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A few months back I've purchased a set of expensive headphones in the US and dutifully declared them when coming back to Canada. Now I would like to travel to the US again and carry the same headphones in my backpack. When coming back to Canada, would I need to re-declare the item as technically it wasn't purchased in Canada? If not, how do I prove that the headphones have already been imported to Canada and I don't need to pay duty on them any longer?

If it matters, in the first trip I've verbally declared that I'm carrying the headphones when re-entering Canada by car and thus didn't have to fill out a customs declaration. I did not pay any duty as I was below the duty free limit at that time.

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Unless you on your next trip bring your headphones in their original packaging and they still look pristine and brand new, I doubt that anything so common for a traveller as a set of headphones will attract any attention at all by customs.

I don't find any guidelines from Canadian customs on this subject, but what works elsewhere in the world, and most likely also in Canada, is to bring the receipt for paid duty when travelling the next time.

If I guess correctly, you don't have such a receipt since you only declared the headphones when entering the first time without paying any duties, probably because the value was below the free allowance. You are not very clear on this in your question. If so, you should also have the option to get a confirmation from Canadian customs when you leave the next time, that you bring the headphones with you when you leave Canada, so that they are exempt from duties when bringing them back in again. This is generally recommended in many countries if you bring very expensive or unusual items with you from home when travelling as a tourist, to prevent any suspicion that you have bought the items abroad when returning to your home country.

  • I did not pay anything on the first trip, question amended. – JonathanReez Jan 19 at 19:48
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By the letter of policy, you shouldn't need to redeclare them when coming back in (the original declaration meant that you legally imported them the first time) but as per this memorandum you should properly complete a form BSF407 ("green form") "Identification of Articles for Temporary Exportation" as identification that you've identified the goods to the CBSA as having been legally in Canada previously. The form is apparently reusable.

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