The 12 [Canadian] Import Goods Duty and Fee Categories

If you travel between the United States and Canada pretty often then you might have started to learn a little about the border customs clearance process. This process is, essentially, an effort to ensure that people are not trafficking illegal goods and are not transporting things illegally.  This is why they always ask you, at the border, your place of origin and your destination, how long you are staying, etc.  At the border, when they ask for your documents—and potentially inspect your car—this is one thing they are looking for.

If you are planning to actually bring some things with you from the United States to Canada, you might have to pay certain  duties, taxes, and fees. Here is a list of the 12 categories of goods, and what you might have to pay if you bring them along with you across the border.

CATEGORY 1:  The following items could be subject to a 20% duty and 5% GST/HST:

  • curtains
  • towels
  • bedding
  • linens
  • carpeting
  • sleeping bags
  • life jackets
  • life belts
  • roller skates
  • ice skates

CATEGORY 2:  The following items could be subject to a 18% duty and 5% GST/HST:

  • apparel
  • footwear

CATEGORY 3:  The following items could be subject to a 7% duty. Basically, these are simple, non-taxable groceries:

  • milk
  • butter
  • yogurt
  • cheese
  • bread
  • produce
  • cakes
  • pies
  • eggs
  • pasta
  • canned foods
  • frozen fruits
  • frozen vegetables
  • fresh meat
  • frozen meat
  • medications

CATEGORY 4:  The following items could be subject to a 8% duty and 5% GST/HST on [seemingly random] consumer goods varieties, including:

  • handbags
  • tires
  • machinery
  • cookware
  • cosmetics
  • toiletries
  • bicycles
  • vacuum cleaners
  • light bulbs
  • ceramics
  • kitchen appliances
  • cameras
  • film
  • audio/video equipment
  • electronics
  • watches

CATEGORY 5:  The following items could be subject to a 5% GST/HST:

  • cassette tapes
  • cassette recorders
  • flashlights
  • calculators
  • antiques
  • breadmakers
  • fax machines
  • computer parts
  • related computer equipment
  • glassware
  • rice cookers
  • toasters
  • curling irons
  • answering machines
  • video game consoles
  • video game peripheral equipment
  • sewing machines
  • motorcycle parts

CATEGORY 6:  These items are inherently exempt from Provincial Sales Tax

CATEGORY 7:  This category instructs that all books are subject to a 5% GST/HST

CATEGORY 8, 9, 10, 11, 12:  These categories contain various consumer goods, essentially incidentals like beer, liquor, wine, and tobacco products (like cigarettes).