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01-18-2013, 04:18 PM   #1
troika's Avatar

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Location: Seattle, WA USA
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Importing to US from Canada

I might be in B.C. next week and am considering bringing home a new Pentax, across the border by car. I found a 5 year old thread on this that seemed to conclude that there were not dutys on this at the US Border. The US Customs site is way to complicated for me, I'm a bear of very little brain.

Do we think that buying in Canada and hand carrying across the border is a non-dutiable event? I assume I'll to pay tax in Canada, but do I recall that I can reclaim it somehow? I used to go back and forth a lot, but I haven't for a while. I have a few other reasons to visit B.C. and might make a day of it next week. Appreciate anyone's feedback who thinks they know.

(I realize there issues with having things shipped from Canada to US and how you do it, but that's not my situation this time)

Thanks in advance!

01-18-2013, 05:14 PM   #2
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I have been in similar situations, and even when bringing things in from other countries via air have not had to pay import duties on said items. There is a way to get a refund for the tax though which is convenient. Same with VAT in the EU
01-18-2013, 07:41 PM   #3
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Original Poster
It looks like tax refunds for non-residents was discontinued in 2007 or 2008. Harmonized Sales Tax in B.C. Is 12%.

If I did have to pay something to the US at the border, that would make it pretty expensive.
01-18-2013, 07:44 PM   #4
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As far as I know (correct me someone if I'm wrong) but if you purchase in Canada, bring it home to the US, and it breaks on you, you could be screwed. I suppose you might be able to go back to Canada to exchange, but I'm again uncertain of how that would play out.

01-18-2013, 08:20 PM   #5
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Original Poster
Pentax has some international warranty info on their website that seems to cover it. You have to register for it, but it seems to address these circumstances.
01-19-2013, 08:13 AM   #6
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I do not know if you will have to pay duty when you bring it back. BUT, you can always say you brought it up with you - Tires are 1 Billion times cheaper in Montana than Alberta... but it seems like the border officers never ask about tires so no one I know has ever had an issue with bringing those back on their vehicle

But as mentioned, factor the extra sales tax of BC into the price. Quite often for me that is the deal breaker on price.
01-19-2013, 08:57 AM   #7
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Customs Allowances | Duty Free Canada

Duty Free allowances according to the above for a stay 48 hours or less:

$200.00 USD per person, this includes 50 cigarettes and 10 cigars (non Cuban) and 150 milliliters (5 fl. oz.) of alcoholic beverages or 150 milliliters.

A stay longer than 48 hours allowances are:

$800.00 USD per person. This is a monthly exemption. Family members can combine their $800 per person monthly import privileges. You can import 1 Litre (33.8 fl. oz.) of alcoholic beverages or 1 case of beer (24 bottles). You are also allowed to include up to 200 cigarettes and 100 cigars (non Cuban) in your exemption.
01-19-2013, 02:00 PM   #8
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You used to be able to reclaim you tax, but it looks like that's no longer the case and +12% is probably a deal breaker. I may be up there anyway and if so I'll visit one of the FOUR shops that seem to carry Pentax dSLRs. It would be very helpful to me to see and handle a K-30 along side some flavor of K-5.


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