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Old 03-17-2013, 02:58 PM   #1
MamaLema
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Cross border shopping- UPDATE 1ST POST

I know you need to stay 24 hours before you can bring back anything.

However I know many people who just go for the day and bring back stuff. We cross border shop about 3 times a year, staying at least overnight each time.

I would like to go for the day only this time. I wouldn't bring back much, mostly groceries.

What has been YOUR experience at the border after just crossing for the day?

UPDATE

Thanks everyone for the replies. We crossed over today at 9 am and crossed back into Canada around 1 pm. We only bought groceries, but we bought a lot of groceries. When the border agent asked us the value, I took a breath, prayed for the best and said $350. He took one look at our 3 teenaged boys, smiled, and waved us through. Hopefully next time we'll be lucky again.

Last edited by MamaLema; 03-30-2013 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:31 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaLema View Post
I know you need to stay 24 hours before you can bring back anything.

However I know many people who just go for the day and bring back stuff. We cross border shop about 3 times a year, staying at least overnight each time.

I would like to go for the day only this time. I wouldn't bring back much, mostly groceries.

What has been YOUR experience at the border after just crossing for the day?

You can bring back as much as you want just be prepared to pay the appropriate tax and duty. The 24 hour time frame is to bring things back tax/duty free. (within the limits)

http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publicati...f5056-eng.html
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:49 PM   #3
vacation_junkie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaLema View Post
I know you need to stay 24 hours before you can bring back anything.

However I know many people who just go for the day and bring back stuff. We cross border shop about 3 times a year, staying at least overnight each time.

I would like to go for the day only this time. I wouldn't bring back much, mostly groceries.

What has been YOUR experience at the border after just crossing for the day?
We cross over atleast 2 times a month for groceries.
Our average grocery bill is $170..last one was $240.
No tobacco or alcohol purchased.
We have never had to pay any duty / taxes!
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:10 PM   #4
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My boyfriend and I go for day trips down to Seattle. We usually end up with around 100 in groceries at Walmart, 50-100 on clothes and video games together. We've never been taxes once. I have the receipts all ready and the exact total amount as well on my phone calculator. However, I think it depends on luck and how you answer the border guards questions. I've had friends that got taxed with the same amount of purchases. *shrugs*
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:38 PM   #5
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I cross often but mostly for clothes, home goods etc..
I go for the day and declare what I buy. I would say sometimes I pay ( as when I bought new furniture !) and most times I don't. I crossed last week having spent approx $450 and was waved through ...same about 2 weeks prior.

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Old 03-17-2013, 07:02 PM   #6
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Smile

We just did a cross border shop and spent 450.00 and got waved right through. No tobacco or alcohol of course.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:55 AM   #7
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Most of what you would have to pay is hst. Unless it is something with high duties like alcohol and tobacco or jewelry. Most groceries are not subject to hst. If not a lot of taxes would be owed they will often waive you through as it takes time and resources to have you go in and pay the taxes. And here in Ontario you would only be paying $13 for a $100 worth of goods (if no duty).
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:13 AM   #8
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It's all HST ..unless as you say it's duty free purchases and you haven't been gone the required time.

I find I pay perhaps 1 out of every 6-7 times and I am fine with that.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:21 AM   #9
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We cross often - we like to go for dinner "over the bridge" - and try to keep purchases to < $100 per person. This is when it's actually good to take my kids out for dinner with me - they bump up our limit!

As for no alcohol if you don't want to pay duty - not entirely true. We pick up 12 beer every time we go over - duty rates are on cases of 24 so it's too much of a pain to charge us for 12. Many people in our town do the same. Some do 12 per adult in the car, but we just keep it at 12.

The way I always look at it is even if I have to pay taxes/duty, I am saving much more than that plus have access to better selection. If I don't have to pay duty (and we very rarely have), even better. I am always honest and know that the guards are just doing their jobs - no point getting upset about it.
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:12 PM   #10
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We used to cross weekly for 5 years as commercial and had to pay all the time but that's standard. We were searched twice in five years and came out clean both times. My husband is sure that a record of all our crossings and perfect record comes up when they scan our passport but I'm not sure it makes a difference. We didn't do much personal shopping when we were crossing commercial and if we did it was hit or miss if they charged us (we were already inside completing the paperwork for commercial so it was extra work for them to charge us on the personal). The border we crossed at was at point Roberts which is a weird anomaly because it was a tiny point that you could only get to it from Canada and its basically a marina, post office and shipping depot - no where to go shopping. When we'd cross total time in the states would be approx 20 min.


Now that we closed the business we got nexus and cross regularily at peace arch - lots of shopping there! We've never had to pay there. Our average trip is about $500-600 but we've been as high as $800 many times (no alcohol or tobacco and 4 people in the vehicle) with no problem.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:25 PM   #11
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It will be completely hit and miss as to what guards you get and how their mood is for the day. The big thing you have to remember, is that, even if you spend $10, they can charge you. As long as you understand that, and are ok with it, then spend away. It doesn't matter how much you spend, or what you spend your money on, you may or may not, get pulled in.

I cross usually every week. I live so close to the border it makes more sense for me to shop/get gas in the US than it does in Canada. When buying just groceries, I have never had to pay. When making other purchases, it is totally random as to when I have had to pay. Know your prices, know if it's worth it to shop their and then pay.

It is so completely random, that the one time my SIL and I just went 'window shopping' for baby stuff and had nothing to declare, they pulled us in for a vehicle inspection. They couldn't understand how we didn't buy anything.

As well, if you have something 'new' in your car, be prepared to either have proof you bought it in Canada, or a REALLY good story for it. I had a brand new carseat in my car for my neice, we just had to fit her in it. It still had tags, and when they pulled me in for inspection, they gave me the hardest time over it. After 'much' conversation about it, they finally understood that the maple leaf on it, and the Canadian printing on it, proved it was from Canada.

So go and have fun. Buy what you want. Getting pulled in is nothing. Just pay your taxes and be on your way
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:44 PM   #12
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Does having Nexus help?
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:29 PM   #13
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Rarely have to pay....

I go at least once a month, and I have only had to pay once and was searched once but didn't have to pay. When we were searched, I was with a friend that smokes, and you could smell it in her car, and I imagine that they were looking for cigarettes. The time I was charged, I was with two other women who both spent well over $400. I have a few rules when I go - try to keep the total around $125, no large electronic purchases and no alcohol or cigarettes. When I stick to those, I have never had a problem.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:07 AM   #14
minnie56
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Does having Nexus help?
Perhaps with expediting the crossing but not any different with having to pay or not pay
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:26 AM   #15
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The only two times that stand out in my mind that we've been asked to pay taxes and duty was because both times I had spent in excess of seven or eight hundred. Once was because we had gone to the ski show, the other was because I had ordered the majority of my Christmas shopping online and picked it up in the States at a package service. In both cases, I saved so much by buying the items in the U.S. that it was still completely worth it to pay the duty and tax to bring it back over.

The other 30 or so times we've shopped it's always 200 or less and we'vebeen waived through almost every time. We always have the receipts in our hand ready to hand over and make an honest declaration. They seem to appreciate that. I am sure we've been asked to pay one or two more times but it doesn't stand out in my mind.
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