What Importers Should Know About Paying Duties and Taxes on Canadian Imports

There are numerous regulations to follow when importing goods into Canada, and most of the time, it's a good idea to work with a Canadian customs broker to help ensure all your goods arrive safely and within all regulations.  However, if you are importing your own materials, one of the most critical sets of laws to follow are those covering duties and taxes on imports.  If you aren't prepared to pay the right taxes, you could have a lot of difficulty getting your goods past the border.

Here are some common questions people have about this aspect of Canadian importation.

Four FAQs About Duties and Taxes on Canadian Imports

1. Who establishes taxes and duties in Canada?

In most situations, the Rates of Duty are established by the Department of Finance Canada.  In turn, these are often derived from tariffs and trade agreements passed by the Parliament of Canada.

2. Which types of taxes and duties are assessed?

Most imported goods are subject to both the Federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) as well as the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) of the province you're importing the goods into.  In some cases, they may also be subject to the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).  Knowing which goods are subject to which tax structures are vital for successful importation!

3. Do I have to pay duties on items imported for personal use?

Generally speaking, no - however, imports may be scrutinized to ensure they fit a reasonable definition of "for personal use."  Trying to falsely label goods which are intended for sale will get you in a lot of trouble.

In addition, there are no duties on items which are made in Canada or Mexico, even if you purchased them somewhere else, such as the United States.  However, they need to be clearly labeled as such.  You may also be asked to provide documentation of the original purchase.

4. How can I know what taxes are assessed on what products?

If you are handling your importation procedures, your best reference will be the Customs Calculator web app which contains up-to-date information on the duties assessed on every category of product.  Be careful to properly mark the country of origin; taxes will vary greatly depending on where the goods were manufactured.

Or, simply hire an experienced Canadian customs broker to eliminate the uncertainty!  Our team of experts at ARGO Customs will ensure your goods arrive properly - just contact us.