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I work for a company headquartered in the United States, but I live and work in Canada, just across the border. The head office has purchased laptops for two of my coworkers and myself, but they were shipped to our headquarters in the US instead of my address in Canada.

I am considering having them ship the laptops to a location close to me in the USA, then going down and bringing them across the border myself. Work has already told me they will cover any applicable duty or taxes at the border; however, there are two questions I have not been able to answer:

  1. Is there any personal liability for myself in bringing these across the border?
  2. Are there any forms I need to fill out in order to do this?
  • Are these gifts -- eg intended to remain permanently in Canada? – Roddy of the Frozen Peas Dec 31 '18 at 18:56
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    They aren't "gifts" per se, but they are intended to remain in Canada. They will not be going back. – David Meredith Dec 31 '18 at 21:16
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    I think it’ll be much easier if you have them shipped to Canada. You will pay taxes on import, but the shipper will handle all formalities for you, which can sometimes be much easier than going through customs yourself. – jcaron Dec 31 '18 at 23:19
  • Thank you for your input. I called Canada Border Services Agency today, and they were very easy to get a hold of and helpful. They informed me that having the goods shipped to a PO box in the US would help avoid brokerage fees that the shipper would charge, and the transaction would be considered a "casual commercial importation." For electronics, I would only have to pay the GST. I'll report on what happens after I receive the shipment. – David Meredith Jan 2 at 15:54
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I was ultimately successful in bringing the goods across the border myself. It was, indeed, a "casual commercial importation"; however, there were a few things that I wish I had known and done in advance:

  1. If you bring a vehicle into the United States for the purposes of importing goods for business purposes, they may charge you a user fee. That fee, as of 2019-01-08, is USD13.20
  2. You will need an importer number. You can apply for one on the phone if you have a GST number and Canada Revenue Agency has you listed as a user on that account. Your importer number is usually very similar to your GST registration number
  3. You will need to fill out a B3 Import document. They have computers for this very purpose at the Sumas, WA/Abbotsford, BC border crossing
  4. You should have a paper copy of your actual invoice, not just an email on your phone

Everyone was very helpful and understanding, but they still expected it to be filled out correctly. In the end, it was a week or two faster than using a broker, and the company saved several hundred dollars in brokerage fees.

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