Buying from Canada!


I am looking to purchase used speakers from Canada. The seller has a flat shipping cost of $50.00. Will there be an import duty tax if the speakers are made in England and shipped to the USA? Thanks for any information about this!

This is the listing!


Falcon Acoustics Q7 Walnut New pricing | Monitors | Audiogon


non-NA product Import duty tax: yes

added Customs brokerage clearing charges : probably 

I  bought a pair of Quad 57’s and a Linn Sondek TT from England (used) through eBay. I paid NO tariffs or custom fees!

The determining factor for whether you're legally required to pay import duty is where the equipment was made. If it was made in Canada there should be no fee because the U.S., Canada and Mexico are covered by NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Made in England means there should be import duty based on the value. That's all theory, though, and depends on whether customs is paying attention to your particular item as it passes through. Legally, you should pay the fee but you might get lucky.

It will also depend on how the seller ships the speakers.  If he goes the regular postal route, it becomes less likely.  

I ship and receive with Canada quite often. Most of the major shippers act as brokers, therefore, no brokerage fees beyond stated shipping charge. Don't ship via postal services, you or shipper will act as broker, pay separate fees, package may sit in customs for who knows how long. I know this from hard earned experience. I'd not trust a $50 shipping cost being the end of your cost and/or hassles, way too cheap, unless shipper has special deal with shippers. You should not have to pay any custom duties, but I'll not guarantee that. Generally, I've shipped and had products shipped to me stating item for repair, somehow, one time I had to pay a separate customs fee. I suspect customs inspectors may be variable in inspecting packages.

I’ve never had a problem using postal service when having audio items shipped from Canada or the US it took about 7 days the first time and 10 days the second time, but that was just before Christmas.

Not sure where the advice you are getting above came from but my relatively large amount of experience says no. never been charged an import fee of any kind buying from canada.


The United States imposes tariffs (customs duties) on imports of goods. The duty is levied at the time of import and is paid by the importer of record. Customs duties vary by country of origin and product. Goods from many countries are exempt from duty under various trade agreements.

You’ll need to pay customs duty (or import tax) on any goods you move across the US border from other countries, THOUGH goods from some countries are exempt due to different international trade agreements.

The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) enforces customs rules.

NAFTA is dead … we have a new United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement “USMCA”. I have not had the opportunity to research nor confirm if anything has changed from NAFTA w,r,t. audio equipment in general, or issues (if any ) from origination in other countries outside of NA,

And that is without prejudice to any favourable or lucky experiences others may have enjoyed under them”old rules” because of administrative and favourable laxity of rules applied by Customs for shipments using CANPOST to USPOST instead of large private carriers ( eg FEDEX) who have their own customs clearing houses and generally “go by the book” in detail.

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We are in a new international treaty regime. Don’t assume blindly that the favourable and anecdotal personal experiences posted herein under the old treaty automatically apply under the new one. It took years to negotiate.

- Go confirm what’s up with the CBP yourself that it may be exempt.
- Until you do, just assume and plan for the worst and hope for the best .


You seem to be the guy who sits behind your keyboard delighting in giving people bad news.

You have googled the general rules.  However, if you look up the specific rules for audio components you'll find just about all of them exempt.

Keep up the hard work trying to make people unhappy.


akg_ca is correct. You may or may not get lucky with customs charges. This is why I've been advised to state items for repair on customs document, in my case this has been true statement. Recently shipped $1k item to Canada via Fedex, recipient did not have to pay added customs fees. The one case where I had to pay customs it was obvious package had been opened. I'll also reiterate with postal services its a crapshoot, I've had small value packages go through both with and without delays, couple terrible experiences with larger value packages, in one case package lost in customs for over two months.! Never again!


great that you took the effort to research the CBP rules for importation into the USA.

” delighting in giving people bad news” ,,, really? .…, hardly the case, dude.

I already prefaced my comments that I had purposely not researched the rules nor assumed any reliance for anecdotal opinions under the new treaty for purposes of this issue and left it for the “Royal you” to do the spadework to confirm yay or nay.


Simple: I’m not affected by CBP positions in general to import into the USA because (a) I live in Canada and thus totally agnostic to US positions , and (b) I buy and sell 99.9% on CAM and it’s related sub USAM.

And notwithstanding the purist rules, administrative positions applied at the border can - and has - varied depending whether it’s a private customs clearing via FEDEX vs UPS, vs a public government customs clearing with USPOST / CANPOST. The latter govt ones have given me unexpected favourable breaks that the private clearing houses firms have not .

I bought a used amp from Canada in 2019 (?) from a private individual. I got an $84 customs charge. $69 of that was to UPS for brokerage fees. Then afterwards, I got slapped with a Use Tax from the state of TN which was another $260. I now try to stay away from Canadian purchases because of my experience. I don't mind the tariff. But I hate the UPS gouging me on fees.

I based my post on the direct experience of bringing a made-in-England pair of ProAc speakers into Washington State and having to pay a $53 import duty because the speakers were made in England and not covered under the terms of the NAFTA agreement..

I agree that the rules are not applied consistently but it is possible you will be charged an import duty.

I have bought many items from Canada to my location in the US (NY).

Just about all low value items seem to go through without tariff fees.

Higher priced items are more often subject to tariff fees. My last purchase, a Brinkmann DAC, had FedEx calling me and the seller to provide all sorts of info and payments to allow the shipment through. Thankfully, the seller was very understanding and helped with the process.

So, @donvito , I think you should reach out to the seller and see if he/she knows what might occur.


I’ve never had any fees taxes or anything like that from Canada. Usually just longer to ship things, but just like buying here in the USA. 

I bought a pair of Focal 926 speakers (made in France) last year, shipped to US from Ontario.  UPS clearing fees (on top of shipping) were $26 and some change. The seller clearly labeled on the customs form the content/value and that they were used. I had previously bought some 906’s from a fellow in Montreal under the old NAFTA agreement and had paid no clearing charges.  I have no clue how the fees are calculated, just relaying my experience. 

I bought some speakers from Canada last April 2021.  Took a year but I got a bill from the IRS asking me for $250 March 2022.  Just because you didnt get hit up for taxes on delivery dont think you dodged a bullet. Big brother is watching...and collecting.

Years ago I purchased Focal speakers from a distributor (not Focal itself) in Canada.  Years later the California Board of Equalization caught up with me and I had to pay a couple hundred in customs.  Recently I purchased two items from Bryston and two items from Focal (its Canadian office) and there were no charges. Go figure!

I had a recent experience with something like this. It depends on the value of the item. If it is over $3000 , the package will be held up by customs at the shipping company level. The end buyer will have to fill out a form, provide personal information, and declare intention for the product shipped (or, personal use, resale, etc). My wife ordered a timepiece for me from Switzerland, the watch took 3 months to make, then shipped via fedex. All the paperwork was in order with the manufacturer. Us customs held up the package for 3 weeks at fedex with no notice to me whatsoever. After many long discussions, I finally had to fill out the customs form and the package was delivered. There were no additional taxes or fees applied. 
  My advice with any shipping from outside the us is to follow the progress of the package carefully. It’s possible you might get lucky and all will go fine. If the item is over 3k, it probably will get caught. Pay the fees and keep records and receipts in case of a charge later on. 
  Until this instance I never had a problem with shipping from overseas. Just a sign of the times I guess. Hopefully you won’t have the experience I did. Enjoy your new speakers.

OK, thinking outside the box here but Vancouver is such a beautiful place, would it be possible to drive up and get them directly? I drove from Connecticut to Ottawa a few years ago, and it was good fun, and it assured the large a/d/s M12 speakers I was buying wouldn't be damaged in transit. I was super clear to the border guard what I was doing and no customs charge was issued. YMMV. 

With the exchange rate right now, Canadian purchases can deliver excellent value. 

Is not the Ca Board of Equalization collecting sales tax ? They are aggressive on everything thing now , but it’s simply sales tax collected on out of state items. And please no political bantering.