When do you have to pay duty and taxes on personal imported goods?

When do I have to pay GST and Duty on Personal Goods?

 In Blog
This is a widely asked question when it comes to importing personal goods from purchases made online.

It is important to keep in mind, not “all” goods have applicable duty/GST. The CBSA inspects each piece of mail to determine its admissibility and confirm whether it contains items subject to duty and/or taxes. Admissible mail is then released to Canada Post for the delivery and collection of duty and/or taxes.

How will you know?

If you owe duty and/or tax, it will be indicated on Form E14, CBSA Postal Import Form. This form will be attached to your mail item when it is delivered.

Any item mailed to Canada may be subject to the GST (Goods and  Services Tax) and/or duty, but there are exceptions. Unless specifically exempted, you must pay the 5% GST on items you import into Canada by Mail. The CBSA calculates any duties owing based on the VALUE of the goods in Canadian funds. The duty rates vary according to the types of goods you are importing and the country from which they came or were made in. Depending on the goods or their value, some other taxes may apply, such as excise duty or excise tax on luxury items. You do not have to pay GST on the following goods that are imported into Canada by Mail: Canada Post website. For tracking purposes.

What are the exceptions?

  • Goods worth CAN$20 or less; and
  • Gifts from family members or friends who live abroad when the worth is CAN$60 or less


 Need to File a Dispute?

Think the assigned charges are incorrect? You have the option of refusing the parcel and requesting a reassessment of the charges. You can also choose to accept delivery and file for an adjustment afterwards. If you pursue a reassessment, Canada Post will provide you with a form to fill out and return the parcel to CBSA. CBSA will contact you to discuss the assessment.

Filing for an adjustment after accepting the delivery requires that you fill out a CBSA Informal Adjustment Request which is on the reverse side of the E14 that is attached to the package. Send the form and any supporting documentation to the nearest Casual Refund Center.


HST Agreement with Participating Provinces

The Government of Canada has entered into agreements with certain provinces to collect the HST at a rate of 13%. If you reside in a participating province, you will have to pay the HST instead of the GST.
Starting July 1, 2018, certain goods originating from the U.S. are subject to a surtax.  Travellers importing above their personal exemption amount as well as commercial imports will be affected. The list of goods is available on the Department of Finance website.
The PST and tobacco tax rates vary from province to province.

Can we talk about shipping marijuana?

Despite the fact that cannabis (marijuana) is legal and regulated in Canada, it remains illegal to take cannabis across Canada’s national borders, whether you are entering or leaving Canada. For more information, consult, cannabis (marijuana) legalization.



Article by: Calie Peters-Schumacher, CCS,CTCS,LCB
Customs Operations Manager




To help you navigate through the complex compliance landscape (and avoid the penalties that can come from non-compliance), Community Customs Brokers’s team of professionals can provide answers to these and many other pressing questions related to doing business in Canada as an Importer/Exporter.


Contact us today for a free consultation.






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