Question for Canadians ...

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by RobertInOntario, Jun 21, 2007.

  1. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I have a question concerning customs/duty for when you might buy some railway items from the US or UK, etc.

    I've just just ordered a model diesel brake fan from the US off the the web and it still hasn't arrived (I ordered it about 10 days ago).

    But I have bought several small items -- decals, traction tires, books, etc. -- from the UK and have never had to pay any customs or duty charges. These items (from the UK) also arrive very quickly in the mail -- only 4-5 days!!

    Occasionally, I've considered buying something larger from these countries, i.e. an actual model loco or a chassis ....

    Has anyone ever been hit with any customs/duty charges when buying stuff from the US or UK and, if so, roughly how much & for what sort of purchase?

    I'm thinking of both eBay purchases as well as regular businesses.

    Thanks! Just curious -- perhaps it's better to make most of my stuff from Canadian sources?

  2. Bones

    Bones Member

    I've made purchases from the UK, Japan, China, and Canada for train related items. All have been shipped to the US.
    Although I had a shipment of multiple Kato chassis held up in customs for 14 days, the package was never tampered with.
    I have never had to pay any import fees, or had any problems.

    For items not train related, I've imported hand made tapestries from Afghanistan and Pakistan. The full value of the items was declared on customs documents and no delays, fees, or taxes were ever imposed.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    How was it shipped? I find the post office (with the duly completed declaration forms) to be the best way.

    The couriers all seem to find a way to be slower and more expensive than the post office in cross-border cases.

  4. beamish

    beamish HO & Steam Engineer

    I dont usually have to pay duty on most of the stuff i have bought. I have had to pay fees for some of the larger stuff i bought. I think it was about 20$ on a motorcycle jacket, and about 5-10 for a 70$ radio. For train stuff i have never had to pay anything extra.

    As for purchasing from the UK i have found in many cases it was cheaper shipping and much faster than shipping from the US, however i have only ever purchased small items from the UK.

    good luck with your purchases.
  5. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks for this helpful info. BTW, my (above mentioned) brake fan just arrived in the mail today -- and I had no problems with customs or having to pay duty. Cheers, Rob
  6. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    I've found in my ordering that items bought privately over ebay hardly ever get duty or the taxes charged. However ordering larger items from a mail-order company like internet Trains will usually be tagged with duty charges.
  7. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    Most of the time for Can-eh-dian buyers it's just random luck to get taxed or not. On other forums I frequent there is great discussion among Can-eh-dian members about which forms of shipping get hit the most; a lot of times the shipping method can determine what gets taxed. It seems everything that goes into the country via DHL gets hit as it is processed through a central office in Ontario. Items that go through the Canadian Post seem to get hit less than half the time.

    Your best bet it to make sure items you are receiving include an invoice so if a package is intercepted by customs agents it is not overvalued. If you buy a used engine for $30 you want to be only taxed for the $30 you paid for it and not the $100 the agent thinks it's worth. Also be sure if multiple packages are sent at the same time to have the seller mark them "1 of 3" and so on so that they are not taxed separately. If the carrier charges a COD fee for collecting the tax at your door this can reduce that amount.
  8. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Glen. That makes sense -- so it's an incentive to buy from more US-based eBay sellers. Cheers, Rob
  9. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks -- these are really good and helpful points as well. I'll try to watch how my items from the US are sent. Rob
  10. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I used to buy mail order stuff from the States back in the '70s and '80s, and on larger orders, duty was always charged: usually around 20% of the value (after it had been changed to Canadian dollars). You'd get a slip in the mail telling you to pick-up your goods at the post office customs room. Small parts, or items ordered direct from the manufacturer, unless the value was too high, almost always came direct to the house, with no duty charged. When bringing stuff back from the States, it was hit or miss whether you got pulled over, so we always declared an approximate value and took our chances. If you're down there for a week or two, you're allowed more duty-free stuff than if you only go for the day. Nowadays, if you do end up paying duty, you'll also get dinged for the GST, and all of these taxes are calculated on the value in Canadian dollars (not too much of a difference lately). Two days ago, I got $30.00 worth of parts from Bachmann and have received orders valued at over $100.00 from them, all duty-free. Bachmann (and many others) put a declared value sticker on the outside of the package, with the notation "Warranty Replacement Parts": while the packages were indeed parts, they were purchased for kitbashing projects.:wink:
    On occasion, I have mailed parcels from the States to myself as "unsolicited gifts" - I believe at that time the duty-free limit on the value was $100.00.

  11. stripes

    stripes Member

    I wish I knew how duty worked!! I have been spending $1000`s of dollars this last month on stock for my store. The duty I have been charged is insane. Some packages come in duty free and most are charged. There does not seem to be any ryhme or reason. I recieved $600.00 worth of train sets and got hit with $90.00 in duty! What I would like to find out is if I can get that money back because everything is for resale and will be taxed to the consumer ?
  12. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    David, you need to get in touch with Canada Customs, which I believe is part of Revenue Canada. There must be special arrangements for dealers like yourself who buy wholesale. Also, there should be provisions regarding the application of the GST.

  13. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    One more thing many people don't realize. There is no duty on products made in North America (with the exception of autos) NAFTA did away with duties on products that are made in Canada, US and mexico. I do two magor cross-border shopping trips a year and alway keep an eye out for things made in the USA.
  14. bill937ca

    bill937ca Member

    I have ordered from the US and Japan and have never been charged duty. But I have been charged GST, PST and the $5.00 handling charge applied by Revenue Canada to all shipments they snag. Read the grey and white form on your box carefully. It tells you what and how much you paid, the exchange rate and base amount the exchange was applied to. On the back there is an appeal form if you are overcharged. That happened to me once. The $ in the hand written declaration looked like a $ and 1 instead of $. I got charged on $162 US instead of $62 US. After several weeks I got a refund of the overcharge after sending in the appeal form and the original invoice. (I made a copy for me.)

    I recently had an order shipped UPS Standard to Canada after checking shipping rates on N scale buildings. USPS had raised their rates and wanted $18. UPS charged $11. But beware some times there is a hefty brokerage fee with UPS. A step-down converter I purchased a couple of weeks ago was $52 by UPS and $40 brokerage fee. But it came in 2 days and I was advised of the delivery date in advance. That never happens with the post office!!
  15. bill937ca

    bill937ca Member

    David, you probably should discuss this with your accountant also. GST paid out by businesses can be claimed back.

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