Pay duty for items shipped from USA causing surprise

TORONTO – The holiday shopping season is in full swing with Black Friday later this week and Cyber ​​Monday one week from today.

If you shop online, you need to be careful that you don’t get any surprises and end up paying more for the items than you think.

“There’s a definite shock with the stickers in a lot of people when something crosses the border,” said Sean Morrison, Superintendent, Postal Operations for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

When shopping online, some of the items you purchase may be from another country, and in addition to taxes and shipping, you may also have to pay duties and brokerage fees.

Try to do your homework and ask questions before you click so you don’t end up with unexpected charges.

The CBSA said online shopping increased during the pandemic and the shipments it handled increased 117% over the past three years.

A duty is a tariff paid on an item imported into Canada, and the CBSA reminds Canadians that when items cross international borders into Canada, duties may be added to the final price.

Morrison said that do not assume that purchases from web addresses ending in the period ca mean that the goods are being shipped to Canada.

The agency also reminds Canadians that receiving or sending cannabis to or from Canada by mail or courier is illegal and you could be arrested and prosecuted.

“While it’s legal to buy cannabis in Canada within our own borders, you can’t send it anywhere and you can’t import it,” Morrison said.

In the case of items valued at less than $ 20 or less, duties and taxes are exempt. Above $ 20, duties and taxes may apply and gifts valued at $ 60 or less must be sent by a friend or relative.

Fees vary depending on the item and where it came from, but there are ways to determine if you will need to pay extra.

“If it wasn’t made in Canada or the United States or Mexico duties apply, so be prepared to pay that plus tax on top of the price,” Morrison said.

If you are not sure if you have to pay duties, the agency’s website offers a duty and tax calculator.

You enter where you live, the item you are buying, its cost, and where it is shipped from, and you’ll get a duty and tax estimate.

The agency also wants people to know that threatening fraudulent calls have been made by criminals pretending to be on border services who are not legitimate.

“We will never call someone to let them know there has been a seizure and we will never call someone to let them know there is an arrest warrant, these are fraudulent calls and unfortunately they’re prevalent right now, ”Morrison said.

Supply chain issues are also causing delays, and some goods get stuck on container ships. The border agency is therefore advising buyers to buy their holiday gifts early to avoid delays.

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