With 50 million Canadians crossing into the U.S. annually the rules and what you are allowed to bring are important to know. Here is a Duty Free Shopping Guide for Canadians.
What is Duty Free Shopping?
Stop at a Duty Free Shop on the Canada US Border for Discount Shopping, Washrooms, GST Rebate Services and Currency Exchange. Make sure to always save your receipts as the border guard may request this and aids in the duty process. ”Duty free” refers to items that can be purchased when crossing national borders. These items are free of taxes and duties and thus generally much cheaper than at regular stores. Duty free items are for “export only” and must be taken out of the country where purchased.
What Visitors Can Buy at Duty Free Shops on the Canadian / US Border?
Duty free shops offer deals on items that usually carry heavy duties and taxes. For example, visitors may save up to 50% on liquor and tobacco. Other popular items include perfume, watches, jewelry, accessories, candy, travel-related items and gifts.
Many duty free shops also have food courts, travel centers, GST Rebate services, business services, including faxes, telephones, photocopiers and telecommunication ports for laptop computers.
How much can I legally bring back from the United States to Canada?
Personal exemption amounts: The length of your absence from Canada determines the amount of goods you can bring back, without paying any duties.
Increased traveller personal exemption limits effective June 1, 2012
Canada Border Service Agency
Less than 24 hours
Personal exemptions do not apply to same-day cross-border shoppers.
24 hours or more
up to CAN$200Alcohol and tobacco cannot be claimed. Goods must be in your possession at time of entry to Canada. If the value of the goods you have purchased abroad exceeds $200 after a 24 hour absence, duty and taxes are applicable on the entire amount of the imported goods.
48 hours or more
up to CAN$800May include alcohol and tobacco products, within the prescribed limits set by provincial or territorial authorities. Goods must be in your possession at time of entry to Canada. Travellers absent for periods of 48 hours or more will have the applicable exemption level credited against the total value of goods.
7 days or more
up to CAN$800May include alcohol and tobacco products, within the prescribed limits set by provincial or territorial authorities. For the seven-day exemption, goods may be in your possession at time of entry to Canada but are also permitted to follow entry to Canada (such as via courier, mail or delivery agency), except alcohol and tobacco products, which must be in your possession. All the goods will qualify for duty- and tax-free entry if they are declared at the initial return to Canada.
You are allowed to import only one of the following amounts of alcohol free of duty and taxes:
1.5 litres (53 imperial ounces) of wine;
a total of 1.14 litres (40 ounces) of alcoholic beverages; or
up to a maximum of 8.5 litres of beer or ale.
Alcoholic beverages are products that exceed 0.5% alcohol by volume. Minimum ages for the importation of alcoholic beverages, as prescribed by provincial or territorial authorities, are 18 years for the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec and 19 years for the remaining provinces and territories.
If you are 18 years of age or over, you are allowed to bring in all of the following amounts of tobacco into Canada free of duty and taxes within your personal exemption:
200 grams (7 ounces) of manufactured tobacco; and
200 tobacco sticks.