The CBSA has placed a moratorium on applications for participation in the Courier Low Value Shipment Program effective , until further notice. For additional information regarding the moratorium please see Customs Notice 19-12.
In this section
Goods imported for personal use are not intended for sale or for any commercial, industrial, occupational, institutional or similar use.
All items brought into Canada must be properly declared.
This will allow border services officers to determine what duties and/or taxes you must pay on the goods. Some goods are exempt from duty and/or taxes:
- Certain gifts sent by family or friends abroad,
- Certain items worth Can$20 or less,
- Items you send home while you are abroad.
If your goods are for personal use:
- your courier company may account for the shipment for you; or
- you can chose to self-account for your goods.
As a consumer, you should not assume that an online purchase from a retailer with a web address ending in “.ca” means that the goods are located within Canada. Purchases from online retailers may require the vendor to ship the goods from another country in which case, the item may be subject to duties and/or taxes as well as administrative fees (fees assessed by a company who may handle the Customs declaration on your behalf). Please note, consumers are not required to utilize the services of a third party, such as a Customs Broker, and may choose to ‘self-assess’ any applicable duties and/or taxes owing at a CBSA office that offers these services to the public.
What are the steps I need to know?
- The exporter provides the courier with the value, country of origin and a detailed description of the goods.
- Border services officers review each shipment. If the shipment complies with all import regulations, the shipment is released to the courier for delivery.
- The goods may be examined to confirm the declaration of the goods and their eligibility to enter Canada.
- To claim a refund for importations intended for personal use, see the Casual Refund Program.
Collection of duties, taxes and service fees by couriers
Couriers are approved by the CBSA to account for personal “casual” shipments in lieu of the importer and may remit any applicable duties and/or taxes.
The courier may charge various fees for the services they provide. We encourage importers to confirm the details of the services and fees directly with their courier. The fees are a private business to consumer transaction and are outside of the CBSA’s control. The CBSA does receive the applicable duties and/or taxes as collected by the courier.
Accounting for your own shipment
You, as an importer of goods, have the option to self-account the applicable duties and/or taxes on shipments imported by a courier on your behalf. Self-accounting can be done through a CBSA office that offers accounting services to the public. If you choose to do this, you may save on certain administrative fees.
What are the steps I need to know to self-account?
In the CLVS Program, approved courier companies are authorized to report, obtain release, account and submit payment for eligible personal use or casual importations.
Policy also allows importers of personal use or casual shipments the option to self-account and pay for any applicable duties and/or taxes at a CBSA customs office without the assistance of the courier or broker.
Should arrangements be made with the courier in advance of the arrival of the shipment the courier will not include the personal use or casual shipment in the CLVS Program. The courier will issue a separate manifest for the shipment.
Should a casual importer wish to self-account for their shipment, they will need to refuse delivery and advise the courier that they will personally pay any applicable duties and/or taxes directly at a CBSA office and provide proof of payment and approved documentation, once completed.
Process to self-account
To self-account the casual importer will need to follow these steps:
- Visit a local CBSA office that offers accounting services to the public;
- Provide the shipment identification/tracking number, the commercial invoice (receipt), and personal identification upon arrival at the CBSA office;
- If a third party will account on the casual importers behalf, the CBSA requires a letter of authorization and a photocopy of the casual importers identification;
- An official receipt indicating that you have paid duties and/or taxes directly to the CBSA will then be provided; and
- A copy of this receipt must be presented to the courier at which time delivery of the shipment may be arranged.
Gifts worth Can $60 or less must be personally sent by a friend or relative outside Canada and must include a card or other notice indicating that it is a gift (see Memorandum D2-1-4 for details).
Sending goods to Canada by courier while abroad
When travelling outside of Canada, you may choose to send goods home by courier rather than carrying them home with you.
What do I need to know about sending goods while abroad?
- The goods being sent home are part of your personal exemption limit for that trip.
- This applies only when you qualify for the seven-day exemption limit, and the shipment may not contain alcohol or tobacco products.
- The unaccompanied goods must be declared at the time of your return and must be documented on the Form E24 provided by border service officers.
- When providing the details of your shipment to the courier who will send them to Canada, make sure to declare the goods as "personal effects" to advise the courier that the goods are exempt from duties and/or taxes.
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