In 2011 I went on a trip to Europe, and on our way back, each person had to fill out a "Canada Border Services Agency Declaration Card" that indicated how much money was spent. There are limits on what is considered Duty Free, depending on how long you have been away from Canada. Here are the personal exemptions that were indicated on the form that I had to fill out. These limits are very good to know if you don't want to pay extra fees when you purchase goods outside of Canada:
"No duty is payable on goods imported for personal use, if it is marked as "made in Canada, the USA, or Mexico", or if there is no marking or labeling indicating that it was made somewhere other than Canada, the USA, or Mexico."
- Government of Canada, 2014
Residents of Canada:
Each resident returning to Canada is entitled to one of the following personal exemptions based on his/her time absent from Canada (include all goods and/or gifts purchased or received abroad, 2012):
- 24 hours: $200 Canadian
Not claimable if goods exceed $50. Alcohol and tobacco cannot be claimed.
- 48 hours: $800 Canadian
This includes alcohol and tobacco (see info below).
- 7 days: $800 Canadian
This includes alcohol and tobacco (see info below). Plus, after a 7-day absence, you are allowed to include goods that will follow you by mail or other delivery method.
Alcohol and tobacco exemption information:
1.5 L of wine or 1.14 L of liquor or 24 x 355 ml cans or bottles (8.5 L) of beer or ale. (You must be of legal age in the province of importation).
200 cigarettes, 200 tobacco sticks, 50 cigars or cigarillos and 200 grams of manufactured tobacco (Special Duty may apply).
Want to estimate how much duty and tax you will pay? Try this Duty and Taxes Estimator.
For more details, you can check out this website: updated May 31, 2012: http://canadaonline.about.com/od/customs/a/exemptionscdns.htm
Other important links:
Canada Border Services Agency
Cross Border Shopping
Duty Free Canada
Happy shopping fellow Canadians!
~ Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW
keywords: Cross border shopping, customs, duty, shopping, USA, taxes
Edited 30 Jul 2016