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shipping from US to Canada...or carry over border???(8 posts)

shipping from US to Canada...or carry over border???Frith
Aug 27, 2003 10:45 AM
I know this question comes up quite a bit but knowing the ins and outs of cross border shipping seems to require a degree in economics. Here are the particulars...
I want to ship a used Serotta frame (American made) from somewhere in the US to me in Toronto.
Option #1: I have a friend who lives just across the border (2 hour drive max) I could have it shipped to him and drive it across myself...If I do this what should my story be at the border...Nothing to claim hope they don't check the trunk? Claim bike as a gift? Claim it as bought but devalue it? Claim actual value (could be anywhere from 500 - 1000 USD)?
Option #2: Ship it straight to Toronto. I assume USPS ground is the way to go(???). What kind of stuff should I have the shipper put on the slip? (made in USA? Gift? Valued at under $20?) How about insurance?

The tax man cometh...Spunout
Aug 27, 2003 10:54 AM
Depends on what you want to pay in taxes. USPS is the way to go, the mail won't charge you crazy brokerage fees like UPS will.

If the seller would say that it is worth $100, go for it! You will pay $15 in taxes, and that is worth more your time and fuel to drive 2 hours to pick it up.

I'm not sure about insurance, but if I was a grumpy border guard and noticed a $50 declaration on a package insured for $1,000...
What do you need a story for?TJeanloz
Aug 27, 2003 10:55 AM
It's used. So you have a frame in the back of your trunk. You've owned it for a long time. Nothing to claim.
Aug 27, 2003 11:02 AM
Why all the complex machinations to defeat 'the man'? I know it's a novel concept anymore, but why not just tell the truth, pay the piper, and consider it an added transactional cost? I don't imagine you'll take a big hit (admittedly I could be wrong), but in any event it'll likely be simpler and you may sleep better.

No offense intended, just my take.
There should be no duty.kermit
Aug 27, 2003 11:45 AM
Bicycles are covered under NAFTA. The frame is manufactured in the US so you can bring it into Canada duty free. You will likely have to pay a $5 customs fee. No one seems to know what this fee is for, probably just a cash grab by the CCRA (Canada Customs and Revenue Agency). You may also have to pay GST and PST even though the frame is used.

You are correct in assuming you should ship via USPS. Avoid FedEx and UPS as they will likely hit you with huge brokerage fees.

I'd claim the actual amount you paid for it, and try to have some sort of receipt written out to back it up if you pick it up in person and drive it across the border. Definitely insure it through USPS if you decide to ship it.

kermit (A fellow Cdn)
re: shipping from US to Canada...or carry over border???hudsonite
Aug 27, 2003 11:49 AM
If the product is made in the US there is no duty.

If it is shipped in or carried in you must pay GST/PST. If you have it shipped in by UPS, you will also have to pay a brokerage fee. UPS is absolutely terrible with these fees, it could be 5 to 10 times the cost of shipment.

If you have it shipped second day air UPS or FedEx, the brokerage fee is included. It could actually be cheaper than ground

Do not drive it in without declaring it! This could cause you more trouble than you could believe. Depending upon the border guard, they could sieze your frame and your car. You have no recourse to get either back.

Now what they normally do (if they catch you), is charge you the GST/PST, give you a fine and flag you and your car for 5 years. That is 5 years of extra searches. But they are allowed to take everything!

If you drive across the border and pick it up, you may not have to pay as much tax, depending upon how long you stay in the US as you get a deduction based upon your stay.

The person shippng the frame must make a declartion of the selling price. The price and the insured value should be the same.

I suggest that you stay on the up and up and pay the tax. It hurts like hell, but that is the cost of being Canadian.

BTW, there is a semi-legal way of reducing the tax paid. One is to have it shipped to Alberta first. As there is no sales tax, the taxes will be less. The other, which I found out years ago by accident, drive the frame across a Quebec border crossing. In this case they only charge you GST not PST.

Net/Net when you figure the cost of gas and headaches, pay the tax and get the frame.
Here's how to pay no duty:Alexx
Aug 27, 2003 4:55 PM
Bring a bunch of components, and then RIDE it back!
My experiencesEric_H
Aug 28, 2003 12:09 PM
I live in White Rock, BC and I can ride to the border in about 10 minutes from home, so I have a lot of experience with border crossings and bike parts. Most of the previous posts have covered the logistics pretty well.

If you are having it shipped to Canada, do not use a courier, use USPS. You will get $5 handling plus GST/PST (though here in BC all bikes and parts are PST exempt). I do not know about shipping a frame with USPS but I have had wheels shipped this way. The brokerage fees with a courier are nasty. In that case it is better for me to drive down, pick it up and declare it, but I live very close.

If you want to attempt to cross with it undeclared, you should pack up the car with your bike and cycling stuff. When you cross back, say you were away at a race in the US. Some of my larger undeclared crossings have been on the way home from races in Washington state.