I (a Canadian citizen) bought some consumer electronics in the USA and I will travel back to Canada, carrying the electronics. Some of these are intended as gifts, and some are for my personal use.

Under what circumstance will I have to pay import taxes?

The law indicates that anything entering by mail/courier will have to pay duty. Does this apply to items carried on person as well?

2 Answers 2


You should study the Personal exemptions mini guide. In short if you are away for 24-48 hours, you can bring 200 CAD duty free (but only if everything you bring is below) and for longer stays, the limit is 800 CAD (without that everything-limit). For seven days or longer, you are also allowed to not carry the things you declare but also to mail them home. You still need to declare them at the border.

Above the limit, a special duty of 7% applies on the next 300 CAD. GST/PST/HST applies if you are paying duties.

Doing a full blown import and how the NAFTA applies is far beyond this reply and I am afraid this site too.


You will have to pay duties on the total value of the goods if this total exceeds the allowed personal exemption, whether the goods are meant as gifts or are for personal use.

If some items were bought during your US visit but will arrive (by mail or otherwise) after you cross the border back to Canada, you must declare these items along with other items you bring back with yourself so the total value of goods your bring back to Canada for this trip includes the value of those items arriving separately from you.

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