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Customs duty, taxes, and exemptions

It’s important to know what duty or taxes may need to be paid when an international item is shipped or received. However, there are some exemptions.

Customs duty and taxes

Any item mailed into Canada is potentially subject to duty and taxes, with few exceptions. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) collects provincial sales taxes (PST) and harmonized sales taxes (HST) according to the province of residence on most taxable imports valued at over CAN$20.

Visit CBSA online if you want to:

  • Learn more about mail imports
  • Ask questions about the collection of taxes
  • Get more information on mail imports, duty, and taxes

We apply a handling fee of CAN$9.95 per dutiable or taxable mail item. This fee is in line with the government’s efforts to help recover costs from those who benefit from services. It's also similar to arrangements in the United States and other countries.

Mail items containing merchandise enter Canada through CBSA screening centres. CBSA officers inspect and assess these items for applicable customs duties and taxes.

If you owe duties and taxes, you can now pay online instead of at the time of delivery when you track your item online or by using the Canada Post mobile app.

When the item is eligible for you to pay online:

  1. Click the "Pay" button on screen.
  2. Follow the instructions to complete a secure online payment using a credit card.
  3. Complete the online payment.
  4. Wait for an email confirmation that includes a number and barcode.
  5. Show this number and barcode as proof of payment if our delivery agent asks for it when your package arrives

When you pay your duty and taxes online, and the package doesn’t need a signature, the delivery agent will try to deliver the item to your usual delivery location. The delivery agent will also take into consideration your delivery preference (for example, leave at the front door) if provided.

If you don’t pay online, we collect the fees on behalf of the CBSA at the time of delivery or pick up.

We accept the following methods of payment:

Before delivery:

  • Online by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express)

At the time of delivery:

  • Credit card (Visa, Master Card, or American Express)
  • Cash
  • Certified cheque or uncertified business cheque (payable to Canada Post Corporation)
  • Commercial cheque
  • Commercial account

You should keep a copy of the E14 invoice as a receipt for your records.

Mail items valued at less than CAN$20

The CBSA doesn’t assess duty or tax on mail items valued at CAN$20 or less. But this general rule doesn’t apply to certain products including:

  • Intoxicating beverages
  • Cigarettes
  • Publications where the supplier is required to register under the Excise Tax Act
  • Cigars
  • Manufactured tobacco

Also, you may not combine this with other exemptions. The CBSA doesn’t consider items to be of low value in cases where you split a single transaction into smaller shipments to keep the value below CAN$20.

Gifts

Gifts from friends and relatives, valued at CAN$60 or less, are duty and tax exempt. In cases where the gift is valued at more than CAN$60, the CBSA will assess duties and taxes on the extra amount. You must send the gift to the recipient personally and include a card or other notice indicating that it’s a gift. Items that don’t qualify as gifts include:

  • Tobacco
  • Advertising material
  • Intoxicating beverages
  • Items sent by a business to a consumer in Canada and vice versa

Other exemptions

Customs duty may not apply to certain products or products manufactured in certain countries. For example, there are generally no customs duties applicable to products that qualify under the Canada – United States – Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).

Appealing duty and tax assessments

If you believe the CBSA made an error in the assessment of duties and taxes, the CBSA offers two choices to facilitate the request for an adjustment:

Option 1

Both businesses and consumers may ask for an adjustment before paying the amount shown online or on the E14 Invoice. In this case, you must:

  • Check the return to CBSA option on the E14 Invoice
  • Provide a telephone number

We’ll return the package to the CBSA for a review of the duty and taxes shown on the E14 Invoice. As part of the process, the CBSA may contact the addressee to discuss the reasons for the review.

Option 2

You may pay the amount online or at the time of delivery and then submit a request for an adjustment after payment and delivery. In this case, commercial importers must file a Form B2 and consumers may file for a refund by following the instructions on the reverse side of the E14 Invoice.

Please note:

If you use Option 1, the CBSA won’t release the item for delivery until they’ve completed their review. This means that we can’t deliver your package until you pay the amounts owing, regardless if an adjustment is pending. So, you may wish to consider Option 2 because you’ll receive the item while the appeal is processed. Please visit the CBSA website for more information about appeals and adjustments.

We’re providing this information as a convenience only. All of this information is subject to change without notice, and we don't guarantee its accuracy or completeness. It's your responsibility to make sure that you are complying with all applicable requirements when you send or receive international mail items.