Goods imported for personal use are not intended for sale or for any commercial, industrial, occupational, institutional or similar use.
You must make a proper declaration on all imported items. 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.
You may have your shipment accounted for by the courier or you may choose to account for the shipment yourself.
Receiving goods by courier
What are the steps I need to know?
- The sender provides the courier with the value, country of origin and a detailed description of the goods.
- Eligible shipments are processed through the Courier Low Value Shipment (CLVS) Program.
- 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 report, release and account for casual goods in lieu of the importer and to pay any duties and/or taxes. When you sign the courier delivery receipt and take possession of the goods, you accept that the courier will account for the goods with the CBSA on your behalf.
The courier may charge a service fee for:
- Preparing the necessary customs report and accounting paperwork,
- Collecting duties and/or taxes you owe, and
- Remitting these amounts to the CBSA.
The courier keeps the service fee. You must confirm shipping details and service fees directly with the courier. The CBSA does not have jurisdiction over this fee. Only duties and/or taxes are remitted to the CBSA.
Accounting for your own shipment
You have the option of paying the duties and/or taxes yourself through a CBSA office that offers accounting services to the public. If you choose to do this, you will not have to pay any accounting service fees from the courier.
What are the steps I need to know?
- When the courier attempts to deliver the shipment, you must refuse delivery and advise the courier that you will pay duties and/or taxes directly to the CBSA.
- Write down the unique shipment identification/tracking number. The shipment will be returned to the courier's warehouse for storage for a limited period of time.
- Next, visit a local CBSA office that offers accounting services to the public. You will need to provide specific details about the shipment, indicated on the commercial invoice.
- You will need the shipment identification/tracking number, the commercial invoice (receipt), and personal identification when you visit the CBSA.
- If someone else is doing this step on your behalf, the CBSA requires a letter of authorization and a photocopy of your identification.
- You will be given an official receipt indicating that you have paid duties and/or taxes paid to the CBSA.
- A copy of this receipt must be presented to the courier, either in person or by fax, at which time receipt or delivery of the shipment may be arranged.
Gifts 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).
- If you receive a gift by courier and it is worth Can$60 or less, you do not need to pay duties and/or taxes.
- If the gift is worth more than Can$60, you need to pay any applicable duties and/or taxes on any amount exceeding Can$60.
- Example: If a relative sends you a gift worth Can$200, you must pay any applicable duties, GST or HST and PST on the difference of Can$140.
Items that do not qualify for the Can$60 gift exemption include the following:
- advertising material, and
- items sent by a business, company or association.
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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