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Subject: Driving from USA to Canada with board games rss

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Noway Jose
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Hey folks! Happy Canadian here with a question concerning board games, miniatures and Canadian duty.

There is this service out of point grey USA called the letter carrier, let's you ship packages to an American address and us Canadians in greater Vancouver can drive the 40 minutes to get it, pick it up and bring it back.

Now I am considering doing this and my buddy said I may get charged duty on miniatures/board games i ship there.

Now forgive my ignorance, but is this something that would break the bank on say 100 bucks of stuff. Am I paying hst? Pretty confused to be honest! Help? Lol
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Cast Ll'tor
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Two words.

Free trade.

Basically, you pay GST (and PST) on the total if they care to charge you.

Nothing to break the bank, and definitely cheaper than buying them full retail in Canada.


Care to pick up my package while you are there???
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Noway Jose
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Oh. But if I buy from say miniature market don't I get charged tax from them as well since it ships to a us address?
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Joel Fox
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I do this quite frequently, it is fantastic
Officially they are supposed to charge HST, but they rarely do. I've taken several shipments worth $300-$400 across the border without getting charged, but one time I did have to pay taxes on a desk worth $1000.

You don't get charged tax for shipping to WA. I don't know all the tax laws very well, but I do know that I never got charged. Lack of tax + free shipping + low USA prices = drool.

BTW I'm assuming you meant 'point roberts'. I use a place called TSB shipping there. They charge about $4 per box of stuff, so if it's all in one shipment it will only cost $4. I'm not sure if there are cheaper options.
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M C
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I've got 90% of my collection across the border. I don't buy much in Canada any more. Generally you will only be charged HST, and then only if you have enough stuff to make it worth their bother.

Protip - crying kids in the back seat increase your odds of getting waved through with higher amounts.

A friend and I bought enough games once that the customs agent asked us if we ran a board game store.
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Jeff Michaud
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If you have the time to do so before driving back it may be worthwhile to remove shrink on all games and punch and bag them... now they look used. This is assuming of course HST is only charged on new merchandise, but I may be assuming incorrectly.
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John
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For those in Eastern BC and Western Alberta,
I recently sold a game on Amazon to a Canadian customer who had the item shipped to a c/o Porthill Mercantile in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Bonners Ferry is right near the border.

Part of me thinks though that the savings is somewhat negated recently by the increase in gas prices.

As long as you are not going with a truckload I don't think you will be charged at the border.

I love the crying kids tip.



 
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Noway Jose
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Interesting, so you are saying if I come across and say "had some stuff miniatures shipped to point Roberts letter carrier and bringing them home" they wont always charge me, And if they do just the hst?
 
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David
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Boze wrote:
Oh. But if I buy from say miniature market don't I get charged tax from them as well since it ships to a us address?


Only if Miniature Market ships from Washington will they charge you washington sales tax. There is no GST in the U.S.

I also think there is a limit that you can take over the border without being charged. $100-$300 per person or something like that, depending on how long you stay. We used to do our Boxing Day shopping in Washington back when I lived in Vancouver and we had family in Seattle.
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Ben Crane
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majormajor wrote:
You don't get charged tax for shipping to WA. I don't know all the tax laws very well, but I do know that I never got charged. Lack of tax + free shipping + low USA prices = drool.


The way sales tax works in the US is it is charged by the state. The federal government charges no sales tax. A merchant selling in state (thus, any brick-and-mortar store or an online merchant shipping to an address in a state where they have a physical presence) is legally obligated to collect sales tax for the state.

A sales tax is still due on out-of-state purchases, but the merchant is not responsible for its collection. Rather, the consumer is responsible for reporting and paying any out-of-state purchases on which no sales tax was paid on their annual state income tax returns. (This is one of the ways that Amazon has further built their price advantage. They not only have enormous economies of scale, but also almost nobody has to pay sales tax on their stuff).

What it means for you is that so long as you are having the games shipped to a state where the store you are buying them from has no physical presence, then you will not be charged any sales tax on them in the US. You're on your own on the Canadian tax, though.
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Boze wrote:
Interesting, so you are saying if I come across and say "had some stuff miniatures shipped to point Roberts letter carrier and bringing them home" they wont always charge me, And if they do just the hst?


I generally avoid being so specific with the border guards unless asked. I'd personally be more inclined to say something along the lines of "I purchased some board games and toy soldiers", and have the receipt physically in my hand so that the person in the booth can see that I'm prepared to back up my statement if asked. Be honest, but keep it simple and only elaborate if questioned by answering the specific questions that are asked without going off on tangents or getting into details. (If you've ever had the... unique... experience of being cross-examined on a witness stand, you'll know what I'm driving at!)
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Noway Jose
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Bascaria wrote:
majormajor wrote:
You don't get charged tax for shipping to WA. I don't know all the tax laws very well, but I do know that I never got charged. Lack of tax + free shipping + low USA prices = drool.


The way sales tax works in the US is it is charged by the state. The federal government charges no sales tax. A merchant selling in state (thus, any brick-and-mortar store or an online merchant shipping to an address in a state where they have a physical presence) is legally obligated to collect sales tax for the state.

A sales tax is still due on out-of-state purchases, but the merchant is not responsible for its collection. Rather, the consumer is responsible for reporting and paying any out-of-state purchases on which no sales tax was paid on their annual state income tax returns. (This is one of the ways that Amazon has further built their price advantage. They not only have enormous economies of scale, but also almost nobody has to pay sales tax on their stuff).

What it means for you is that so long as you are having the games shipped to a state where the store you are buying them from has no physical presence, then you will not be charged any sales tax on them in the US. You're on your own on the Canadian tax, though.


Cool! Thanks for the info! But is warmachine actually made in the USA? From what i understand u pay duty on items made outside of the usa
 
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Ben Crane
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Boze wrote:
Bascaria wrote:
majormajor wrote:
You don't get charged tax for shipping to WA. I don't know all the tax laws very well, but I do know that I never got charged. Lack of tax + free shipping + low USA prices = drool.


The way sales tax works in the US is it is charged by the state. The federal government charges no sales tax. A merchant selling in state (thus, any brick-and-mortar store or an online merchant shipping to an address in a state where they have a physical presence) is legally obligated to collect sales tax for the state.

A sales tax is still due on out-of-state purchases, but the merchant is not responsible for its collection. Rather, the consumer is responsible for reporting and paying any out-of-state purchases on which no sales tax was paid on their annual state income tax returns. (This is one of the ways that Amazon has further built their price advantage. They not only have enormous economies of scale, but also almost nobody has to pay sales tax on their stuff).

What it means for you is that so long as you are having the games shipped to a state where the store you are buying them from has no physical presence, then you will not be charged any sales tax on them in the US. You're on your own on the Canadian tax, though.


Cool! Thanks for the info! But is warmachine actually made in the USA? From what i understand u pay duty on items made outside of the usa


If you are importing the item yourself (i.e., ordering it from an international retailer and shipping it to the US), then yes, you will have to pay an import duty, just as you would theoretically have to pay an import duty when bringing it across the US/Canadian border. If you aren't importing it yourself, then any import duty would be paid by the importer and already factored into the retail price.
 
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M C
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Quote:
Cool! Thanks for the info! But is warmachine actually made in the USA? From what i understand u pay duty on items made outside of the usa


Theoretically, you pay duty on certain kinds of items manufactured outside of North America. I've only ever had to pay duty twice. Once when I imported my car, and again when we brought a bunch of clothes. The duty was like an extra 7%.

If you have to pay duty, it's not much money. Most of the time it's not worth their bother. Just be honest and bringing stuff over the border will be a piece of cake. I've never been charged tax from online stores, and I've ordered from Miniature Market too.
 
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Fraser
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I have literally brought thousands of dollars worth of games from the US to Canada. I did in fact, get questioned once as to why I was bringing so many games across. The guy was sure I owned a game store but I pointed out that it would be weird to only bring back a single copy of each game if I was selling them in a retail store. In any event, there is no duty on board games which is nice. You will get dinged the GST (or HST is some provinces) if you go over your allowable $ limit.

Another protip: Bring all your kids (5 in my case) with you when bringing games back as the allowable $ amount you can bring back is per person. Also when the boarder guy sees that it's just me with 5 kids, there is no way he wants me to bring them all into the office and generally waveme through.
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M C
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The Nomad wrote:
Also when the boarder guy sees that it's just me with 5 kids, there is no way he wants me to bring them all into the office and generally wave me through.


Do you bring your boarders to increase your allowable limit too?
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Noway Jose
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The Nomad wrote:
I have literally brought thousands of dollars worth of games from the US to Canada. I did in fact, get questioned once as to why I was bringing so many games across. The guy was sure I owned a game store but I pointed out that it would be weird to only bring back a single copy of each game if I was selling them in a retail store. In any event, there is no duty on board games which is nice. You will get dinged the GST (or HST is some provinces) if you go over your allowable $ limit.

Another protip: Bring all your kids (5 in my case) with you when bringing games back as the allowable $ amount you can bring back is per person. Also when the boarder guy sees that it's just me with 5 kids, there is no way he wants me to bring them all into the office and generally waveme through.


Where can I find out allowable limit?!?>
 
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M C
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Quote:
Starting on June 1, 2012, duty free limits for cross border shoppers will increase as follows:

for trips of more than 24 hours and less that 48 hours, the duty free allowance will increase from the current limit of $50 to $200.
for trips of more than 48 hours but less than 7 days, the duty free allowance will increase from the current limit of $400 to $800.
for trips of more than 7 days, the duty free limit will increase by $50, from the current limit of $750 to $800.
duty free limits for tobacco and alcohol will remain unchanged.

While cross border shoppers will certainly welcome these duty free limit increases, there was one notable omission in the budget that is sure to disappoint Canadians living near the U.S. border: a same-day duty free allowance for short-term shopping trips of less than 24 hours.


But the exemptions don't count unless you are in the US for more than 24 hours.
 
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One Armed Bandit
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Boze wrote:
There is this service out of point grey USA called the letter carrier, let's you ship packages to an American address and us Canadians in greater Vancouver can drive the 40 minutes to get it, pick it up and bring it back.


Yeppers! I'm in Surrey, and I use a similar service in Blaine for my online orders.
http://www.mbistore.com
(It's also right next to the super cheap supermarket and gas station, and those things are cheaper than in Point Roberts).

I have never once had to pay duty on boardgames I've brought back. I will usually go down and pick up $200+ in board games, and another $200+ in groceries. It's usually 2-3 of us going down.

The key is to be honest about what you're doing. I always describe the games in the broad term "toys and games", and then if asked, I say "board games" or "specialty board games" (I use "specialty" if they say "like monopoly?").

Whether you get charged is ultimately up to the border guard in question. 99.999% of the time, it's not enough to bother with, and not worth the hassle.

The ONE time a guard thought it was worthwhile, I was bringing back over $500 in games (plus almost $500 in groceries) after xmas. He sent us in to a customs agent for a full appraisal and charging.

She looked at the slip he had written on, asked us briefly about what we had, and then muttered "What the fuck was his problem?" and sent us on our way.

You are far more likely to pay duty on things shipped over the border. Even then it's not a whole lot. I paid like $30 on a $250 shipment once. Annoying, but worth it.
 
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Jeff Michaud
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palmerkun wrote:
You are far more likely to pay duty on things shipped over the border. Even then it's not a whole lot. I paid like $30 on a $250 shipment once. Annoying, but worth it.

though warning about shipping into Canada, even if duty is not much, processing fees by the carrier to handle the duty can be expensive, see

WARNING!!! NEVER USE UPS TO SHIP TO CANADA

and

Best way to ship to Canada from the US?
 
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Caleb
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JeffyJeff wrote:
If you have the time to do so before driving back it may be worthwhile to remove shrink on all games and punch and bag them... now they look used. This is assuming of course HST is only charged on new merchandise, but I may be assuming incorrectly.


Seriously? You're providing tips on tax evasion in a public venue? goo
 
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Jeff Michaud
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cannoneer wrote:
JeffyJeff wrote:
If you have the time to do so before driving back it may be worthwhile to remove shrink on all games and punch and bag them... now they look used. This is assuming of course HST is only charged on new merchandise, but I may be assuming incorrectly.
Seriously? You're providing tips on tax evasion in a public venue?

yes sir!
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Noway Jose
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palmerkun wrote:
Boze wrote:
There is this service out of point grey USA called the letter carrier, let's you ship packages to an American address and us Canadians in greater Vancouver can drive the 40 minutes to get it, pick it up and bring it back.


Yeppers! I'm in Surrey, and I use a similar service in Blaine for my online orders.
http://www.mbistore.com
(It's also right next to the super cheap supermarket and gas station, and those things are cheaper than in Point Roberts).

I have never once had to pay duty on boardgames I've brought back. I will usually go down and pick up $200+ in board games, and another $200+ in groceries. It's usually 2-3 of us going down.

The key is to be honest about what you're doing. I always describe the games in the broad term "toys and games", and then if asked, I say "board games" or "specialty board games" (I use "specialty" if they say "like monopoly?").

Whether you get charged is ultimately up to the border guard in question. 99.999% of the time, it's not enough to bother with, and not worth the hassle.

The ONE time a guard thought it was worthwhile, I was bringing back over $500 in games (plus almost $500 in groceries) after xmas. He sent us in to a customs agent for a full appraisal and charging.

She looked at the slip he had written on, asked us briefly about what we had, and then muttered "What the fuck was his problem?" and sent us on our way.

You are far more likely to pay duty on things shipped over the border. Even then it's not a whole lot. I paid like $30 on a $250 shipment once. Annoying, but worth it.


Sweet thanks for the tip bro! So when you went down to get groceries/board games, were you down for at least 24 hours?
 
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Boze wrote:
Sweet thanks for the tip bro! So when you went down to get groceries/board games, were you down for at least 24 hours?


Nope!

Less than 6 hours every time.
Often less than 3. Cross over, grab some lunch, an hour in the Cost Cutter supermarket (you've never been so spoiled as to be able to buy 1 kilo blocks of cheese for $6, $2.50 for a jug of milk, and 99 cents for a loaf of bread), maybe 15 minutes in the MBI Store (between them fetching the boxes, and me opening, verifying and dumping all the peanuts), and drive back.

The key points here are
A: Books, games and toys are DUTY FREE. They're still taxable, but there is no DUTY.
B: Groceries are duty AND tax free.
C: There's a general rule of thumb with guards that if half or more of what you're bringing back is tax and duty free, to just wave you on.

In regards to C... if you're going to cross frequently, get a NEXUS card, it lets you take the fast lane through the crossing, and do an express customs checkout.
Basically, you fill out a declaration slip, and drop it in a bin. If they actually assess you with duty/tax, they'll charge your credit card in a week or two.

Here's the thing. That "more than half" rule? That's actually a NEXUS rule. If your purchases are 51% (by dollar value) non-taxable/non-duty... then by Revenue Canada's OWN rules, you're not charged on any of it.
 
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