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I am a UK resident, and will be traveling to Toronto, Ontario in a couple weeks. I have ordered a laptop from a US company who state:

International orders ship via UPS. Generally, shipments are delivered within 4 business days of shipment. UPS will ship your computer to the nearest customs office. Once customs clears the package, you will be contacted for delivery authorization to your residence or place of business.

UPS service includes shipment and insurance. [We do] not collect taxes or duties for orders being shipped internationally. To determine taxes or duties owed, if any, please contact your customs office with both the description of your order and its total price.

The Canadian Government's calculator suggests I will owe a couple hundred dollars.

I will only be in Toronto for 2 days, and I'm shipping to a business address - but I cannot expect the business to pay the import duties on my behalf. How will the duties be collected, and will it be a time-consuming process?

  • In my experience you usually get an email with a link so that you can pay the fee online by debit/credit card – Traveller Sep 6 '18 at 16:54
  • @Traveller thanks - from the shipping company, presumably? after which it is dispatched from its destination sorting center – David Sep 6 '18 at 16:56
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    Just a heads-up - UPS charges fairly significant brokerage fees atop the taxes they collect for the Canadian and various provincial governments. The brokerage fee could add another $50 or $100 to the actual taxes that the government will get. – Jim MacKenzie Sep 6 '18 at 18:24
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In my experience, UPS will phone you at the number given as being yours on the shipping documents, offering to clear the package through customs for you. You have the right to clear it yourself and would save a brokerage fee by doing so, but you won't want to do this if you will only be in Toronto for a couple of days. Let them clear it. Understand this service could cost you $50 to $100 or more atop the taxes charged. (It's money UPS keeps for processing your package through customs.)

You can mention when they call you that you want to prepay the taxes. They should be able to call you or email you with the details. Alternatively, you could make arrangements with the business where your package is going to pay them for you. Typically, the taxes are collected at the point where the package is delivered.

You shouldn't have to pay duty (duty isn't charged on computers in Canada) but you will pay Ontario HST, a harmonized provincial/federal sales tax of 13% at the time I write this, plus whatever brokerage fee UPS charges you for the privilege.

I researched but it appears that neither Ontario nor Canada offer any sort of visitor tax rebate, except for certain expenses made for accommodations and transportation for organized tours of foreigners, which would not apply in your case (even if you were on such a tour, this purchase falls outside it).

Safe travels and I hope you enjoy Canada!

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