Any Canadians ordering from the US? Need a few pointers.

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by bla, Dec 3, 2006.

  1. bla

    bla TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone,

    I'm a student living in Montreal, and I know that shipping anything from the US could become very costly very fast. I've had some bad experience with UPS when a computer bought from the US was shipped to Canada; and I wouldn't care to repeat the same mistakes if I buy camera equipment from across the border.

    So basically, I'm slightly confused about paying duties, taxes (GST, PST: Provincial Sales Tax?, HST: Harmonized Sales Tax?), and brokerage fees at the border.

    Are photographic equipment exempt from duties? And if anyone lives in Alberta, do you only pay GST (no PST or HST) when you ship from the US to Canada? If so, my parents live in Calgary, and maybe I can send it to them first. Paying only 7% tax instead of the full 15% would be worth it.

    Feedback from anyone with any experience in this or has heard something about this would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    There are (or shouldn't be) and duties on photography equipment coming from the US to Canada. You do have to pay 6% GST though. Alberta has no PST, so we don't pay that...but I'm not sure if you do in the other provinces.

    I've been stuck with heavy 'brokerage' charges when receiving shipments from UPS Ground. I've heard that FedEx & other ground services are the same. I think you can avoid brokerage fees by shipping by air...but of course that is more expensive.

    I've found that the best way for us Canadians to receive a shippment...is though the US Postal service. I've bought several smaller things and usually get away without paying any extra fees. I don't know if their ground service will get you for brokerage or not.
     
  3. Johno

    Johno TPF Noob!

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    I've ordered the majority of my equipment online and I've found that lately I've been leaning towards purchasing equipment from within Canada. Between conversion, Tax and the hidden "brokerage" fees that Mike talked about you actually aren't saving that much money, and you've got to wait an extra week or more for customs to clear your package. There are certainly brands that are only available from companies in the states (Dynatran... etc) but for the widely available stuff I suggest checking out Vistek or Camera Canada. I bought My 24-70L from Vistek and only spent $40cad more than B&H, plus it arrived in two days instead of 2 weeks. Just a thought. And yes, anything containing optical glass is Duty free (Camera lenses, Filters, Telescopes, Microscopes..... etc excluding only disposable cameras)
     
  4. Bobby Ironsights

    Bobby Ironsights TPF Noob!

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    Well, being a Canadian that lives close (25 min) to the border, I simply get my stuff sent to Rydens general store (minnesota), if the seller doesn't send it to canada.

    Then I just declare it as a purchase, when I come back across the border.

    Many places cross border, offer this kind of drop box service, they charge generally 3-8 dollars/package, depending on size of package.

    I've also recieved small packages sent from the states, and if they are sent via USPS and have "gift" marked on the customs slip, no duties apply.

    I "hear" that alot of ebay sellers are fairly cool about marking this on the slip. :hug:: Especially private sellers.

    But of course, I'm not advocating taking advantage of the reasonableness of the customs laws.

    Personally I hate the UPS and FEDEX :banghead: for those brokerage fees, I generally refuse to use their service for just that reason.
     
  5. bla

    bla TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone!

    Montreal is a little far from the border and I lack a means of transportation, so I decided that shipping to Alberta would probably the best idea.

    Again, thanks for your help.
     
  6. imageswest

    imageswest TPF Noob!

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