Canada column for Sunday, March 30/14
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
Canadian retailers are concerned that customs agents routinely waive taxes and duties on goods brought back from the United States.
A briefing note prepared for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada Border Services Agency officers waive fees when the value of returning goods is “below a certain threshold” not noted in the released document.
“This threshold was established in consideration of the cost to CBSA of processing a traveler through the collection process,” it said.
“Collections may also be waived in cases where the volume would result in unacceptable border processing delays, when interdiction activities are under way or for reasons determined by local management.”
The government document was in response to the Harper government’s concern over the Canada-U.S. price-gap that helps to encourage cross-border shopping
The Retail Council of Canada has complained the border agency is too lenient with cross-border shoppers, costing the economy millions of dollars in domestic sales.
More than 55-million trips are made by Canadians to the United States annually with 33- million same-day crossings mainly to shop, with collected taxes and duties of about $150 million.
Canadians have no duty-free exemption on same-day trips but can bring back up to $200 in goods after 24 hours and $800 after 48 hours away.