View Full Version : Import Duty

Ron Marshall
25-Mar-2005, 18:21
Calling all Canadians.

I am a Canadian currently living in Chicago. I have purchased all of my LF gear since coming to the US. Next year I will return to Canada so I am wondering how much I will get burned at customs.

I know that every two weeks one is allowed $750 duty free, but beyond that would anyone happen to know what the rate is.

Steve McKinney
25-Mar-2005, 20:27
God forbid I counsel you to break the law, but how are they going to know where you bought your camera equipment?

Ron Marshall
25-Mar-2005, 21:47
Steve, if they check and I can't prove that they were purchased in Canada, then they will be seized.

Robert Skeoch
25-Mar-2005, 21:49
Just so you know, there is no duty on "professional camera equipment used for still photography" when entering Canada.
the only thing you might have to pay is the PST and GST, but I doubt if they'll collect it since you lived in the US.

Ron Marshall
25-Mar-2005, 21:56
Rob, does it make any difference that I am not a professional?

26-Mar-2005, 00:20

This document in the link below explains how you declare your personal posessions when you move back to Canada. Basically, there is no duty on any personal belongings, provided you have lived out of Canada for at least a year and the goods were not purchased within 6 months before your return. When I moved back, customs didn't really check anything, even though I had bought goods within the 6 month window. I payed no duty at all on my copious amounts of foreign-purchased LF equipment. I think they're too busy, and if you don't fit their "suspicious" profile they won't bother with you. You have to fill out the form B4, Personal Effects Accounting Document (there's a link the the site listed below), listing all your goods with serial numbers and value, and it's best to have these ready before you cross the border.


Good luck with your move back,

Jim Landecker

mark blackman
26-Mar-2005, 02:11
why not tell them your a thief and stole your LF gear, hence you never paid a penny for it?

mark anderson
26-Mar-2005, 08:37
bring 5 cartons of cigarettes and they wont even look at the photo gear

Ron Marshall
26-Mar-2005, 10:04
Many thanks to all, especially Jim.

Now I can complete my kit without concern for the future obligations of current purchases. That is, beyond the obligation of trying to generate a few prints that I am satisfied with!

26-Mar-2005, 13:44

I don't think you're providing enough details to warrant input here. There's a few factors to consider in light of the fact that you're living in the US.

1. When you moved down to the US... did you become a Non-resident for Canadian tax purposes? For example, did you retain a domicile here in Canada? Do you have a Canadian bank account? In other words, did you have any legal ties to Canada?

2. How long have you lived in the US?

3. How often did you travel back and forth into Canada during the time you've been away?

I believe the answers to the above questions will impact on what happens when you move back into Canada. That said, I would suggest that you go and speak with someone at Customs to confirm the situation. Personally speaking...I wouldn't take the advice proferred here (in spite of the good intentions) as being the gospel truth... just make sure for yourself. Phone Canadian Customs & Immigration and lay out the facts of the situation for the de facto answer!

A lot of Canadians became Ex-pats of Canada when they moved over to Hong Kong a few years ago (I'm in Vancouver)... and, when they moved back into Canada, I believe they were able to bring their household goods into the country without incurring any taxes.


26-Mar-2005, 14:09
Remember taxes are different then duties. Becoming a non-resident or remaining a resident may not make any difference. My guess is he'll be able to bring in personal goods without much trouble. Unless he tries to bring in a crate of cameras then customs will start wondering if they really are personal goods. Snow birds are still residents but I doubt they get any hassle hauling items back and forth over the border.

BTW I agree call the consulate and the agency. Get things in writing before hand. Don't throw out what they tell you. Just file the document some place safe.

26-Mar-2005, 19:15
FYI: I didn't become a non-resident, and was away more than a year. I was treated according to the documents I referred to in my previous post. Customs really didn't make a big deal of it.


Andrew O'Neill
26-Mar-2005, 22:31
I lived in Japan for 12 years. I purchased all my photo stuff while living over there. Two 4x5s, medium format stuff, all my darkroom stuff too. I shipped it all in boxes back to Canada when I came back (2 years ago). No problems at all. I had my 8x10 and lenses in my backback. Strolled through customs with no problems either. The customs man was suprised to see how long I was out of the country. Nice of him to say, "welcome home".
I too was all stressed before I left Japan. Was I going to lose all my precious stuff?? No worries.