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I'm visiting Japan right now (I'm a Canadian resident) and am considering picking up a digital camera (second-hand, if that matters). The value of the camera would exceed the 800-dollar personal allowance that I see on the Canadian border website. I would also be using my foreign passport here to get a tax-free price.

Given this, what would I be paying at the border when I arrive at Canadian customs? Is there a duty? Or am I just paying provincial and HST taxes? Do those differ if I'm landing in BC, or since my final destination is in Alberta with lower taxes do those apply instead?

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  • YMMV, but your odds of being stopped at Customs for bringing in a used digital camera (presumably not in original packaging etc) are pretty much zero, to the untrained eye a $3800 Canon EOS 1DX looks exactly like a $300 Canon EOS 1D. Feb 4 at 23:47

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Is there a duty?

Yes, you can make an estimation of it on the Canadian Government website

Do those differ if I'm landing in BC, or since my final destination is in Alberta with lower taxes do those apply instead?

Running the above form, the tax of where you actually live in Canada are what would be charged

Alberta having a 5% tax, and BC having a 12% tax, all above the 5% duty

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  • Ah gotcha, that's very useful. Does my $800 allowance get removed from the cost of the item? I.e. if it cost 3800 would I put in 3000 to that form and be charged $307.5? Feb 2 at 5:33
  • Also considering that says it's an estimate only, what might make the cost be higher or lower? Feb 2 at 5:34
  • @IronWaffleMan 1. You must declare the price you paid for the item (Enter the total amount you paid for the product). 2. The custom officer has the power to decide what value an object has when they inspect it, they can price it at whatever (I doubt it, but they can). Feb 2 at 5:44
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    Usually you cannot reduce the allowance: it is more like "all or nothing" (but also there may be restriction on what item). Note: but you can ev. have a refund of the Japanese taxes. Feb 2 at 9:59
  • @GiacomoCatenazzi When you say 'have a refund of the Japanese taxes' do you mean I have to pay those to someone, or I can get them refunded? I've been using tax-free stores and showing my passport which means I haven't been paying Japanese taxes as a tourist for large purchases such as this, so presumably I wouldn't get a refund. Feb 2 at 13:09

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