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Old 01-11-2013, 04:57 PM   #1
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Border shopping questions - BACK & UPDATED

While I have been to the States twice in three years for vacations (and brought souveniors & things back via plane), I have not crossed the border for shopping in at least 20 years. So I was hoping some cross-border shoppers could answer a few questions please!

I realize nothing we (my dad & I) bring back will be duty/tax free since we are only going for 2-3 hours. But that's not a problem, is it? We'll be allowed to just pay the duty/taxes and bring stuff back?

We're not talking a huge amount by any means. An e-reader, a wii game and some books. My dad wants to pick up a bottle of rum. I would like to stop at the Wal-mart and pick up Mickey washcloths, bath rug & a wastebasket, maybe some scrapbooking/craft supplies. Plus some food items (juice, coffee, some snack stuff we do not get here).

That reminds me, is there anything I'm NOT allowed to bring back grocery-wise? I think I have read that fruit is not allowed across the border. Anything else I should know about?

Last edited by Disney Addicted; 01-16-2013 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:07 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disney Addicted View Post
While I have been to the States twice in three years for vacations (and brought souveniors & things back via plane), I have not crossed the border for shopping in at least 20 years. So I was hoping some cross-border shoppers could answer a few questions please!

I realize nothing we (my dad & I) bring back will be duty/tax free since we are only going for 2-3 hours. But that's not a problem, is it? We'll be allowed to just pay the duty/taxes and bring stuff back?

We're not talking a huge amount by any means. An e-reader, a wii game and some books. My dad wants to pick up a bottle of rum. I would like to stop at the Wal-mart and pick up Mickey washcloths, bath rug & a wastebasket, maybe some scrapbooking/craft supplies. Plus some food items (juice, coffee, some snack stuff we do not get here).

That reminds me, is there anything I'm NOT allowed to bring back grocery-wise? I think I have read that fruit is not allowed across the border. Anything else I should know about?
It depends. I have crossed and shopped for the afternoon and paid GST on a few items, other times they waved me through. I'm fairly sure the bottle of rum will trigger some sort of payment, is there a reason why you'd want to buy the rum during this short trip?
Here's the link to the complete list of things you can and cannot bring back from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency http://airs-sari.inspection.gc.ca/Ai...ns.aspx?lang=1 and the CBSA tarrifs http://www.cbsa.gc.ca/trade-commerce...11-02-eng.html
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:20 PM   #3
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Totally depends on the agent when you cross back. We are always honest with the amounts we purchase; one time it was over $500 for a quick trip across and they didn't pull us in. Another time it was $200 and we has to go & pay.

No rhyme or reason and absolutely no way to predict it.
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Old 01-12-2013, 07:27 AM   #4
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You should assume you will pay the extra tax and then hope to be surprised if they wave you through I'd check on the rum as I do not believe it is legal to bring back alcohol or tobacco in that short amount of time.
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:26 AM   #5
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Like others have said it really depends.... most of the time the agents don't care and will just wave you through without having to pay anything. We normally only bring back groceries, so maybe it would be different with actual products.

You can't bring back any fruits or vegetables, and I'm not sure but there may be some limit on meat.
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:43 AM   #6
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I shop over the boarder usually once a month. I usually spend between 75 and 125 dollars, that would include 12 beer. I almost never get pulled in to pay tax. (probably 1 time in the last year or so)

The bottle of Rum will probably get you pulled in. If you could leave the Rum out of your shopping you will probably stand a better chance.
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtmbyck View Post
You should assume you will pay the extra tax and then hope to be surprised if they wave you through I'd check on the rum as I do not believe it is legal to bring back alcohol or tobacco in that short amount of time.

Not illegal but you will pay through the nose on the rum. There is tax, duty, provincial alcohol markup etc, etc, You will probably pay double and maybe save a few $$$.

Otherwise I agree with PP figure on paying 13% of everything you buy and be happy if you get waved through. Just be honest and have all your receipts handy.
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:37 AM   #8
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It depends on the border guard if they decide to send you in to pay. We've gotten waved through with a few hundred dollars and a bit of alcohol, and other times we've had to go pay on $75.

Usually there is a duty free shop on the US side of the border that sells alcohol cheap. We usually get a 66oz of vodka for $10, and duty is $20. Not sure I'd want to cheap out on rum though. Vodka you can't taste it, so I don't mind the cheap stuff in my girlie drinks. Dh would never buy the cheap rye or rum though. So if you're paying more for a better quality brand, you might not really be saving anything. Plus usually if you have alcohol they haul you in to pay.

Stuff like Crown Royal is cheaper at the duty free shop than in the liquor stores in the US.

I don't think there's duty on groceries. There's usually a limit on dairy products though per person. I think it's $20. We've never paid on groceries at least. We always stock up on cheap chicken and cheese! LOL
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:16 AM   #9
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I'm sorry I was unable to reply soon. It was a very busy weekend, especially on Friday with a bunch of kids home (my own & daycare).

Quote:
Originally Posted by CanuckTraveller View Post
It depends. I have crossed and shopped for the afternoon and paid GST on a few items, other times they waved me through. I'm fairly sure the bottle of rum will trigger some sort of payment, is there a reason why you'd want to buy the rum during this short trip?
Here's the link to the complete list of things you can and cannot bring back from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency http://airs-sari.inspection.gc.ca/Ai...ns.aspx?lang=1 and the CBSA tarrifs http://www.cbsa.gc.ca/trade-commerce...11-02-eng.html
Quote:
Originally Posted by laura001 View Post
I shop over the boarder usually once a month. I usually spend between 75 and 125 dollars, that would include 12 beer. I almost never get pulled in to pay tax. (probably 1 time in the last year or so)

The bottle of Rum will probably get you pulled in. If you could leave the Rum out of your shopping you will probably stand a better chance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsneygirl View Post
Not illegal but you will pay through the nose on the rum. There is tax, duty, provincial alcohol markup etc, etc, You will probably pay double and maybe save a few $$$.

Otherwise I agree with PP figure on paying 13% of everything you buy and be happy if you get waved through. Just be honest and have all your receipts handy.
Personally I don't care to bring back liquor, at least on this trip. My dad seems set on purchasing a bottle of rum. He knows he will have to declare it and pay duty & taxes, that's not a problem. I don't believe there will be any savings either.

Thank you for the links CanuckTraveller.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 5mouseketeersforus View Post
Totally depends on the agent when you cross back. We are always honest with the amounts we purchase; one time it was over $500 for a quick trip across and they didn't pull us in. Another time it was $200 and we has to go & pay.

No rhyme or reason and absolutely no way to predict it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtmbyck View Post
You should assume you will pay the extra tax and then hope to be surprised if they wave you through I'd check on the rum as I do not believe it is legal to bring back alcohol or tobacco in that short amount of time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gem21 View Post
Like others have said it really depends.... most of the time the agents don't care and will just wave you through without having to pay anything. We normally only bring back groceries, so maybe it would be different with actual products.

You can't bring back any fruits or vegetables, and I'm not sure but there may be some limit on meat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by momof2gr8kids View Post
It depends on the border guard if they decide to send you in to pay. We've gotten waved through with a few hundred dollars and a bit of alcohol, and other times we've had to go pay on $75.

Usually there is a duty free shop on the US side of the border that sells alcohol cheap. We usually get a 66oz of vodka for $10, and duty is $20. Not sure I'd want to cheap out on rum though. Vodka you can't taste it, so I don't mind the cheap stuff in my girlie drinks. Dh would never buy the cheap rye or rum though. So if you're paying more for a better quality brand, you might not really be saving anything. Plus usually if you have alcohol they haul you in to pay.

Stuff like Crown Royal is cheaper at the duty free shop than in the liquor stores in the US.

I don't think there's duty on groceries. There's usually a limit on dairy products though per person. I think it's $20. We've never paid on groceries at least. We always stock up on cheap chicken and cheese! LOL
My groceries will be minimual. Since I'm only looking at juice and some canned/boxed goods it sounds like I should be good to go then. Thanks.

We're heading out soon and I'll let you know how it worked out tomorrow. I'm really hoping my husband's book order arrived at usaddress... We never received an e-mail confirming shipping & a tracking number. By Friday usaddress was saying the package had not arrived (and we paid extra to ensure it would be there Friday!), not has the company responded to e-mails or phone calls.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disney Addicted View Post
While I have been to the States twice in three years for vacations (and brought souveniors & things back via plane), I have not crossed the border for shopping in at least 20 years. So I was hoping some cross-border shoppers could answer a few questions please!

I realize nothing we (my dad & I) bring back will be duty/tax free since we are only going for 2-3 hours. But that's not a problem, is it? We'll be allowed to just pay the duty/taxes and bring stuff back?

We're not talking a huge amount by any means. An e-reader, a wii game and some books. My dad wants to pick up a bottle of rum. I would like to stop at the Wal-mart and pick up Mickey washcloths, bath rug & a wastebasket, maybe some scrapbooking/craft supplies. Plus some food items (juice, coffee, some snack stuff we do not get here).

That reminds me, is there anything I'm NOT allowed to bring back grocery-wise? I think I have read that fruit is not allowed across the border. Anything else I should know about?
I know your questions have already been answered and you are back from your trip - but for future reference, remember that due to NAFTA, anything that is made in Canada, the US or Mexico can be brought back duty free. You are still required to pay GST and Provincial Tax according to the exemptions, but there should be no duty, regardless of how long you were across. I bought a $50,000 made in the US vehicle, was only in the US for one day and only paid GST.
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