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07-26-2007, 02:01 PM   #1
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Canadian taxes?

I was hesitating a little bit, but I hope my question will fit into this category.

Could someone tell me how much custom duty, plus GST/PST/whatever kind of tax is applied to a DSLR camera imported from the USA to Canada? If any. Er.. and really do they add it to such goods arriving to Canada? Practical, everyday experiences I'm most interested in. Oh, I'm talking about a Pentax camera of course, what else?

Just to make it clear: I mean a gear sent from individual to individual. Eg. one won on ebay. And the destination would be Ontario, I guess local taxes are different at places.



07-26-2007, 04:40 PM   #2
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I paid duties on used photographic equipment purchased on eBay and sent from home to home address only once in like 5 or 6 purchases. I can't remember how much, but it was 15-16% or so.

For regular orders from businesses (like B&H): according to current Customs Canada regulations photographic equipment imported from USA is not subject to customs duties. However, you pay regular taxes (GST+PST in Ontario) as if you would in any store in Canada anyway. I have ordered 3 or 4 times from B&H and it works. UPS actually did all GST+PST and it was just COD required.
07-26-2007, 06:07 PM   #3
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First of all, I would recommend using USPS to ship from USA to Canada. Using Fed Ex or UPS will not only cost more to ship but you will definitely have to pay all federal and provincial taxes plus brokerages fees.

Ask your American shipper to mark the item as a "gift" on the required declaration sticker. They should still note the actual value of the item and pay for insurance to protect you against loss or damage. By simply ticking "gift" you will most likely avoid paying GST (6%) & PST(8% in Ontario). If they do not mark "gift" on the declaration sticker you will likely be charged the taxes + a $5.00 fee by Canada Post.

Personally, I have never paid "duty" on anything shipped from the USA. This includes new and used sporting goods, cameras and lenses and most recently, brand-new Pentax binoculars I won through an Ebay auction.

Canadians can benefit by making mail-order or internet purchases in a province other than their own as they do not have to pay provincial taxes, only federal tax (GST).
07-26-2007, 07:34 PM   #4
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J.Scott is right. I've had the exact same expeience. MAKE sure you have it shipped via USPS. Couriers soak you on brokerage and the fees vary widely. I got my Sigma 50-500 from the US and he would only ship UPS. It cost $40 in brokerage above the GST/PST. But a K110d sent that was worth about 1/3 of the value of the Sigma lens (both values clearly stated on the packages) and was charged almost $140 in brokerage also from UPS. I fought that one and got it cut down to $50 but it was a hassle. They will soak you when ever they can and they are not a second faster than USPS.

Last edited by Peter Zack; 07-27-2007 at 02:33 AM.
07-26-2007, 10:17 PM   #5
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Just to add to what Jeff and Scott said: If your order is shipped by courier, you WILL pay brokerage and taxes. Brokerage fees seem to be calculated by some formula that only 2 people understand, and they aren't talking. If you ship via USPS, you only will be charged brokerage ($5 flat rate), taxes and duties, (if applicable) if your package is opened and inspected by customs. This seems to occur with roughly 25% of packages.
07-27-2007, 05:56 AM   #6
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Another voice to recommend USPS. I've ordered/bought 20-30 different items on ebay (or other online stores), all of different value, and I've only had to pay taxes once. (on a $30 item). It seems (to me) to be luck of the draw - some items were hundreds of dollars and didn't pay tax, then I pay tax on a $30 item. Go figure.

As an aside, I did order a lens from KEH once, shipped by UPS, in the $300 range. I didn't have to pay the taxes. But then, I've heard enough other horror stories from UPS that I avoid them where possible.

07-27-2007, 06:34 AM   #7
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Jsu to confirm what others have said - I have purchased a couple of items off the form here - both times shipped USPS. Both times I have had to pay GST (6%) and the $5.00 (cause I can ) handling fee. I had heard if the return address was not a buisness there would be no GST , however for me anyway this was not the case.

The seller did not mark the items as gift and the items were all under $300 so it was not a big deal. I live in one of those PST free provinces. I find the GST charge criminal as if I bought used equipment from someone here there would be no GST.

Then again the whole GST thing is another debate all together (eg: Buy one donut and it is taxed , howver if you buy 12 it is not because it is considered groceries ) . It is federal so the whole country gets it and t stands for Goods and Services Tax - brillant try and think of something you bought recently that could not be classified as a "Goods" or "Service". There are many exceptions - keept the IT industry busy for a couple years programming it :-)

I can live with the $5.00 'handling/administration' fee but the GST and PST for those provinces that have PST is an outrage. Canadians by and large are taxed much heavier than our American counterparts - all about population I guess. "Tax Free" day here keeps getting later and later in the year (income and province dependant of course but it generally it is over 6 months sometimes 7+)

USPS is the best way as others all confirmed - least COD charges.
07-27-2007, 07:02 AM   #8
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Thank you all who replied, it's so kind of you to help out the ignorant. You know, I'm in Hungary and just about to buy a used D or DS camera in Canada. Or perhaps in the USA, that's why I dared to ask. A good friend of mine, living in Ontario, will come and visit us in the very last days of August, so we're busy to find a camera for me. Unfortunately both the time frame and my budget is so tight, there is only a little chance that we can get one. That's why I was thinking about this import thing.

Anyway, we'll see it. I have a WTB post up in the marketplace, we also keep an eye on ebay and some of the other possible sources, so keep your fingers crossed for me please. I really would like to become the first Pentax owner from Hungary on the forum Even if there are quite a few around here, but they probably are not members yet.

Your advices will sure help. Thank you so much. Well, I have almost a month left...

TU, cheers...


08-05-2007, 03:36 PM   #9
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Let me tell you all who helped that I finally bought a DS. See my signature below

OK, I'm cheating. I haven't got the camera to my hands yet, but my friend in ON did, and will bring it over to me at the end of the month.

So, it's a DS and I think we had a good deal: an almost new DS (only a few hundred clicks) with a 18-55 kit lens, strap, eyepiece, etc., plus a 2G SD card and even a set of rechargeable AA batteries included. Minus the paper manual and the two cables which the previous owner couldn't seem to find. All these for 280 USD, not bad, is it?

Can't wait to hold in my hands, let me see, er... 26 more days

Oh, and the shipping. USPS was great, from MI to ON took only 4 days, and we didn't have to pay custom duties/GST/PST, only some 19 CDN on arrival, probably handling and administration fee or like that.

Thank you once more for all your help and advices.



Last edited by fotobox; 08-05-2007 at 08:35 PM.

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