of course there is no warranty.

    *sigh*. The used market is spooky.

    Justin F. Knotzke, Jun 11, 2004
  11. Justin F. Knotzke

    Alan Browne Guest

    I suggest you call customs at Dorval, they're quite accomodating
    in explaining the rules.
    Alan Browne, Jun 11, 2004
  12. Justin F. Knotzke

    Alan Browne Guest

    I've purchased two used, high value items from US sellers without
    a problem. I agree that it's not comfortable to send your
    money and then wait for the other side to honor the sale.

    If you can find references for the seller, then so much the
    better. (The first I bought from was a doctor; the second was a
    FLA state employee, both were easy to verify by finding their
    phone numbers independantly and making sure they existed at their
    clinic and gov't offices...)

    Given the price differential, even if you have to pay PST/GST,
    you are coming out ahead.
    Alan Browne, Jun 11, 2004
  13. He's a professional photog and seems to be quite credible.

    I dunno, gonna have to sleep on it. Its a film camera and I've been
    watching the market closely and "pro" film cameras are starting to drop. At
    first people seemed to want what was reasonable to them and now with the EOS
    300D and the D70 et al., the prices for those used SLR's seem to be falling..

    The other question, a much different type question is if this camera is
    really going to make my life better. My problem is I just don't shoot enough.
    I might be better off using the money for film..

    Thanks for the tip Alan.

    Justin F. Knotzke, Jun 11, 2004
  14. I wonder what they would do if you sent it somewhere in the States for
    repair....That is, you had a camera that you bought and paid all the taxes
    for years ago. Now it breaks, and the only repair facility, or the one you
    like best, is in the lower 48 states. So, you send it there for repair, Now,
    when the repaired item is returned to you, do you have to pay the Canadian
    government the taxes for it again? - If not, why not? - How do they know
    that you aren't buying the item from someone in the United States?
    William Graham, Jun 11, 2004
  15. Justin F. Knotzke

    Nick Zentena Guest

    Well I'll tell you what UPS would do. They'd charge the repair shop for
    importing it. Then when it was sent back they'd charge you-))

    If you want to send something back like that just have some
    paperwork. Have it marked something like repaired.

    Nick Zentena, Jun 11, 2004
  16. I'm with you Nick on the ban UPS. My personal favorite UPS horror story
    involves a tamper (a thing which packs coffee into a porta filter to make
    espresso) that was $40USD. UPS arrives and charges me $40CDN for "brokerage
    fees" PLUS taxes.

    Then, I decided buddy in the brown pants ain't visitin' me no more.

    Which sucks for KEH. Although, someone did tell me they will ship FedEx if
    you ask..

    Justin F. Knotzke, Jun 12, 2004
  17. Yes.....You'd think a repair shop, who is shipping repaired items out all
    the time, would have some agreement with whatever carrier they use to not
    charge the taxes they would normally charge for new items.....But what do I
    William Graham, Jun 12, 2004
  18. Justin F. Knotzke

    Mike Guest

    This I have some experience with. When one of my Canadian Customers ships an
    item to me for repair they register that piece of equipment with Canadian
    customs who provides them with a form that I place in an envelope on the
    outside of the package. When the USPS delivers the package to Canada the
    post office, Canadian Customs is supposed to charge only the VAT tax on the
    amount of the repair not the insured value. Of course being a government
    body things do not always go the way they should and import duty is
    sometimes charged where it should not have been.
    Mike, Jun 12, 2004
  19. Justin F. Knotzke

    m II Guest

    UPS charged me 38 bucks for remitting 1 dollar 28 cents to the
    Canadian govt. for a tariff. That was just the worst example out of
    a long string of rip offs by these shysters. Never again!

    They treat Canadians like complete fools. I now use the postal
    service (US and Canadian) with added insurance when needed. No
    propblems at all in the last five years. The postal services sell an
    international money order that can be used between the two
    countries. It can be cashed at any post office at no charge. You
    have to ask for the order specially, as there are TWO types. Tell
    them it's for Canada or US usage.

    If anyone at UPS feels I've libeled their thieving asses, let's go
    to court. I can hardly wait to subpeona half the country as
    witnesses to the corporate behaviour of these leeches.

    m II, Jun 12, 2004
  20. Justin F. Knotzke

    Doug Payne Guest

    Been there, done that, got a refund upon supplying proof that it was a return
    (defective, not repair, but the same rule applies).
    Doug Payne, Jun 12, 2004
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.